”Don’t Write a Book to Make Money” — Unveiling the Reality of Author Earnings’’

Eric G Reid
3 min readJan 8, 2024

The age-old advice echoes in the minds of aspiring writers and seasoned authors alike: “Don’t write a book to make money.” It’s a sentiment that’s been passed down through generations of creative minds, and it holds a certain truth that’s hard to ignore.

The essence of this advice is simple — the expectation of striking it rich with a single book is often an unrealistic dream. In reality, the vast majority of authors, especially indie authors, may not find themselves on a direct path to financial abundance through their writing endeavors.

This notion isn’t exclusive to the world of literature. Throughout history, many artists, musicians, and creators in various fields have faced a similar narrative — a challenging journey fraught with financial uncertainty. It’s a narrative that can be disheartening, yet it has a way of fueling the determination of those who are determined to prove it wrong.

The Starving Artist Stereotype

Consider the classic archetype of the “starving artist,” an image that has been perpetuated for generations. It’s a stereotype that implies choosing a creative path — be it writing, painting, music, or any other form of artistic expression — is synonymous with a life of financial struggle. This notion can be traced back to the idea that pursuing one’s passion and making a comfortable living are often at odds.

A personal anecdote illustrates this point. Imagine a young student, full of ambition, telling a retired school principal, “I want to be a guitarist when I grow up.” The response? “You’ll be a starving artist.” It’s a sentiment that many aspiring artists encounter, a mixture of caution and skepticism.

Proving the Skeptics Wrong

For some, this skepticism becomes a powerful motivator. The desire to prove those who doubt the viability of a creative career wrong can be a driving force. In the world of indie authors, this determination is palpable.

Indie authors are no strangers to the challenges of the literary landscape. Writing, publishing, and promoting a book can be a laborious process, often accompanied by uncertainty regarding its financial prospects. However, it’s precisely this uncertainty that pushes many indie authors to think beyond the conventional wisdom.

The Reality of Book Earnings

Let’s face the reality: for most authors, books alone may not be the primary source of income. Even established fiction authors typically need to pen multiple books before achieving a thriving author career. It’s an ongoing journey that demands dedication, patience, and, most importantly, a realistic perspective on earnings.

This is why you’ll often see fiction authors diversifying their income streams by incorporating merchandise into their catalog or exploring other creative avenues. A prime example of this is George Lucas, who transformed Star Wars into a global phenomenon not only through films but also by leveraging merchandising rights.

Non-Fiction Authors and Multiple Revenue Streams

Non-fiction authors, in particular, have found success by expanding their income sources beyond book sales. Products, courses, and workshops have emerged as lucrative channels for authors to share their expertise and generate revenue. In many cases, non-fiction authors discover that these avenues can surpass the earnings from book sales.

The Fear of the Author Backend

Despite the potential for additional income streams, many authors find themselves hesitant to embark on this journey. The prospect of setting up an entire author backend, including the necessary technology and systems, can be intimidating. This fear of the unknown, especially in the realm of tech, can paralyze even the most business-savvy authors.

Fortunately, there’s a guiding light for authors navigating this intricate landscape. Skinny Brown Dog Media steps in to demystify the complexities of establishing an author backend. His expertise in this area has empowered numerous authors to confidently venture beyond traditional royalties and embrace alternative revenue sources.

Contact Eric G. Reid for Support

As you embark on this transformative journey, remember that support is readily available. Reach out to Eric G. Reid, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Skinny Brown Dog Media, for guidance and assistance in your indie author’s expedition.

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Embrace the unknown, and may your indie author’s journey be filled with boundless creativity and remarkable achievements. Happy writing!



Eric G Reid

I'm Eric G. Reid, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Skinny Brown Dog Media. My mission: transform aspiring writers into authors, and help them create an impact