I was on Beth Revis’s Tumblr and came across this very interesting post. Beth is a New York Times Bestselling author of the Across The Universe trilogy. She gets asked periodically why she doesn’t go to a certain area to do a book signing, and I thought her answer was quiet eye opening. You see, even though she is a New York Times Bestselling author, she still has to pay for some of the book signings she does herself. She has been on publisher sponsored tours, but she also has to do some all on her own.
Sometimes as writers aspiring to be published we only focus on the getting published part, but there is a whole lot of work beyond that, and, as I’m finding out by reading a lot of authors blogs, is that a lot of the time you will have to do some or a lot of your own marketing, even if you have a big publisher. I hadn’t really thought much about book signings, except how awesome it would be to be doing one (or heart breaking if no one showed up), but I guess I thought the publisher paid for it.
Here is what it cost Beth to do a book signing, which will give you a clearer picture of what to expect when it is your turn to do book signings:
“If the event is within driving distance, I pay:
$40 for a tank of gas
A day’s worth of writing…So, that means, to make any profit at all, I would need to sell 41 copies of my book at this event. (For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to say that I make about $1/book. That’s not exactly true, but after fees and taxes, it’s pretty damn close.)
On average, I sell about ten to twenty books at an event within driving distance—which means I lose about twice as much as I make when I do a bookstore event.
If the event is further away, I pay:
All travel costs. On average, I usually pay around $250 for an airline ticket, then an additional $50 or so for cabs or rental cars to get where I need to go, so, about $300.
Hotel costs. I usually need to stay two nights for an event because of the timing—so, another $300.
Food. I have to budget in going out to eat at these events, so there goes another $100.
3-5 days worth of writing. Travel stresses me out, and I can’t write for about a day before and day after travel, and have a hard time writing during travel.
I’m grossly averaging here, but a typical event outside of my home state is going to cost me around $700 or so. I have done events that cost this much. I have done some that cost more than this.
Breaking down the costs, this means that a typical out-of-state event will cost me about $700. I need to make about 701 sales in order to pay for the costs of the event.
Typically, at out-of-state events, I sell about 50 books. For every out-of-state event that I do, I do it with the knowledge that, more than likely, I will be losing hundreds of dollars.”
I am really thankful to Beth for sharing this. It was an explanation to her fans about why she can’t always go to an area for a signing, but it has also helped me a lot as a writer.
What about you? Did you know you would have to pay for your own book signing?