Dollar Sign Dilemma

Dollar Sign imageMost of us would rather admit to how much we weigh or the details of our sex lives than come honestly clean about how much money we do or do not make. In this case how much we do or do not make as Indie Authors.

I’ll admit this much. Our accountant wants to reduce my writing efforts to hobby status. On top of that my 2015 tax statement from Amazon wouldn’t cover my stamp budget and I hardly ever use anything but email.

PLUS yesterday a sister Indie was complaining she only makes a few hundred dollars a month on one of her titles – one of several making money. In other words she could pay what’s now my rent and used to be my mortgage with her earnings. I can’t use those same words about myself.

So – how does the Besotted-with-Indie side of me explain this to the Hardnosed-Business-Gal side of me?

First of course there’s the reality check consideration. I only have three Indie titles published. My previous traditionally published titles don’t count even though they’re out there in bright red Harlequin Intrigue splendor. Only my Indies count toward productivity calculation.

When I was originally thinking about the Indie route possibility the popular wisdom was you must have three to five titles out before you start getting noticed. What I hear now is five to ten titles. So I obviously have a distance to go before I count myself out as a selling author.

Second reality check. I’m not a fast writer. It took me a year to publish those three titles in my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series. When it comes to waiting for a real payday to happen I’d better not hold my breath even though blue is my color.

That’s really all I’ve got for Hardnosed Business Gal. She has to kick Besotted with Indie in the butt to write faster. My money in that gamble – what I can scrape together – is on Not-Going-to-Happen across the board. I manage what I can manage when I can manage it. That’s all.

I guess it’s time to stop bristling when the accountant mentions hobby status. I’m retired after all. Several times retired actually from several ventures where I was searching for tax write-offs rather than taxable income.

Maybe I should be thankful for that. Maybe I ought to stop dancing the I-Think-I-Should-Quit-Writing Mambo every time I hear somebody talking dollar signs. Maybe it’s time to shut up and pray that when I finally have ten titles out the discoverability number won’t have risen to fifteen.

Alice Orr –


A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of my books are available at my Amazon Author Page

7 thoughts on “Dollar Sign Dilemma

  1. Alice, The Hardnosed Business Gal in me has been studying this industry and its trends compulsively for the last four years. A lot has changed, and continues to change. There is no doubt late entrants will have a tough go of it, and must think of it as a marathon and not a sprint. I compare this industry to Hollywood. There’s one Brad Pitt, and a million extras all hoping to break out. Even Brad Pitt will lose ground as far as box office receipts as he ages. Many of the Kindle millionaires of 2011-2012 are no longer seeing the killer months they have in the past, though still making a respectable living and riding the tide that’s carried them into visibility. There will always be breakout successes. But for each of those, thousands will barely make enough to buy a proper dinner out on a Friday night. Networking, conferences all help, but when push comes to shove – the balance sheets on many authors today wouldn’t support my annual handbag purchases. After launching four books, I’m still in the red, and about to add to the red ink with the launch of my fifth book. At this point, it’s a labor of love as I build a following, and do what I enjoy as a side career. Though I’m wondering, will this be the year my accountant gives me the same message and relegates me to “hobby” status? Write on, my lovely friend, the world is a better place with your words in it…

    1. L.G. O’Connor. You always amaze me. Your vision is 20-20 for sure. All of what you say here is so very true. Especially the part about this being a Labor of Love. I absolutely agree. Like many of us who come from the business world – I have a nasty habit of judging my worth by how much gelt my work gives me. I need to get over that or past it or whatever. Thank you for your encouragement as always you also lovely friend. And speaking of those conferences you mentioned – I followed your good example and registered for the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference. I hope we can squeeze in another dinner there. The last one was super enjoyable – and of course a great respite from the marathon run. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Alice

  2. You’ll make yourself crazy if you compare yourself to other writers. My critique partner eclipsed me in royalties, but I’m happy for her. I’d be happy for me if I made what she does. Marketing is the key and networking at conferences. Don’t compete with anyone but yourself.

    1. Hi Caroline Clemmons. You should say I’ll make myself crazier. I reached crazy long ago. You’re so right about the danger and foolishness of making comparisons. You’re also right about marketing being the key. I’m not as confident as I’d like to be in that area or as skilled or in possession of as much time as I need to do it. The one constant is my enjoyment of being a storyteller. That’s the love of the thing that keeps me at it no matter what – so far anyway. Thanks for your encouragement and your wise comment. Blessings. Alie

  3. You are an imaginative and expressive writer. You also have great stories that can connect from one book to another as in the RR series but can also stand alone. Do not despair because of the money issue. What you need is more exposure.

    1. Hi Teresa Minambres. I am so very grateful for your encouragement. You have been a voice in my corner ever since I met you – urging me on and reminding me to put one foot in front of the other whatever may happen. What a gift you are to me. I dearly thank you. Blessings. Alice

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