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.