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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book? (Read 6003 times)
trw
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #19 - 03/06/22 at 22:53:33
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If you can get all your writing done in no time then it is utter trash that no one is going to want. I don't think you read a single word I wrote.
  
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FMCharless
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #18 - 03/06/22 at 22:34:34
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someone told me about kindle books. I am familiar with the blog idea and article submission. This is a good idea as well, but I think I am going to go with kindle. In other words, the work is not fully fully edited, and it can still be published on-demand on paperback and through kindle. In other words, a kindle paperback. I think I could get all my writing done in no time in that fashion.
  
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cathexis
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #17 - 03/06/22 at 14:53:53
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I know! Too funny.

@FMCharless -

Despite this jocularity, I still think my other advice (starting with blogs and article submissions, etc.) would be a good way to test the waters and perhaps earn an audience at the same time.
  
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #16 - 03/06/22 at 02:11:07
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cathexis wrote on 03/05/22 at 21:31:21:
the secret to a lasting marriage and how to lead a "sexy life."

Step 1 - be Suzanne Somers.

cathexis wrote on 03/05/22 at 21:31:21:
19.95 x 10,000,000 =??

About $100MM short.
  
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #15 - 03/05/22 at 21:31:21
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@AOC,

Well, Podcast Co-Host Dax Holt and Guest Suzanne Sommers stated she had made $299,250,000 not me. If you read further she will also reveal the secret to a lasting marriage and how to lead a "sexy life." See here:

https://www.insideedition.com/suzanne-somers-reveals-how-much-shes-made-selling-...

AOC, you should stop hating on her! Just check it for yourself: 19.95 x 10,000,000 =??   Grin
  
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trw
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #14 - 03/05/22 at 21:18:19
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ErictheRed wrote on 03/04/22 at 23:53:05:
Unless it's a very successful book that appeals to a very large audience, you'll hardly make any money and it won't be worth your time if your goal is to earn money by selling copies.  You'd earn more money working the same amount of hours at a low wage job, most likely.

You may, however, gain more students and be able to charge a higher rate for you instruction, and having published a book will look good on a resume. 



As a fellow published chess author, let me concur that what EricTheRed said is 100% accurate.

The three most published subjects in the world are:
1. Religion
2. Chess
3. Medicine

The average book sells 100 copies in its entire lifetime. The average PhD thesis is read 7 times (and the joke is one is always by the mother and one by the thesis advisor so only 5 times).

FMCharless wrote on 03/05/22 at 02:06:46:
there is self-publishing efficiently (your book makes it to all major websites and major bookstores)

and then there is submitting your manuscript to be published by a publishing house, like quality chess, or Rusell enterprises (among others).

I think self-publishing will get you at least 10 sales a month for one of your books considering it is a sellable subject, or 10 sales per book that you publish. If your books go for $20 USD that's a $200 profit a month, or $2400 USD per book a year.



There is so much wrong with this post I don't even know where to begin but I'll try to break it down for you.

Because chess is such a specific niche subject and has such a higher volume of material than your average subject. The average book by an unknown author (like me) should sell 200 books in its entire lifetime (double the mainstream book). I have in fact sold about 400 books to date (about 99% of those in the first two months). And I continue to see the book bought for about 1-2 copies per year.

So my REVENUE (not profit) can be calculated as $35 per book (price) x 400 books (volume) = $14,000. The revenue per year after that launch can be predicted at ~$70/year. So have 20 years you will have. $14000 + 19 years x $70 = $15,400 REVENUE. I think that amount would be quite normal for your average nobody like me publishing a chess book. Given it took me about 1000 hours to create this book, my hourly revenue is $15.40 which in most places by me is barely above the minimum wage of $15. However, I enjoyed it but it confirms EricTheRed's point that unless it is useful for branding, raising your rate with future students or a part of getting some title (as someone pointed out about FIDE Trainer)... it is likely not the best way to earn money for your time (if money is your only concern).

Now to get to profit, you need to subtract out the costs involved in making the book.

This largely depends on the choices you make.
You can print through Amazon (createspace which is now merged with Kindle and is called KDP). With Amazon, you have the beauty of much control and a ready made space to a healthy ready made market for your book. You don't have to worry about shipping because it is Print on Demand and you don't risk getting stuck with copies of the book you can't sell. I recommend this route for most authors. Plus you can easily sell it as an ebook for kindle as the amount of work to reformat your book for this is minimal. However, you do lose quality of paper (that is how Amazon is cheaper...) and the ability to add most fancy print add ons you could do with a traditional printer. Your cost per book will likely be lower. I can't really tell you how inflation has changed these numbers and what differences you are looking at today. But I imagine those inflatio differences are substantial. However, the difference between Amazon and a small printing press is usually quite minimal $1 - $2 per book at most. It really comes down to how you want the final book to look. You could run a limited edition copy of higher quality for the first 100 through a local publisher then switch to Amazon for the rest for the lower cost of books and no risk with getting stuck with your excess books. Luckily, Amazon will let you print 1 test copy quite cheap for roughly $4-10 depending on the size of your book to see what the quality looks like.

With a small printer, your costs are largely going to depend on the quality of the paper, any color add ons, what you are doing with the cover/title page etc and how many you intend to order. You get per book price breaks usually per 100 you order. It is NOT print on demand and it is important to understand this risk.

So lets say your cost per book is $4.25. You sell 440 books.

That means you are looking at:
$15400 Revenue
$1861.50 COG
Gross Profit is now $13538.50
Gross Profit is not profit.
I still haven't accounted for other costs you might occur like Advertising, Marketing, Shipping, An Editor, if you use a Graphic Designer for cover/title, Copyright and any legal contracts you may need.
It depends what route you go again. With Amazon KDP, your Shipping is $0 but with a private publisher even using the USPS mail book rate, you get approx $3.50 per book. Editing, assume you find an awesome cheap Editor as I did expect to pay $500. But you pay pretty much whatever you want. I talked to an editor that wanted $100 and I talked to an editor that wanted $10000. I paid $100 for a cover by a professional graphic designer. Again your numbers will vary based on what you do. But let's just look at my numbers to get to profit (eventually).

That means you are looking at:
$15400 Revenue
$1861.50 COG
Gross Profit is now $13,538.50
Marketing & Sales and Administrative Expenses $2149.16
So now Profit before Taxes: $11,389.34
Yikes you mean we're still not at Profit?!?! That's right. You still have to pay taxes. Taxes vary wildly, you may have local, state and Federal to pay if you're in the US or you may have a VAT if you're in the EU. I'm not about to guess at your Tax situation. So I'll just sum it up that I owed roughly ~$2,400 in taxes. I don't wish to reveal personal information either that will identify me. So the actual profit from $15,400 in Revenue of 438 books is $9,000 or a profit margin of 58% (not bad!). But it comes out to working for roughly $9/hr or significantly below what I would make at any minimum wage job available to me.

Okay that's self publishing! Since that piece was largely to explain to you the difference between revenue and profit (and I suggest running your own numbers based on what you think you can sell. 200 is average. Can you double the average like I did?).

Let's look at publishing with a book publisher. I have a non chess book published with a major publishing house. It sells roughly 200 copies per year every year (I won't explain why because again personal protection). It took me roughly 100 hours to write. I have zero risk involved in the costs of whether they sell it or not. They sell a copy for about $12. So over 20 years they will have revenue $48,000 dollars. They pay me approximately $200 per year and I have to do absolutely nothing further. So I will make about $4000 (significantly less the book I own). So at 100 hours, I made $40 an hour on the book. However, I received 8.3% of the revenue this time vs 58% in the last example - a significant amount of work and risk was removed though.

You're arguing that you will sell 120 books per year (how many years? If 20 years at that rate, it is 2400 books). If you can really sell 2400 books, then it is a no brainer. If you only sell 120 in the first year and zero after that, you will probably lose money not make any with self publishing unless you do POD. You need to remember that for chess books most of your sales are front loaded.

So I don't believe that selfpublishing is always the answer. Nor do I believe that books are the route to extreme profitability for most. Most of us are not Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. I believe if you want to write a book that you need to have a passion for it. Because it is a real grind.
  
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #13 - 03/05/22 at 20:01:38
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I spend more money on chess than you might imagine. downloading a book online is keeping up with the times.

There are books you cant find for sale anymore, like Iossif Dorfmans two books. I actually ended up buying them again from a bookstore in Spain in spanish.
  
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #12 - 03/05/22 at 19:03:13
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yes, FM Charles likes to download books for free instead of paying for them. He even boasts of this illegal activity in his solicitation of students.
  
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #11 - 03/05/22 at 17:58:39
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cathexis wrote on 03/05/22 at 15:00:41:
Based on sales figures she stated she has made over $300,000,000 (yep, 300 million) off of it!!.

I strongly doubt she has made that much. Quick search online gives $100MM for total sales, her net is a fraction of that. That she has made more money from Thighmaster than from acting I can well believe.

There's not much money in chess books either, but if the FM goes that route I expect to see some threads on here complaining about people downloading books for free instead of paying for them.
  
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #10 - 03/05/22 at 16:14:48
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cathexis wrote on 03/05/22 at 15:00:41:
Not that you asked but...

There was just an article about Susann Sommers based on a recent podcast that came out. She is sort of a celebrity and actress. But what she is most famous for was going back to the 90's she became the celebrity spokesperson for an exercise product called, "The Thighmaster." Remember those?

Not that you asked for my perspective, but when I hear the name Suzanne Somers all I can think of is the sitcom Step By Step, which for some unfathomable reason I sometimes watched as a youngster. I've never even heard of the Thighmaster.

Depends which TV and ad market you're in, probably.
  

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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #9 - 03/05/22 at 16:09:08
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ErictheRed wrote on 03/04/22 at 23:53:05:
You may, however, gain more students and be able to charge a higher rate for you instruction, and having published a book will look good on a resume. 

I don't remember the exact wording (and couldn't be bothered to look it up), but having published a book or equivalent material is also one of the requirements for the highest trainer titles conferred by FIDE; FIDE Senior Trainer (FST) and FIDE Trainer (FT).

So that's yet another indirect reason for writing a chess book.
  

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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #8 - 03/05/22 at 15:00:41
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Not that you asked but...

There was just an article about Susann Sommers based on a recent podcast that came out. She is sort of a celebrity and actress. But what she is most famous for was going back to the 90's she became the celebrity spokesperson for an exercise product called, "The Thighmaster." Remember those? In her recent interview Ms. Sommers said it was so successful she eventually bought all rights to it and that they continue to sell even today, 30 years later. Based on sales figures she stated she has made over $300,000,000 (yep, 300 million) off of it!!.  Cheesy

The example of Dan Heisman proves you don't need to be a GM to be successful in chess writing. But it is my understanding that he has a long history of professional involvement in chess as both a writer and a coach. If you're determined to see him as an example you could try writing to the various websites and magazines out there to ask for a copy of their submission standards. Then, following those, begin your own submissions. That ought to be a good test of your abilities. Bobby Fischer's "A Bust to the King's Gambit" was only 2 pages long and he got that published at the age of 17, IIRC. You could also test the waters by starting a blog or a You-Tube channel and encouraging comments. See what your desired audience thinks of your product. So give it a shot!

That, or invent the next Thighmaster.  Wink

Cathexis


  
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #7 - 03/05/22 at 12:55:53
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FMCharless wrote on 03/05/22 at 02:06:46:
there is self-publishing efficiently (your book makes it to all major websites and major bookstores)

and then there is submitting your manuscript to be published by a publishing house, like quality chess, or Rusell enterprises (among others).

I think self-publishing will get you at least 10 sales a month for one of your books considering it is a sellable subject, or 10 sales per book that you publish. If your books go for $20 USD that's a $200 profit a month, or $2400 USD per book a year.


Just in case you are not aware, @Ericthered has written a book that was well received and published by an established publisher so he has walked the walk.

  

"As Mikhail Tal would say ' Let's have a bit of hooliganism! '"

Victor Bologan.
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #6 - 03/05/22 at 06:17:19
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FMCharless wrote on 03/05/22 at 04:47:48:
Cyrus Lakdawala (IM) is the author of 50 chess books for new in chess and everyman.

now that's impressive.

if there's a will there's a way.


Less impressive if you open and read any of them.

Just curious - why the barrage of questions?
  
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Re: How much can an FM earn for writing a chess book?
Reply #5 - 03/05/22 at 04:47:48
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Cyrus Lakdawala (IM) is the author of 50 chess books for new in chess and everyman.

now that's impressive.

if there's a will there's a way.
  
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