How to make money writing books

If you are interested in writing books, especially ebooks, you might want to check out Mike Shatzkin’s blogs on the net or his ebook entitled, The Shatzkin Files, Volume 1. Shatzkin has been involved in the publishing business for nearly 50 years.

For the past two decades he has been focused on the digital changes in publishing.

Recently he published a blog item about Hugh Howey. Howey is best known for the science fiction series Silo published on’s Kindle Direct Publishing system.

Shatzkin quotes Howey:

“Too few successful self-pubbed authors talk about the incredible hours and hard work they put in, so it all seems so easy and attainable. The truth is, you’ve got to outwork most other authors out there. You’ve got to think about

Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey

writing a few novels a year for several years before you even know if you’ve got what it takes. Most authors give up before they give themselves a chance. It’s similar to how publishers give up on authors before they truly have a chance.”

Mike Shatzkin then goes onto write on his blog: “This seems like sound advice, but it isn’t how it appeared to work for Howey. He published a novella which was the start of Wool and his Amazon audience asked for more. Three more novellas later, over a period of just a few months, and the four combined became his bestselling novel. Six months after he started, he was making $50,000 a month or more and had an agent selling his film rights. Then his agent started selling his book rights in non-US territories and in other languages. Meanwhile, Howey continued to earn 70 percent of the revenues from his ebooks, in a deal Amazon offered that matched what they paid to agency publishers, the biggest publishers.”

Shatzkin next makes the point that this isn’t how most writers write or make money, especially Peace Corps writers, writing memoirs. Shatzkin writes:

“Howey’s analysis totally leaves out one of the biggest categories of publishing: big non-fiction like history or
biographies or industry analyses that take years of research and dedication to complete. Unlike a lot of fiction, those books not only take time, they require serious help and expense to research. In a imagined future world where all books are self-published, aspiring fiction writers give up very little (small advances) and successful fiction authors have the money to eat while they write the next book they can make even more money on doing it the Howey way (even though none have).”

If you are interested in the future of books as ebooks, as well as books in general, check out Shatzkin’s

Mike Shatzkin

Mike Shatzkin





One Comment

Leave a comment
  • Amazing story. I’ve been thinking of marketing my non-fiction autobiography, starting with a long Preface to spark interest in Chapters 1- end, marketing one chapter at a time.

    What I want to know, and will I followup at Shatzkin’s Idealog, is how does the copyright work, when you release the first and and then three other novellas, all with separate copyrights and then you withdraw them and Amazon let’s Howey re-issue them as a new book that becomes a $50k a week accounting nightmare….How does one get Amazon to let you go in and out changing Novellas into chapters?

    As always, Gracias por su ayuda y inspiración.

    Guillermo de Sicaya

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2022. Peace Corps Worldwide.