December 2017 Author Update

Here is an update on my life as an author

As I said in my main article, I finally managed to pay off my debt. When I started out, as I’ve said above, I set up The Cobweb Press as a separate business, with its own bank account, and Husband kept precise financial records. To publish my first book, I used my savings from teaching, plus a loan from Anne-the-accountants-wife (who I will refer to as Anne T). Husband made a spreadsheet, which showed my business as heavily in debt.

Gradually, as books began to sell, the graph crept upwards. It had nearly reached non-debt status, when I published Joanna, and the line plummeted again. It creeps up very slowly, because all the running costs of the business – such as postage, and an envelope, every time an Amazon order is sent, all keep the income relatively low. Every time I pay for a table at a local market or Christmas Fair, it pushes that line back down. If I sell books through shops, the income I receive is very little, so the upward trend is agonisingly slow.

I have also this year published 3 books as Kindle paperbacks. These are less nice quality, and two I didn’t pay to have edited (so would be called ‘vanity press’ by people who like to use that term – even though they were read copious times by beta readers and rewritten and proofread many times). These books help to increase my profits, whilst not actually costing me anything, so they are very helpful in terms of running a business. I do not receive any copies myself, so I can’t earn money by selling them at Fairs or book-signings, but they do add a little to my bank account. And every little helps.

I am now about 18 months on from when I first published my first book. I am in profit, all debt paid, by about £3.50. So, as a hobby, it has been brilliant value for money. If it was my only income, I would be homeless and starving. I have now finished Clara, and am starting to receive invoices for editing and type-setting. So yet again, my balance sheet will plummet. Clara has now been edited and proofread, and is with the typesetter. I need to decide when to launch the book, and am considering June 2018. Joanna was launched in March, and I hit ski season, so some people weren’t able to attend the launch party. But it did mean I picked up a few sales when it was recommended to friends going away in July and August.

I could of course, wait another year, let my income boost my bank account, and then publish my next book. But I think I am gaining momentum with my sales, and I don’t want to lose regular customers by having a long break. Also, the more books I have, the more I sell. Last Christmas I had tables at Fairs with one book sitting on it. If people didn’t particularly like that book, I didn’t sell anything. This year, they had a choice, and most people who I spoke to bought at least one book. I would therefore recommend that if you intend to ‘be an author’ (as opposed to just wanting to publish one book, and then move on to something else) that you keep writing, and publishing, and wait for the finances to catch up. Of course, I am able to do this because Anne T is very generous to The Cobweb Press. If I was taking out bank loans, I would be less brave.

I will update this again when I have more news.