I've always been a big believer in following your passion, no matter what it is, and hopefully, the money will come later. I admit, this hasn't always worked out so well, but at least I was doing something I loved. I think this is especially true for authors.
In Seth Godin's blog post today, he wrote, "Publishing books to make money...is a little like hanging out in a singles bar if you want to get married."
We can all smell the insincerity of a book that was published only to make money. We've seen this before with e-books that promise a wealth of information for a steep price and hardly deliver. I've been duped into purchasing many such books in hopes that they will provide the answers I seek--and I'm sure I'm not alone. So, in that sense, I suppose those authors did what they set out to do: make money. With the low overhead costs of e-books, authors who self-publish can make a profit. Just don't think it's a shortcut to making a living.
Writing a book takes a lot of time and energy with very little monetary return. There's hardly a reason to write one other than for passion. With authors getting paid a few pennies for each book sold and the responsibility of having to pay for their own publicity, it's safe to say an author must have a strong need to share their story, help someone out with their words, or simply do it for the love of writing.
Those authors who do it for love, promote their books because they believe in its message, make connections and reach out to readers, and follow up by writing more books, can hopefully make a return on their time invested. Seth Godin wrote, "The only people who should plan on making money from writing a book are people who made money on their last book. Everyone else should either be in it for passion, trust, referrals, speaking, consulting, change-making, tenure, connections or joy."
So follow your passion and do it with everything you got, and don't waste your time with shortcuts. Bring love into everything you do, and it will come back to you!