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Another benefit I have received from self-publishing my first two books is more tangible.  Money.  I am not talking about stacks of benjamins, bags of (any denomination, really), or even enough to worry about being required to report on my taxes yet, but I have actually generated some cash flow.

Sure, when I track all the revenue minus expenses and do the calculations I clearly started out in a small hole.  I spent some money to register the copyright for my first two books, I spent some more money for proof copies of the print versions of those books, I spent a little more money to buy some copies to give to friends and family, and a little more money spent to buy copies to have on hand to sell folks.  It all sounds very un-profitable at first glance.

The strangest thing happened after that.  My books started selling.  Not by the hundreds and thousands, but enough to make a difference.  A dozen or so copies I had bought to have on hand sold to interested folks.  More folks bought the books online in one of their various forms.  Then, the most wonderful thing happened: I received my first royalty payments from Amazon and their CreateSpace subsidiary.  Yes, I finally felt I had actually started making money.

Let me put this in a better perspective for you, dear readers.  I have been writing for thirteen months.  My net cost (total revenue minus total expenses) works out to less than $10/month at this point.  It’s still technically a hole, but it’s a small one and it’s shrinking.  Viewed as an income opportunity, it appears pretty lousy for now, but viewed as a hobby that I do in my spare-spare-spare-leftover time (I probably average less than two hours a day if you take the total time I have spent and divide it by the thirteen months since I started), it is relatively cheap and has the potential to turn out much better.  Not only that, but included in that cost is the fact that I have been able to give away a couple dozen copies of my books in their print form to beta readers, family, etc.  From this point forward, both of those books can now generate a trickle (maybe someday a stream) of royalty income and I will never have to pay another dime related to them.

All of this helps keep my mind on writing the other parts of the story.  The sooner I get the rest of the books finished, the sooner they can reach the point of breaking even and even generating positive cash flow.  That’s motivation.