A question that pops up again and again on writing forums is, how much money can I make writing romance in eBook format?
One excellent answer can be found in the “Submission Tips” section of the Author Information Packet at Ellora’s Cave and Cerridwen Press. Though the tips, naturally, are meant for authors submitting material to the publisher’s own lines, what they say about earnings is fairly universal:
That varies greatly from author to author. Royalty payments depend largely upon how many titles you have placed with us, how popular those titles become with readers, and how well you market your stories. It is important to remember that it takes an extreme amount of popularity with readers and quite a few available titles to make enough money at writing to live off of the income, but we most certainly do have authors who make a VERY cushy living here.
Shiloh Walker, who has written more than 50 romance eBooks, has an excellent guest blog on this topic as well, posted at Electronic and Small Press Author’s Network, a chapter of the Romance Writers of America®. Walker was able to quit her job and write romance eBooks full-time less than two years after her first sale. She’s a fast writer, though, churning out a new eBook every 4-6 weeks. Establishing a large backlist of titles is crucial, she explains, to making a full-time living at it.
In June, romance writer Marianne LaCroix conducted an informal survey of over 300 eBook romance writers. The results, barring some statistical anomalies, are fairly interesting. At indie publishers such as Samhain and Ellora’s, the highest percentages of writers, 34% and 47% respectively, report making between $1K and $5K per title over the course of a year.
If you think about it, writing is like opening a small business. The majority of small businesses operate in the red during their first year, or even into their second year. Establishing a clientele, in this case a base of fans who will pay for your fiction, takes time and persistence.
For a lucky few, sure, it happens over night, but for the vast majority, it’s as much a work-in-progress as everything else about writing. What gives me hope are clues found in blog posts, submission guidelines and polls, such as those listed above.
I’m going to make it, and you can, too!