Several weeks ago I read one of those "How To" articles on a news website. The particular article I was reading was one on how to earn extra income in your spare time.
Among other questionable ways to earn "easy" money was a blurb that said to self-publish a book on Amazon and watch the money roll in. Ha!
Most indie authors don't write to become rich; if they are writing to become rich, they would be better off going to a casino, playing the lottery or just praying for money than expecting a large payout from their books! The truth of the matter is that at a rate of $0.0045 per page read from Amazon's Kindle Select program, or even a 70% payout from the sale of a $3.99 priced e-book, you have to sell a LOT of books to make any sort of reasonable return.
The truth of the matter is that selling an indie authored book is hard work, and the costs involved with cover design and marketing often consume more than any returns will cover. Most indie authors write because they love writing and want to tell their stories.
There are some indie authors who make a reasonable living from their writing. However, for each one of these success stories, there are thousands of other indie authors barely selling enough books to pay for lunch.
The web article made me laugh, and then my amusement quickly changed and I was annoyed with the author of the article. There are many people who take articles at their face value, especially when they are published on a well known news site. I began to imagine all those who would rush to their computers and start writing and rush to publish a story that, in all likelihood, was garbage. There is multitude of garbage written and published by indie "authors", and the comments in the message boards confirms this. I often see a great number of authors complaining about their lack of sales, and these are usually the same people who cannot form a simple sentence in English for a board post, let alone put together a viable novel.
I never blame someone for trying their best, and that includes someone who wants to write and publish their work. For these people, I offer nothing but encouragement. If someone truly wants to become better at writing, and learn as they go along, becoming an indie author is a good path to their end goal. If someone is strictly writing in hopes of becoming rich, I think they should go elsewhere.
Yes, you can make money by writing and publishing stories, but you can make a lot more money by getting a job. Even a part time job at minimum wage will earn you more money than most indie authors make selling their books.
If you truly want to hone your craft, then by all means go ahead and become an indie author, but don't expect to get rich doing it!