Monday, January 7, 2013

Mathematical Proof of the Long Tail

Back when I was in college, my econ professor was trying to demonstrate the value of interest and the psychology of long-term investing. To give you perspective, it was during Reagan's second term, and many of my classmates were paying ten percent or more even with government loans.

His example assumed you got a job right after school. It's the crappiest job on the planet, and you are only paid a penny on your first. But each day, your salary doubled from the day before. You could quit any time. It went something like this:

Day 1 - $0.01
Day 2 - $0.02
Day 3 - $0.04
Day 4 - $0.08
Day 10 - $5.12
Day 30 - $10,737,418.24

Add each days income together, and you'll have $21,474,836.47.

Yep, that's right. You'd have over TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS IN A MONTH if you could stick out the the world's crappiest job. If you couldn't handle it, you could quit and get a normal Day Job.

Now, imagine that you're working the greatest job ever, a job you absolute love, and you only get paid a penny for the first year. Each year your income would double. Would you still do the job you absolutely loved?

Sound familiar?

I uploaded three novels, two novellas, and one non-fiction guide in 2011. My total self-publishing income for 2011 was $131.40.

In addition to last year's stories, I uploaded one novel, six novellas, and two short stories in 2012. My total self-publishing income was $4,058.12.

I've already got a novel, a novella and a short story in the pipeline for publishing in the next two months. More stories will be written this year.

Do you think this is unusual? It's not. The only question you have to ask yourself--how long can you stick to the job you love in order to be rewarded?


  1. Thank you for posting this. The first year I struggled with the decision to keep writing after seeing the lack of interest from the public. However, I stuck it out, uploaded a couple more novels, and finally saw the biggest reward I've ever seen this past October. Within one month, on one site (I upload to 3 different publishing sites) I raked in over $300.00. That's doesn't sound like a lot either but for the past months I barely made enough to even have the money go into my checking (which was only $10.00 or more). I was amazed, humbled, and gracious to those purchasing my WORDS, my CREATIONS, my PASSION. This year I hope to upload four more novels. Can't wait to see how they do.

  2. I have no doubt you will be successful in the long run, Savannah!

    A lot of writers don't get that if a reader loves your book, they want to read MORE! If you don't have more for them to buy, you're screwed.