Is there a book inside you?

GO FOR IT: But be prepared to market yourself. Photo credit Shutterstock

IS THERE a book inside you?

If so, it might be best to leave it there and enjoy dreaming of what it must be like to be a successful author. Although I retired as a ghost-writer I still get calls inviting my help from budding authors.

Far be it for me to rain on anyone’s parade but I don’t know of a single new author who recovered their outlay after their book was published.


There is kudos to having one’s book printed and seeing your name on its cover. If you are a celebrity or football wag, entertainer or artiste, then having one’s biography carries more street cred than does a head-turning Mercedes or BMW and costs considerably less.

A biography or a novel is a marketing investment. But, very few ordinary authors recover their outlay. The difference is the celebrity’s book will open doors and impress. But, that is the business they are in, is it yours?

When you are thinking of setting down your life story there are three hurdles ready to trip you. Unless you are a professional writer you will need a ghost-writer. You see, 40 per cent of books authored by professionals are ghosted; in the case of amateurs 80 per cent are editorially enhanced by professional writers.

Uploading to Amazon and other online publishers is not for the faint-hearted. If you need professional help brace for at least €650 outlay.

I speak from experience and that of others when I say that Amazon is useless at selling books. But, the American conglomerate creams off an eye-watering 55 per cent of the cover price and profit from hiked shipping fees whilst authors remain destitute. Amazon simply makes your book available and facilitates its purchase; it does not market your book.

Finally, there is the hard bit. If you don’t yell you don’t sell and you have to market your book. This can be done FOC via social media or by expensive marketing agencies, which few can afford.

A little research revealed that the professional author earns in the region of €7,200 per annum, which is roughly that of a UK pension.

The basics of writing and publishing before marketing can set you back at least €2,000. On the other hand, folk spend such trifling amounts on indulgences that don’t yield returns other than memories.

As with all else in life it is a matter of priorities but if floats your boat then go for it. Your book is unlikely to make you rich except in experience, a sense of achievement, and well-earned respect.

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