One of my goals as a writer is to be as transparent as possible about the financial side of things. So often we only see the numbers that look good – bestseller’s rankings or the net worth of our most famous and financially successful writers. But those numbers aren’t reality for many – okay for most of us.  Most of us are working in the red or breaking even, especially if we self-publish.

So today, I want to share with you my numbers, thus far, for the new cozy mystery series I launched in November under my pen name ACF BookensBut before I get to the numbers, let me give you a few bits of information about my intentions for this series:

  • I’m playing the long-game with the series here and counting on read-through (i.e. someone reading one book and wanting to read more) to be the key to financial success here.
  • I’m planning, at this point, for at least six books in the series with book six coming out in early 2021.
  • I’m publishing as fast as my life will allow me right now, with a book every eight weeks or so.
  • I’m definitely going to do other series under this pen name with the hopes that readers who like one series will want to read others.
  • I’m writing entirely to market here and following the conventions of the genre as closely as I can while also being sure to be true to who I am as a writer. (In my case, this means there’s always an element of social justice in each book.)

The Numbers


To get this series up and running, I had three main expenses: a website, cover designs, and editing.

  • Website Costs – $281.25
  • Cover Designs – $1305.50
    • For four covers (prequel and first three books) that are branded and original. Done by the wonderful Deranged Doctor Design.
  • Editing – $2400
    • My talented editor Mary did full line edits of the first two books (so far) and also created a style sheet for the series, which has helped me with consistency in a big way.

Then, I needed to do advertising, so I ran ads to both the prequel and book 1. Plus, I got a BookBub Featured Deal (International), which was a BIG boost to sales.

  • BookBub – $55.48
    • Book 1
  • Amazon – $4.77
    • Book 1
  • Facebook – $65.65
    • Prequel
  • BookBub – $198.00 (I MORE than made back this investment in sales directly from this deal.)
Total Spend – $3,830.40


My income from these books started in November, when I launched Book 1. Book 2 came out in January. Book 3 is forthcoming in March.

Publishable By Death – Book 1

  • November – $362.13
  • December – $340.39
  • January – $232.95
  • February – $9.78

Total – $954.96 (Price in November was $3.99 for ebook, but it’s been $.99 since December. Paperback is $11.99)

Entitled To Kill – Book 2

  • January – $544.36
  • February – $24.84

Total – $569.20 (Price for ebook is $3.99. Paperback is $11.99)

Total Earned – $1524.16

The Analysis

As of at this moment on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, I have recovered 39.8% of what I’ve spent.  After less than three months (figured on release date), I have made back more than one-third of my investment. I am immensely pleased. 

As I said, my hope is that over time these books will continue to sell and that people will continue to buy the new releases in this series as well as new releases in my other cozy mystery series. By year’s end, I expect I will be in the black and that this series will, then, be all revenue going forward.  (If you’re interested in a great discussion of sell-through in book series, don’t miss this episode of The Self-Publishing Show.)

I hope you find this information helpful. As you can see, there is a significant financial outlay at the beginning, so self-publishing is something you need to budget wisely for. But the returns can be really great and make that outlay well worth it.

Now, what questions can I answer? Are you interested in hearing about numbers of book sold? Are you curious about which platforms are performing best? (Note, I sell just a wee bit more on Amazon than I due on the other platforms like Barnes and Noble and Kobo combined, but I’m thrilled with that.) Do you want to hear how else I market my books for FREE?  Comment below or drop me an email, and I”ll get back to you asap.  And if there’s enough interest in a particular question, I’ll do some follow-up posts, too.  THANKS!