My latest book manuscript is just about ready, and I’ve been pondering the publishing options. There are three alternatives: use a commercial publisher, sell the manuscript to a training organization, or publish it through my own company. Using a commercial publisher, revenues would be at best about five thousand euros. If I sell the manuscript outright to the training organization, I get a little bit less, but the income is not contingent upon the sale. Yet if I publish it myself, I’d incur the printing cost of six thousand euros, and I would have to lay out the book as well as handle the sales myself. On the other hand, I would get all the income. On Friday, I met an author friend who provided some interesting figures about the book he published last year. He produced 2000 copies. Printing and layout costs were 7000 euros; the year-end sales were 44 000 euros. One reason for this excellent result is that he found organizations which bought hundreds of copies, much more efficient for him than single-copy sales. No matter which route you take, it’s difficult to earn a reasonable salary by writing. A fiction writer’s median income in Finland is 2000 euros per year, and non-fiction authors presumably don’t do much better.
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