It is possible to make lots of money selling your eBook. Take Amanda Hocking, for example. She sells about 100,000 copies of her books per month, keeping somewhere around 70% of the sales price. Most of her books sell for about $2.99, so she keeps about $2.09 per book. If this keeps up, she could make about $2.5 million this year.
But let’s be honest. Few of us will ever be Amanda Hocking. In fact, most authors sell fewer than 200 copies of their book. That’s not 200 per month, that’s 200 total. A good number of sales by publishing standards is 5000 copies. If a book sells 10,000 copies, the publishers are thrilled. It is the rare book that sells more than 10,000 copies.
So if you go into eBook publishing, keep your day job.
Why then, should you consider eBook publishing? The main reason is because you have something to say, and you want to make it available to others, even if only a few dozen people or so might read it. I know, that’s kind of depressing, but it is the facts.
But look at it this way. If you decide to stick to traditional publishing only, it is possible you will never get published, and even if you do, you might sell a few more books, but you will only get 10% of the sales price (if you’re lucky). The average price for a DTB (Dead Tree Books) is about $9.99, so you will only get about $1 per book sold. Let’s say you sell 1000 copies, you get $1000.
But if you go the eBook route, and make the book available for $2.99 on Amazon, you get $2 per book, so you only have to sell 500 copies to make the same $1000. Furthermore, since your book is only $2.99, instead of $9.99, it is much more likely that people will buy it. Amazon reports that they sell 140 eBooks for every 100 paper books.
Finally, remember also that if your eBook takes off and sells thousands of copies, this will make your next book much more desirable for the traditional publishing houses.
Bottom line: If you are a first time author, and are having troubling breaking into print, there is almost no downside to trying the eBook route.