Apparently many people are still under the impression that author events and book signings are held as an income increasing venture. I heard this numerous times at my book signings. This is so not likely.
Let me clarify with a little new-author reality check. Generally, you will make more with magazine and anthology (Chicken Soup, etc) stories. But a book takes investment.
The author has two, sometimes three, ways to purchase their books for a book signing (or a giveaway), and four ways to ‘sell’ them.
So why does an author go through all of this? Because we believe in our message and we are willing to invest ourselves (and our finances) to get that message to the public. Most of us also have a charity or cause that we hope to benefit through the full retail sales to the public. But how can they know about the book unless a friend, or an ad, or a display or a chat with the author lets them know? That is why we do book signings and author events.
All of the above relates to the author with a small traditional publishing company who produces the books fully edited and including cover design and setup, at no cost to the author, and pays royalties. There are, of course, larger publishing companies that pay an advance toward expected sales, but they mainly market only to established writers with a public outreach (platform) that guarantees a number of sales. Many more “vanity” and “indie” (independent) companies exist which expect the author to either purchase thousands of their own book at full price or contribute to the cost of producing their books – from $5,000 – $20,000 and more, some not including editing services. Some so-called vanity presses charge outrageous ($20-$50) prices for individual books that sell comparatively for about 1/3 of that price. The latter authors seldom produce any income and frequently are left with boxes of books in their garage or basement.
Sure I wouldn’t mind someday receiving enough royalties to quit the two part-time jobs that currently feed my writing expenses. But more importantly, just as God made some of us to dance, to sing, create, or with the drive to excel at so many other skills, I feel God instilled something in me that calls me to write words that say, “Look what God has done!” I understand Eric Liddell (Chariots of Fire) saying that he felt God’s pleasure when he did what God created him to do.
I do not want to sugar-coat that results take investment, nor would I downplay the high I feel when someone ‘gets’ the message I wrote and turns to God because of it.
A young mom brought her children to one of my signings and pointed at me, exclaiming, “Look! That is an author!”
I had a chat a few days ago with a woman who read Be the Miracle and explained in detail how it changed her perspective, encouraging her to get the book and its message to others.
That is what makes it all worthwhile.