My 2016 Writing Income

It’s that wonderful time of the year—tax season. 😱 My tax returns have gotten significantly more complicated since I started self-publishing, even more complicated when I got married, and still more complicated when my husband started his own business too. I don’t really look forward to this task (especially since I wasn’t very organized last year and I paid for it dearly this morning), but I do enjoy the tax return deposit when it hits my bank account. I also really like seeing the numbers and evaluating what I can do better in the new year.

Unfortunately, I made significantly less money in 2016 than I did in 2015. I was with a publisher for a while and, while the experience taught me a lot, it wasn’t very lucrative, financially speaking. In total, I made $652.35. That includes freelance copywriting and signed paperbacks that I sold.

However, it’s really interesting to see how my ebook income broke down between each retailer. (Note: This chart doesn’t include paperbacks and copywriting income.)

Kobo accounted for 37%, thanks to their monthly promotions. They’re not really as effective anymore, but for a while Kobo almost singlehandedly paid my bills. My publisher—which sold my books through Amazon, Apple, and Nook—only accounted for 7% of my income. Most of that was through Amazon sales.

My bestselling title was The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos, and my best month was July.

In 2016, I released three new titles:

  • South of Forever, Book 2: Savannah’s Song
  • South of Forever, Book 3: What Happens on Tour
  • Just One More Minute

Earlier in the year, I re-released two titles through my publisher:

  • The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos
  • South of Forever, Book 1: Diving Into Him

2016 wasn’t the most productive year, though I did manage to write two novels (Just One More Minute and the forthcoming first in a new series, A Disturbing Prospect). Just One More Minute took me over eight months to write, between my responsibilities to my publisher and marketing my indie books. I wrote A Disturbing Prospect in two weeks, which makes sense considering at that point, the publisher had folded and I had a lot more time on my hands.

On average, I usually take about four weeks to write a novel (not including pre-writing like research, outlining, and character development).

2017 is already off to a much better start, though I’m currently focusing more on writing than on releasing. Right now I’m writing the final book in the South of Forever series.

My long-term, 10-year goal is to eventually make a full-time annual income with just my writing (at least $50K). I started self-publishing in 2011, so I hope to be there in 2021!

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