Making a living as an author, self-published or not, is a challenge. Writing, designing and publishing a book may be a creative effort. It is also a business.
There are as many financial goals for authors as there are authors. Some common goals authors may have is simply to earn extra income. Others may wish to earn their living entirely as a writer. Still other authors view their publishing efforts as a sideline to their main occupation, a means to promote and drive their other business efforts.
Regardless of your financial goals as an author, like any business, a self-publishing empire needs revenue in order to continue to grow and prosper. If nothing else, the next book has to be edited, the cover and interior designed and the book has to be marketed. Even on a shoestring budget with the author doing the bulk of the work, some funds will be necessary.
Multiple revenue streams are one way to help insure your self-publishing enterprise can generate a steady stream of income.
Why are multiple revenue streams a good idea?
Monthly book sales alone make the effort to develop multiple streams of revenue a good idea. If I could explain why my books sell in the pattern they do, I could make a fortune predicting book sales.
Until you have a big enough backlist that sells consistently enough to absorb the ups and downs of book sales each month, the extra sources of income are important.
Often, the "extras" are where you can earn your highest net profit. The movie theater industry makes more money from its outrageous prices selling concessions than it does from the ticket revenue it generates from admission to see the film.
Pro athletes now demand, and receive, a percentage of the merchandising rights from the team owners of their league in their collective bargaining agreements.
Can you provide something worth paying for related to your books? Fans of a character might want t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc, relating scenes from your stories featuring that character.
Non-fiction authors may want to offer a for pay newsletter or use their book as a lead generator for business opportunities.
Depending on your audience, you may want to offer audio books, DVDs or develop seminars. The only real issue, from my perspective, is can you create items that are worth what you charge your readers?
If the answer is yes, go for it!
It will be more work but you can kill several birds with the single stone. Merchandise that features your book both generates revenue and serves as advertising.
Readers who have not found your book but have come across your non-fiction how-to DVD may ddecide to check out your series of books on the topic, generating more book sales.
Back of the room sales at speaking engagements are another time honored means of generating income.
The more streams of income you can generate as an author, the more secure you will be financially. For authors who rely solely on their writing to earn a living, this is an essential approach to business until you consistently sell enough books to pay your bills. Even then, extra income is always welcome.
Self-publishing is a business.