I can already hear a few of you. Well Tina Sue did tell me to be a little more edgy (so your mom owes me $20 still...I'll be waiting!) and the first and best way I can think to accomplish this while giving you something of value is to tackle the burden known as self publishing.
Sites like Lulu and Smashwords have made it simple for anyone to be an author and make money, but what have they really done?
Simply put, they've given us one more area of distribution while also allowing for any tom dick and harry to publish whatever they consider passable quality writing.
Yes, the author gets to keep more money but does that really matter if you're making 100% of NOTHING vs. my 37% of the 1k the publisher rakes in from third party sales?
Let's assume you DO make some money. What does that look like from a business perspective? Let's break down that ROI without getting too technical.
You write the book, spend three months doing so. Maybe you put in a total of 10 hours a week writing a week (let's assume a good 40 hours of pure writing), then you tack on another 40 hours of revising that first draft. We're already at 80 hours. Now you have make some choices. Can you do cover art? If you think you can, you're probably wrong. That cool scene you think would make a good cover for your book, would realistically make a good piece of art. Do you understand the importance of type setting, spacing? Using the size of your image to sell a book?
Let's go further, you've got what you feel is a solid second draft. No way is that book ready for publication though. You need a real editor to give it a once over due to the author curse--that being that NO author can truly properly ever edit their own story to perfection. It's a proven fact, that's why we have editors who are objective in their analysis of our stories. You decide to hire someone. You're starting off not making any money, spending time only and now you have to hire an editor. I start at $200 for a 50k erotic romance, and that's ONLY one draft.
Once the books and cover are you the book goes to the distribution sites, that takes time. YOUR time.
All for a slice of hope that you'll sell and make 100% of the profits. That figure btw is not 100% to you. You started off in the negative.
Let's look at this emotionally now. You have utterly only the support of other self published authors and whatever community you're involved in. You must market ALL ON YOUR OWN.
When someone does take a shot at your baby and they decide to blast it, who was there beforehand to tell you you needed to fix that plot issue? Again, what type of editor did you pay for and what was negotiated? By this point it's too late. You still have thin skin.
Real publishing, be it e-book or traditional gives you a sense of community, gives you a chance to grow a thick skin through trail by fire. Yes, others are looking at your work and judging it when you submit, that's just it. They're NOT judging you.
You don't get the wider distribution AND if you go POD with your self publishing venture, you won't see your book in stores. Most places stock from Ingrams and Lightning Source, plus one other major middleman.
I know this seems harsh and I will say that self publishing CAN be lucrative but seriously only if you're an established author with a built in following. And I'd only suggest you do that as a supplement, not as your main source of income.
There's a reason self publishing gets a bad rap. Usually it's due to crappy editing, stories that just don't cut the mustard. Career authors cannot afford a bad rap.
I'm not against newbies coming into the game, I'm against people trying to establish a career with shortcuts that don't work. Being an author requires determination, self discipline and drive, followed by hard work. Only through that will you have a chance at a legitimate writing career.