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Cafe Doom  |  The Critique Crypt  |  General writing chat  |  E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
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Author Topic: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins  (Read 21865 times)

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Offline Ed

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E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« on: February 15, 2011, 02:08:29 PM »
Saw this article about how authors are getting a raw deal from most publishing houses when it comes to their royalties on e-book sales, while the publishers are in some cases making 70% more profit from an e-book than they would get from a printed book. Looks like the authors are getting stiffed again ::)

http://authorsguild.org/advocacy/articles/e-book-royalty-math-the-big.html
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

Offline Geoff_N

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2011, 05:43:21 PM »
I don't recognize much of the scenario in that article. One is that having worked briefly for a publisher, I know how much work goes into a manuscript. Hundreds of hours of editing time goes into acquistion, content-editing, revising, proofreading, cover art, etc. All that is necessary even if the book is only to be released as an ebook. Then there is the promo - not cheap. The cover artist has to be paid, often as a royalty % that the article omits. I have yet to find a small press that doesn't offer its authors an ebook royalty of at least 50% of the sale price - not the below-20 price quoted in the article. So many authors assume there are virtually no costs to the publisher but I know one who after all the above, had to pay Lightning Source for manuscript updates after the author made revisions after the final edit. Lightning Source now distributes ebooks as well as paper.

It seems that piece only used famous authors and their books that were written when paper was the predominant medium if not the only one. And for the big publishers. The contracts used for research are likely to be old. However, even those publishers are in financial trouble - that is why us lesser species of authors are having so much trouble gaining their interest. If publishers were really raking it in, we'd have less trouble getting published!

Offline jsorensen

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2011, 06:56:32 PM »
This question is probably very selfish of me--my plan is to attempt an ebook through Amazon's Kindle--but does anyone know of the benefits of self publishing through Amazon?  Has anyone attempted it and is willing to share their triumps and woes in the ordeal?  Is this something we should do? Should we go the route of small publishers to get a start? So on and so on...  :scratch:
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Offline Pharosian

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2011, 09:56:28 PM »
One of our members, rottndandie, has published Kindle editions via Amazon... Maybe she'll respond to this post.

Offline ozmosis7

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2011, 10:32:34 PM »
I've heard rumors that quite a few authors make a decent penny self-publishing 1 or 2 novellas a month via Amazon and Smashwords. I think part of that comes down to how established you are, but also how much time you invest pimping it through all of your social venues. What I've been told--as believe it or not I tend to hate doing that part of the job--is to never be shy of mentioning your work everywhere and at every opportunity. So it is my opinion that the authors that do this frequently have a pretty good name and spend tons of time spreading the word everywhere they can. Hope that helps.
Author of Dark Fiction - http://kennethwcain.com

Offline Craig Herbertson

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2011, 03:20:30 AM »
Most publishers don't coin it in from my experience. Only big hitters with big promotions are likely to more than scrape a living. If I was starting out I'd try to establish relationships with some of the many small press publishers. If you're work is good enough eventually someone will go for it. There is a strong financial argument for self publishing if you have one or two things already out on the market. As always you have to ask yourself 'why am I writing this?' - fame, money. love...?

Offline LashSlash

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2011, 04:56:09 AM »
'why am I writing this?' - fame, money. love...? --- it beats working, doesnt it?

............ maybe i make more from an ebook sale than i do from a hardcopy...... i know i should know this..... but bikoman probably knows the answer.

 bikoman...?

Offline Geoff_N

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2011, 10:42:15 AM »
'why am I writing this?' - fame, money. love...? --- it beats working, doesnt it?

............ maybe i make more from an ebook sale than i do from a hardcopy...... i know i should know this..... but bikoman probably knows the answer.

 bikoman...?
Depends on the publisher. Royalty percentage is much higher for your ebook, ALLAKAZZAM!, whether Kindle or pdf etc than for the paper print book but then the ebook price used to be only a pound so the total money to you from an ebook sale would be less than that for a print book. However, times have changed. I see ALLAKAZZAM! (LashSlash collection of deep and witty stories published by BeWrite Books) is on Amazon and at a good price. So the short answer is YES.

Offline Craig Herbertson

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2011, 07:03:10 AM »
'why am I writing this?' - fame, money. love...? --- it beats working, doesnt it?

............ maybe i make more from an ebook sale than i do from a hardcopy...... i know i should know this..... but bikoman probably knows the answer.

 bikoman...?

Yes it beats work by a long chalk. ;)

Offline rottndandie

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2011, 03:54:12 PM »
Sorry to be so late to respond. I've been in hiding from forums lately to try to get some writing done. :)

I self-published two novels and a novella for the Kindle and nook, and for me, it's been awesome. Not everyone has the entrepreneurial spirit to make self-publishing a successful business, though. It's not just writing a book and uploading it -- you still have to get it edited, get cover art, and get it in front of readers. All that costs money. Some folks *have* forgone editing, but that decision is often reflected in poor reviews. Some folks *have* made their own covers, but that decision is often reflected in poor sales.

Anyway, if you have specific questions, I'm happy to answer 'em.
KC May
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- Winston Churchill

Offline Ed

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2011, 04:15:57 PM »


Anyway, if you have specific questions, I'm happy to answer 'em.


Cool, thanks -- I was reading another forum where somebody said the couldn't get to grips with formatting their work for Kindle -- have you had any problems with that? Any tips as to which how-to to read, etc.? :smiley:
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

Offline jsorensen

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2011, 07:03:51 PM »
Also--covers?  I have ideas on what covers should look like for a particular piece and can probably create things through digital photography and photoshop programs, but (along with the basic text formatting question Ed asked), have you tried to create your own covers?  How was it? etc and etc---I'm partially attracted to this route in terms of the control I could maintain and the hands on with several aspects of the product...but I'm a newbie when it comes to the technical basics...again, do you know of any particular good "how-to" sources?
He had something to say. He said it. . . . He had summed up—he had judged. ‘The horror!’

Offline Pharosian

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2011, 07:29:58 PM »
Sorry to be so late to respond. I've been in hiding from forums lately to try to get some writing done. :)

Hey! Welcome back!

We've been having a discussion in the Critique Group about Kindle/self-publishing, and ozmosis7 posted a link to an interesting article by Tobias Buckell, who reveals his sales figures as a function of time and price point. I'm pasting the link here because I don't think you can see that post on the site. Anyway, I'd be interested in hearing how your sales are going on a month-to-month basis. Are the numbers staying fairly steady? Increasing?

http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2011/04/01/a-year-of-selling-tides-from-the-new-worlds/

Offline rottndandie

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2011, 08:47:26 PM »
Cool, thanks -- I was reading another forum where somebody said the couldn't get to grips with formatting their work for Kindle -- have you had any problems with that? Any tips as to which how-to to read, etc.? :smiley:

This one is VERY good: http://guidohenkel.com/2010/12/take-pride-in-your-ebook-formatting/
but I don't do it his way. It seems overly complicated. I just use Mobipocket Creator and upload a Word doc to create a PRC file. That way I can include the cover image and a ToC (which is helpful for people wanting to jump to a specific chapter). I haven't had any readers complain that the formatting is off.

For epub files, I use Calibre. If I need to tweak it, I use Sigil. It takes some getting used to, and it helps to be familiar with HTML.
KC May
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
- Winston Churchill

Offline rottndandie

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Re: E-book Royalties -- the house always wins
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2011, 09:19:56 PM »
Hey! Welcome back!

We've been having a discussion in the Critique Group about Kindle/self-publishing, and ozmosis7 posted a link to an interesting article by Tobias Buckell, who reveals his sales figures as a function of time and price point. I'm pasting the link here because I don't think you can see that post on the site. Anyway, I'd be interested in hearing how your sales are going on a month-to-month basis. Are the numbers staying fairly steady? Increasing?

http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2011/04/01/a-year-of-selling-tides-from-the-new-worlds/

Thanks! I'll try not to be as much of a stranger while I finish up the WIP. :)

Interesting article. I didn't read the whole thing -- just skipped to the highlights. I don't have any fancy graphs, but I am tracking sales in a spreadsheet. I clicked the Publish button at the end of July, then released a new book on Dec 1. Here's how my monthly figures look:

MonthTKLVoV$$
Jul10-$18
Aug41-$45
Sep100-$229
Oct93-$135
Nov91-$202
Dec125156$334
2010460156$946
Jan13239$313
Feb117288$351
Mar137504$454
Apr328202$525

I tried setting the price for VoV to $4.95 in January, then lowered it to $3.99 and finally to $2.99 where it stayed for all of Feb. In March, I put VoV on sale for 99c. For April, TKL is on sale for 99c and VoV is back to $2.99. Figures for April are through today.

I've done some advertising, too. You see a jump in sales for TKL in Sept -- that was when I advertised in Kindle Nation Daily. I just barely made back the cost of the ad. In Jan and Feb, I had a couple of features in Daily Cheap Reads, which helped sales for about 2 days. In March and April I had features in Pixel of Ink which helped sales a bunch. I also advertised VoV in March at Ereader News Today and barely made back the cost of the ad (because priced at 99c, my royalty is 35c), but it pushed the book down to the 700s in the Kindle store. Ranking helps sell books. I've got a spot in May for TKL on Ereader News Today, too, and I'll do a 99c sale for that, just to get more impulse buyers. :)

So while it's not a ton of money, I am making enough to pay the electric bill. :) I'm happy that the sales are increasing, and readers are leaving excellent reviews.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 09:22:15 PM by rottndandie »
KC May
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
- Winston Churchill

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