How to Make Money Self-Publishing (6 Proven Ways)

POSTED ON Mar 1, 2023

P.J McNulty

Written by P.J McNulty

Home > Blog > Publishing > How to Make Money Self-Publishing (6 Proven Ways)

Some authors are happy to write and release books without giving much thought to financial return. These authors are happy just to engage in the creative pursuit of writing books for their own sake. Any money made is a happy side-effect.

But what if you’re serious about generating revenue by self-publishing?

It’s arguable the best ever time to look to make money through writing. Traditional barriers have been broken down and writers are able to make a living through niche genres and topics that would never have seen the light of day in the past.

It’s also easier than ever to write and release a top-quality book and share it with the world, hopefully building a following in the process.

Does that sound like something you’re interested in? Are you looking to make bucks from your books?

If so, read on to discover six quick but powerful tips for making money through self-publishing.

Consider going wide

Even after you write just a single book and get it ready to release to the world you’ll have an important decision to make – do you go wide or focus on a single market?

Going wide means releasing your book in a variety of online bookstores. 

The benefit of going wide is being able to reach a wider range of customers. The drawback is losing out on special programs that are offered to authors in exchange for staying exclusive to a single platform – usually Amazon.

There’s no single right or wrong answer when it comes to the question of going wide. It’s true that most indie authors will sell the lion’s share of their work through Amazon and the rewards for sticking with them alone are often worth it. 

However, that’s not the right route for everyone.

Take a bit of time to weigh up the pros and cons of going wide or staying with a single retailer. See what your fellow authors have to say. 

Ultimately, make the decision that is right for your financial goals as a self-published author. 

Create audiobooks

Audiobooks are hugely popular and the market for them continues to grow.

People love the convenience of being able to immerse themselves in a book while commuting or working out in the gym.

In spit of their popularity, many authors don’t even consider releasing an audiobook edition of their work. That’s a shame as it’s effectively leaving money on the table. 

It’s never been easier to record and release a high-quality audiobook using only your smartphone and laptop. The barriers to entry are lower than ever and the potential rewards are greater.

Weigh up the financial and time cost of creating an audiobook VS the number of copies you’d have to sell to turn a profit. You might find the decision is a lot simpler than expected. 

Explore foreign markets

Amazon alone offers access to plenty of foreign markets. 

These foreign book markets are often examples of blue ocean theory. While the majority of authors will be competing for market share in the British and American markets, it’s often easier to succeed with less effort abroad. 

Translating your book is often a lot easier and affordable than you might expect. It’s also not always necessary. For example, plenty of Indian, Arab, and African readers have a fluent command in English. Simply finding effective ways to get your book in front of potential buyers in those regions is often all that’s needed.

There’s no denying that focusing on your home market is an important first step for any book. Build up its credibility there first. But for a little extra effort you might find a vast level of reward if you explore what overseas book markets have to offer. 

Diversify your revenue 

Many self-published authors fall into the trap of thinking they can only generate revenue from their book sales.

While it’s definitely the most obvious route, it doesn’t have to be the whole picture. 

This is the case for fiction and nonfiction authors alike.

If you’re a nonfiction author, your book most likely speaks to a target readership and addresses a need or problem they have. There are many more ways you can serve that same audience – such as by offering coaching or training courses. You can even promote these offerings directly in your book, getting them in front of the right people when they are most likely to be interested.

Fiction authors also have other ways to generate revenue outside of book sales. These can include merchandise, luxury and limited edition physical copies of your books, membership communities etc.

If you need some inspiration, check out the websites and mailing lists of some authors you admire. Check out what else they have to offer outside of their books. You might find some inspiration to make extra revenue for yourself. 

Increase your output 

It sounds obvious, but increasing the number of books you are able to put out is the fastest way to increase your revenue, especially if you have a dedicated readership or are releasing a series.

There are several approaches to putting out more books in a shorter space of time. The first is to dedicate more time to your writing. If your books are selling then it’s a lot easier to justify taking an extra hour out of each day to write. Doubling your writing time from an hour a day to two would theoretically allow you to release twice as many books and make twice as much income.

You can also look at aspects of self-publishing outside of writing that place a demand on your time and outsource or automate them wherever possible. You then reallocate the time saved to your writing schedule. 

For example, if you’re taking time every day to check social media, consider batch scheduling all your content at the start of the month. If you check email, consider spending $7 a day on a VA to do it for you.

If you look hard enough, there are probably areas you can delegate in order to write more. 

After all, time spent writing is time generating future revenue!

Create a fanbase

It’s a lot easier to sell books to people who are already familiar with your work. 

Creating an author platform and having people opt in to your mailing list is a great first step. You can then promote your future books and have people anticipating their release. 

Book series are another effective option. Whether that’s releasing a fiction saga consisting of multiple books, or writing a themed nonfiction series, your options are endless. It’s a great way to ensure a steady chain of sales from people checking out your initial book and then working through the rest.

How will you decide to make money self-publishing?

You’ve now got some good food for thought as far as avenues to increase your income from self-publishing.

It’s important to dream big but to be patient. Often, the first year or two is all about building momentum rather than seeing significant cash returns. However, once you have a reputation, a process, and a readership, the sky is the limit. Plenty of authors comfortably make six figures a year from self-publishing and figures far beyond that as well.

If you’re willing to put the work in, there’s no reason you shouldn’t set yourself a six-figure income goal in the medium term.

But what’s your plan? How will you make it happen?

We hope the ideas in this article set you on the path to self-publishing financial success – whatever that looks like for you.  

Liked this post? Share it with friends!
Related posts


How to Unpublish a Book on Amazon: 5 Reasons to Consider First

Business, Publishing

How To Get A Literary Agent in 13 Simple Steps


Traditional Publishing in 2024: Is It Worth It?