How Much Are You Making?

Trapped inside a car going 60 miles an hour, the driver commented, “I hate it when an author prices one book “free” and then raises the price to $7.99 for the others.”

“That’s a marketing technique,” I said. “It’s one way of introducing their work to the world.” I could have talked several hours about this, but why bother? It’s futile. People who aren’t in the book business don’t understand it.

Then she asked me, “How much are you making with your books?” As if my answer would justify, or not, how much I charged for my books.

I counted to 10, and then asked, “How much are you making with your art?”

End of conversation.

Why is it that people think they have the right to ask how much money authors make, but bristle when we return the question?

Because she was a friend, someone I cared about, I explained to her that asking anyone how much they make, no matter what they do, is off-limits. The only one who can ask those kinds of questions is married to the author.

Maybe I should feel lucky. This is only the third time someone asked me “How much are you making from your books?”

The first time happened when I was standing in the check-out line in a health food store.

I shook my head, confused as if perhaps I had heard her wrong…

That woman was also writing – the same book for several years now. And she had just paid $3,500 for a developmental edit that she would spend another few years resolving, according to my best estimate about her writing and the time she spends doing it. She is retired. She is not an author, much less an indie.

I fumed about these encounters with rude people and decided it was time to offer some education.

I created a list of expenses every author had and called it “Facts about the Indie Author Business.” I spent time developing it, making sure I didn’t leave anything out. Using my own experience as an indie since 2012, I put the average amount spent per year for each category, including hardware, which I amortized over five years. And then I used my calculator to get the total.

It stunned me!

My anger with those rude people who ask, “How much are you making?” was transformed. Now it was shock at the amount of money I was spending on what the IRS considers my hobby.


To those friends who asked, “How much are you making?” I want to say, “Thanks.” They pushed me to step back, to see what I was doing. They motivated me to see how much this “hobby” is costing me.

I have to consider whether a retired teacher can afford to be an indie author. And I will. I intend to give this matter my complete attention – as soon as I complete the series. (But I do not regret one moment of it because I’ve had fun, I’ve learned plenty, and the series was a “legacy gift” for my nieces.)

Even so, this, Book 3 in the Burnout to Bliss series, could be my last book:

Unless my computer crashes again (as it did today), Book 3 will be available for Pre-order on Books to Read and Amazon soon.

about the series:

The Burnout to Bliss series began with BURNOUT — How a Desert Lizard Restored My Faith, the tale about the madness of extreme burnout coupled with a “dark night of the soul.”

BURNOUT is now FREE! On Amazon.  And Books2Read.

Book 2, CYCLING in the CITY — How I got My Confidence Back, is about discovering and owning the damage to self-esteem and confidence and doing something to heal it. It was a baby-step in letting go and surrendering will because it happened in a sanctuary, where nothing was expected from me.

Book 3, 2 years, 1 paycheck, 0 plans — a story of healing, is the journey where I learned to let the divine mystery guide me.

Available for Pre-order soon.


Till next time, please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi

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