How to Make $1 a Month Selling Your Books

That’s not a typo. Yes, just $1.

On Jeff Goin’s website there’s a blog post about how the average writer makes less than a $1 a month. Since there are so many blog posts out there dedicated to making much more than that, this blog post is for those who only want to break that one dollar glass ceiling.

First off, are you writing? If you’re making anything at all, obviously something’s out there. If you’re not actually in the process of writing, you’re best probably calling yourself an author. It has all the hype of telling people that you’re a writer, but is probably more honest.

Do you have more than one book? Because multiple books really helps. Each new book should get you at least a couple sales. Maybe even three! And if you are using bargain basement pricing, you’re going to need all of them to get that dollar.

Are you self-publishing? If so, that gives you more tools than the trad publisher, and more of the royalty goes in your pockets. TBH, if you are making less than a dollar month through a traditional publisher, there’s a problem with the relationship.

Btw… I’m not going into marketing here. That cuts into that $1 goal.

So before we start, you need at least one book, and hopefully indie published. $1 a month, here we come!

Kindle Unlimited

Oaky, so putting all of your eggs in one basket has always been lousy advice. But if you aren’t making that $1 a month, there’s no reason not to. Nobody’s looking for your eggs, apparently, wherever they’re shopping. You want to make a dollar a month? Go exclusive with KDP Select and get your book(s) in Kindle Unlimited.

Why? Because of page reads. Let’s say Amazon pays you an average of .0045 cents a page reads. Each page is roughly the equivalent of 250 words. A 10k book is about 40 pages, which is worth .18 a read by a single person. If you’re writing this short, you need an audience of 6 people to get that dollar.

But you probably have your NaNoWriMo book up, at least, right? And that’s a nice size book sitting at 50k words! That’s .90 cents, right there! You only need one reader and a second somebody to read the first few chapters to get your dollar! Woohoo! Per month! Now you’re living, right?

Exclusivity gives you two other tools. One is Free Days! You’re an artist. You shouldn’t have to give your art away for free. You should expect people to pay you for your work. However! Free is still a good draw, and though most people will take your free book and run, you might get a few readers who’ll read it through Kindle Unlimited. Also, occasionally a free book run sparks interest and gets you some sales afterward. Also, if this is book 1 in a series, if people actually like what they read, they’ll read the rest of your series afterward. You can go free every three months.

Instead of going free, you can do a Kindle Countdown Deal and mark your book down to $0.99. This gets you $.70 per sale, so all you need is to direct two people and you’re good.



I have to throw this one out there. You’ve got a book, make it a paperback, charge $12 for it. Why twelve? Because your goal is to sell one copy (maybe two, since you had to pay for shipping, right?). Take that book to a library! Use your sexy writing charisma (or hutzpah!!!) to sell that book. Librarians are awesome. If you have a decent relationship with them, they’ll likely buy your book. At $12? You’re done for the year! There’s your dollar a month! Sometimes parents and friends can also be this sale, but we’re not shooting for the moon here, any one sale will do. That was almost too easy, right?

Covers and Blurbs

Are people ignoring your ebook? Have you compared your cover to those in the top 20 of your chosen genre? If you want to run with the cool kids you probably need to start by trying to dress (cover) and act (blurb) like them. While this doesn’t necessarily become a sale, it might!!!


The more you have out there, the more likely you’ll sell a book. Any book. It doesn’t matter what they are, or even if you have crappy covers and blurbs. You very well might sell that book! Which brings me to…


Price your book at $2.99 or higher. This price point, through Amazon, gets you the 70% royalty. Anything less? 30%. If you’re desperate and sell you book at the $.99 price point you need to sell three books. At $2.99? Only one.

In Conclusion…

Beat the average! Make a dollar per month! It’s possible! Maybe in the future I’ll talk about doubling this… or more!!! And don’t worry, if you are keen on keeping up the image of the starving artists, the above plan won’t derail your life. You wrote that book out of love anyway, right? Not fame and fortune. The masses will discover your book after your dead, surely, and then everyone will appreciate your greatness. Until then? Get that dollar! Get going and sell that book!

2 thoughts on “How to Make $1 a Month Selling Your Books

  1. I feel much better knowing that the average is a dollar, lol! If i can pitch in, it’s pretty easy to make that dollar writing and selling erotica – I even managed that dollar a month on Smashwords, and it’s not the biggest publisher out there!

    • Hey, Michael! Sorry I didn’t approve your comment earlier, but I was busy neglecting my blog. You are totally right about erotica. Though I don’t write it anymore, I have a steady stream of income still from stuff I wrote over three years ago from Smashwords and Amazon (mostly Smashwords, now).

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