When people approach me about writing a non-fiction book, my advice often disappoints them because of their expectations about the publishing world. There seems to be a pervading myth that simply publishing a book, on its own merits, is enough to bring fame and fortune to any author. This may come as a surprise, but if your purpose in wanting to write a book is to make money, then read on as I shed some light on the real truths behind book publishing.
The truth is that very few non-fiction authors make much money from their book alone. Publishing a book and getting nationwide distribution is an exorbitantly, and in most cases prohibitively, expensive process. Its time and energy intensive, and will take massive amounts of resources. In fact, non-fiction authors will spend anywhere from $400-800,000 before they even break even with book sales (anywhere from 200-350,000 copies sold). So if its that difficult and expensive, whats the point of publishing a book anyway?
There are two main reasons to write and publish a non-fiction book, and to make money certainly isnt one of them. The two reasons are to market your business and to gain credibility.