1. Not the Territory

    Not the Territory Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2019
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    105

    Total Profit

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Not the Territory, Mar 25, 2020.

    A lot of people might not like thinking about it this way, but I often consider things in finite terms in order to help with decision making. For example, I'd better not buy x because it's about 1% of projected earnings prior to my death, which would be better spent on a more responsible priority. It's a little morbid, but perspective is invaluable.

    Here are 4 questions I pose to you fellow authors that can only really be answered with vague ball-parks:

    1: How much money do you expect to earn on average from each novel, novella, short/flash, and poem?

    2: How much money do you expect to spend on publishing and writing of each piece? In other words, besides time, what will be the averaged cost of each? I understand that there's an inherent cost in not doing something, such as using the time/energy to build a more profitable career, but let's leave that out.

    3: How many novels, novellas, shorts/flash, and poems will you likely write before you retire (voluntarily or otherwise)?

    4: What will be your profit over your life time? Before taxes.

    The act of the craft is its own reward. Many will write no matter how much they make, and/or don't even consider profit. That said, I'm super curious to see if anyone else has considered this in such definitive terms. Lastly, feel free to be a dreamer (I certainly am): if you're aiming for millions in earnings and a prestigious publisher is footing the bill, god damn it aim for that. If you only feel like giving a coy answer, then heck bring it on.



    I'll go first:

    1: I will probably only make money on novels. I expect to make $6,000 average for the duration that each one is published.

    2: Roughly $500 per novel. Some software cost spread over each one, book cover, ID, minor advertisement, etc... About $100 per novella and $10 per short. Probably won't even publish the poems.

    3: 20 novels, 5 novellas, 60 shorts, 80 poems.

    4: In loonies, $120,000 - $11,100 = $108,900 in today's currency.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  2. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    176
    Location:
    Vancouver
    My day job is project management in a large corporation, so this is my default approach to any new undertaking. In this case, I'm preparing a career change to writing in July 2023, and I'm of two minds about how to estimate my 'costs' to see if I'm running a business or a hobby.

    Specifically:
    * in the 'pay yourself first' model of business, what should I assign myself as an hourly wage?

    * should I include overhead costs, such as the hours spent learning skills? how many years should I amortize those costs over? Annualized? Career span? for example, business cards, one time software licenses, maybe capital equipment like the dedicated writing computer. i'm going to apply for a local workshop that costs something in the $5k range, it's a career-launcher quality program, would I expense it as a year one thing, or span it over the career?

    * if I'm expensing a portion of my square footage for home office (portion of property taxes, heat, electricity, internet, insurance), doesn't that mean it's also a 'cost' I have to subtract from my profits?

    * what's pooled cost vs associated with a specific project ie per novel? does that even work?


    I have a few years to think about it, but I'm leaning toward just logging my hours and assigning them minimum wage value, and not amortizing skill development. Simple accounting: How much money did I make this year? minus: my hours to get there x minimum wage; minus: other expenses like software licenses, website, email list management, literary editor invoices, social media platform advertising, conferences, workshops, courses...

    I think I can only budget the first year at this point, rather than a career, as there are just too many variables. I'm more intending to use the first year to feel out real numbers to build a concrete 1/2/5 budget forecast starting year 2.

    And it'll be good to see if there's a net profit or net cost. The former might be a business; the latter would be a hobby. I don't mind spending money on hobbies, just not a lot. Like not more than $1,000/yr for any single hobby I do right now.

    In any case, I'm curious to see other posts in this thread, as I haven't finalized my accounting model yet and am very open to learn about what works for writers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
    Not the Territory likes this.
  3. Not the Territory

    Not the Territory Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2019
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    105
    I would think any money spent on skill dev and software be spread over the course of the career, perhaps as a decreasing percentage of each published work or simply a span of time. I'm not talking in terms of actual accounting, just personal tracking.

    If you're regularly attending conferences, that sounds like an annual cost along with website hosting.

    Particular adverts should be added to the cost of producing that specific advertised product IMO, even if it increases over all brand sales.

    As for hourly wage, I left that out because the time investment is huge, and learning/practising the craft is as entertaining as a past-time. The hours to earnings will probably never compare, but I understand wanting to know.
     
  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin I have misplaced my pants.... Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    5,484
    Likes Received:
    10,245
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    You're gonna publish 20 novels? Nice!
     
  5. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    176
    Location:
    Vancouver
    I'm still mixed about this. I took some community access courses on writing that were more just about me feeling out the industry than learning any concrete skills, and they're kind of something I would write off as annual skill maintenance and never revisit. Just as a comparison, my wife and I do have other businesses, and we treat courses as a one time expense rather than capital investment. Same with software, even perpetual licenses apparently CRA says are 100% expensed in the year incurred.

    If I did a MFA or something, I might consider that as something I'd want to amortize across a career maybe. Some people actually do that with their MBAs.


    Yeah, now that I think about it, I agree.


    This is where I'm leaning the other way and just pooling it. I think it depends on the strategy. Here's my thinking: the plan is to have series, which tend to benefit from advertisement on the first book to generate a loss on the first book, but a net profit on the readthrough. I think assigning it to the first book would not be reflecting what the expense is trying to do.



    For me, it needs to be a paying gig, or I'll need to go out and find another job, so return on my time is something I want to calculate - it's the point of the exercise, unfortunately.

    I have other outlets for creativity (I do improv acting) and I don't care if they pay me a living wage, but writing looks like something I could enjoy *and* keep the lights on, so I'm going to make a go at it before I lose my faculties entirely. I'm 51, so the end game is not hypothetical like it was when I was a teenager.
     
    Not the Territory likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice