Last time, we covered blogs and how they make money and in my case how I’m not making any money. Another idea on top of the “easy passive income” lists is writing an ebook. Sure. You can make a lot of money off of an ebook. But if you think for one second that you can throw together a rough draft and put it up on amazon and make a hundred grand, you’re wrong. It’s not going to happen like that and here’s why:
1. Writing a book isn’t as easy as people think. I’ve never gone into non-fiction, but at one point in my life, I wanted to be a novelist. I would knock out a “zero draft”. That’s a first draft that I would write up with no outline. Just take some cool ideas and run with it. Then it would sit for months while I worked on other projects. I would revisit and knock out another draft. Then it would sit for months as I worked on other projects. (Starting to see a pattern?)Then I would come back and revise and self-edit to the best of my ability. Then the project would be sent out to beta readers for feedback. Then I would make adjustments and let it sit some more.
Finally, here we are over a year later and I’m putting final polishes on the story and getting it out to agents. All of that work and at the end of the day I was never picked up by an agent for anything that I wrote. I had my fair share of partial manuscript requests and I think maybe a full or two, but almost there ain’t there, is it? I got so tired of it that I stopped writing for a couple of years. I’m hoping that this blog will make me thirsty enough to start writing fiction again. Anywho, the point I’m trying to make here is that while writing is free, the sink on your time is extreme. It is a labor of love and if you don’t love what you’re writing, IT WILL show through in the work.
2. If your ebook is chock full of spelling and grammatical errors, has way too much swearing, or anything else that could potentially be negative, you’re going to be destroyed by reviewers. Absolutely. Destroyed. And how do you avoid this destruction? A professional editing service. Should your book be traditionally published, this is usually an included service. If you’re doing it on your own, guess who’s paying for it…
And guess how much this service typically costs…
For a 300 page novel, on the low end, you’re looking to drop at least $2500. At least.
So you do all of this and self pub your ebook and you’re starting off at least $2500 in the hole. I’m not sure how much amazon charges for you to use their services but I’m fairly certain that it isn’t free. So now you just sit back and watch the money roll in, right?
Not so much.
If you’re writing an ebook and have no following via blog or social media, then how are people going to hear about your book? Traditional publishers, even though they handle most of the marketing and advertising for your work, are still going to encourage you to maintain a blog and social media accounts to get as much draw for the product as possible.
And now I need to squeeze in some legal crap you really don’t want to hear. If you go the traditional publishing route, you’re probably wondering things like “What’s in it for them?” and “How much do I get paid?”.
When you sign on that dotted line, you forfeit your rights to that book. It was your book. It is now their book. You will be paid a very small royalty for every book sold, being an unknown author, and if you’re lucky, a small advance on your next book, usually around $5,000. You still retain things like film rights, etc… And don’t forget that super friendly literary agent will be getting a cut of everything you make as well.
So why do these famous personal finance bloggers make the suggestion?
There’s multiple reasons, as there usually are:
1. Their ebooks sell. They have a following and they have money and they turned that following that wants to be successful into more success for themselves. So good for them.
2. They want you to buy their book so they can say “See? It totally works!”
3. They aren’t wrong. The sales are passive income. Keyword – sales. Not the sweat, time, blood, and tears you put into it. Just the sales.
So here in part 2, we have discussed who is and who isn’t going to be a winner in the ebook game. People like me are likely not going to be successful with this. At least, not until I’m super popular all over the internet. And in a good way.