Illustration by Roman Muradov
"Hi Ksenia! I am enjoying reading through your website. I need to reorganize mine. I am a relatively new author. I put Parenting . . . A Work in Progress on Amazon, KDP, Smashwords, Ingram Spark, and use a local printer. The next book, The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon is with the formatter and is awaiting illustrations. I am considering doing what you have done for the Charlie eBooks. I believe you have hit upon an excellent method and would like to try it. Do you use both Mobi and ePub files? Do you send something to explain to folks how to upload the file to their devices? Are you finding that most people send funds close to what you may have gained otherwise? Many thanks, Ellen."
Thank you, Ellen! I'm thrilled you enjoy my blog. You got me thinking here, with your questions. What follows will be part cautionary tale part answers to your questions, something I wish someone told me three years ago when I started writing, something that would've helped me sleep and not worry to death. So, here is the thing.
DON'T FOCUS ON MONEY, FOCUS ON WRITING.
Money is unpredictable when you do art, and particularly if you're an indie author in the business of writing and self-publishing books. The chance that you will make any money at all is slim and it depends a lot on luck and on your stories. If you happen to strike a combination of producing great stories and getting lucky—your book landing into the right hands at the right time—then yes, you can start focusing on the money side of the business because you will have money. Until then, have a day job, consult on the side, rob a bank, kill your rich uncle, do whatever you can to have a source of income THAT DOES NOT COME FROM YOUR BOOKS.
So, to answer your question, Ellen, I can't really answer it. The funds that people send are unpredictable. I used to track my free ebook downloads and donations and tried to make some sense out of the math and then I just gave up because it gave me more headaches than revelations about some hidden free-to-donation ratio that would help me map out my finances and the number of books downloaded. Here are a few little tidbits for you, to illustrate.