Personally, I am convinced that one can pursue a career as a writer and live by his pen only by publishing books. However, this does not mean that it is the only economic model for an author, far from it!
So do not be scared if you are not comfortable with the idea of writing more and faster, you can quite choose another strategy and carry it out to gain your financial independence. What matters is knowing where you want to go in order to do the right things to get there.
I propose you an overview with 5 possible economic models. It’s up to you to choose one or to mix several, it also works very well!
The popular model: consultant & speaker
Many non-fiction writers use their book as a luxury business card; the objective is no longer to sell a lot of copies to garner copyright but to use a book as a springboard to consulting missions and / or speaker services.
In this situation, it is even common to offer his book to qualified prospects to make them discover the author and his skills. It’s actually more expensive than a cardboard rectangle but also often more effective!
Examples of this economic model are numerous in the USA: Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Ryan Holiday, Robert Kiyosaki, etc. Not to mention my favorite in the genre what the fuck, Jordan Belfort! Whoever wrote The Wolf of Wall Street (while he was in prison for financial crime) would have earned more than $ 100 million in 2014 with his lectures. Widely enough to pay his fines …
The rising model: infopreneur & trainer
It is now so easy to start a business on the Internet that many new authors are actually infopreneurs (unless it’s the other way around). The book then serves as an appeal product at an affordable price to then sell information products and / or training at higher prices.
As for the previous model, the idea is not really to make money from the book (although it is not forbidden) but rather to offer it and make it known to the world in order to win notoriety in the professional sector concerned.
One of the pioneers in this area was Chris Guillebeau, who published The Art of Non-Conformity at a low price (less than 10 €) and then sells much more expensive courses (more than 100 €) and organize World Domination every year. Summit in Oregon. One can also mention the excellent Chandler Bolt, who offers copies of his book to promote his Self-Publishing School.
The classic model: freelance author & copywriter
If consulting and training do not tempt you but you only want to live from your pen, you can develop other activities around writing by renting your authoring talents to sites or magazines. In some cases, it is even possible to become a literary negro or author of speech (for an elected official).
In this situation, being a published author aims at a double objective: on the one hand, copyright is always welcome to round off the end of the month, on the other hand a book allows to establish a credibility as writer. And in the case of the press, published articles also reinforce the professional image of the author. It’s win-win.
As an example, I can cite … myself, since I officiate occasionally as a ghostwriter or as a speechwriter, but it would be more accurate to quote Sandrine Campese, who made herself known by publishing Orthotweet and who writes now in several magazines (Rebondir, Air le mag, Current Woman Games …) while publishing other books.
The hidden model: serial fiction
It’s a model I do not know much about, but it’s very real. It’s about producing short novels quickly and publishing them as a series, with a very low selling price. This seems to work particularly well in the e-book format and in specific categories of literature: romance, eroticism and chick-lit.
Even though it has been modernized by e-books, this model is not new: it was done in the early 1900s by producing massive amounts of fiction printed on cheap paper and sold Low cost.
I do not know of a concrete example for this model (it is not really my domain) but it is obvious that the independent edition is more effective if one decides to opt for this strategy. We must write more and faster than the vast majority of authors and the margins are not huge, but on the volume, it seems to generate interesting benefits.
The future model: independent author
Finally, there is of course the model that I tested myself for a little over a year, namely the model of the independent author. This is not about getting angry with traditional publishing but about choosing a useful editorial strategy based on your life goals and sales goals.
This is not necessarily the simplest model, nor the fastest, nor most profitable. At the same time, you have to like to write and do everything else since independent publishing is often the preferred option (for obvious logistical and financial reasons). But it’s both interesting and rewarding.
There is probably much more to do and much to invent, especially on the French market which remains very hermetic self-publishing (and independent artists in general). But if we are more and more followers of this model, it is probably because it is fulfilling, one way or another …