Dean Wesley Smith is celebrating his second anniversary writing a new novel for every issue of Smith’s Monthly, a magazine that consists only of his own fiction, over 60,000 words per issue.
At the moment he produces novels in four major series, including the time travel Thunder Mountain novels set in the old west, the galaxy-spanning Seeders Universe series, the urban fantasy Ghost of a Chance series, and the superhero series staring Poker Boy.
Smith reflects in his introduction to the 24th issue:
Occasionally, back in the old pulp days, one writer would fill an issue of one magazine or another, often with stories written under pen names.
And a few authors, Lester Dent to name one, wrote a novel a month for years.
But no one had tried filling a monthly magazine before every month.
Yes, I am that crazy.
Smith blogs daily, too, and in today’s post offers a unique metric for indie author sales success.
So what are good sales now? Everyone seems to have some idea, some made-up number in their head that they will be happy with. (And they never hit it, of course.)
Plus that number often has nothing to do with business and real accounting.
So one more time into some basic business numbers. Even if you think you might know this, read it again. Trust me, it will help.
I write a novel. 40,000 words. It takes me 40 hours at $50.00 per hour (rate I pay myself for sitting and having fun making stuff up. Figure your own time and hourly rate.)
So my time cost is $2,000.00. I have set costs of proofing and cover art of $300.00. And I have other costs of $200.
So for the sake of this example, I have $2,500.00 investment cost in a novel. That’s my investment in the property. (As if I spent that much to go buy a house on a corner to rent. Yes, copyright is a form of property.)
I want to make a 10% annual rate of return on my investment. By any standards in any business, that’s a damn fine rate of return.
So I need to make $250.00 PER YEAR to get that rate of return.
Or about $21.00 per month in profit from sales.
Needless to say, Dean Wesley Smith is not someone who feels it is detrimental to an indie author’s career to write more than three novels a year…