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Thoughts on Self Publishing?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Nathan J. Lauffer, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. On the income thing:
    You make 35% on Amazon for 99 cent book. But you make 60% on other venues thanks to Smashwords. Amazon holds 60-70% of the market, but the other 30-40% earns more. It's also possible to make 70% on 99 cent KDP books, although it requires some extra effort. (I think it still is, anyway.) On the trade pub end, I've personally spoken to midlisters making 6% of cover price on mmps from a major press. That's 48 cents, and when you take away 7 cents per copy for the agent...? ;) I know some (how many I don't know) midlisters make as much as 8% on mmp sales, but that's not universal.
     
  2. As far as I know, it's 70% if the price is between $2.99 and $9.99 inclusive, 35% if below $2.99 or above $9.99. That's what the KDP site lets you do when you're setting prices, anyway.
     
  3. gerald.parson

    gerald.parson Troubadour

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    Nothing wrong with self publishing, its a viable option. Plenty of books have been rejected countless times by agents and publishers only to get picked up one day and do very well. Point being that this is an opinion driven business, and agents and publishers have an opinion, their opinion, not the potential readers. There is a lot of red-tape with publishing, and headaches and hassles. While there are many bonuses with traditional publishing, in today's market and internet driven society, self publishing is perfectly respectable route. Book stores are closing and Amazon is selling, e-books are picking up steam, all these things are obtainable with self-publishing.
    I look at self publishing much like I look at Indie movies and video games, it's just people (or groups of people) trying to make their mark at their own expense and hard work.
    I don't think when a book is published in a traditional way it automatically makes it a good book. And that also means when a book is published via vanity press it isn't going to be bad.

    Put it this way, and I read this somewhere from a author who is self-published so don't quote me, and I am paraphrasing.
    If you enjoy what you are doing (writing) and you believe in your product ( the book ) then invest in yourself, do the extra leg work and make things happen. If you won't invest in yourself, than don't expect anyone else to invest in you.
    Makes sense to me. So in short, self publishing is cool. Nothing wrong with it at all.
     
  4. gerald.parson

    gerald.parson Troubadour

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    I personally think this is a great model to follow. Best of luck.
     
  5. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    I'm surpriesed to hear contracts for MMP at 6%. My publisher didn't do my books as MMP but if they did I would have gotten 8% which is what I used for the calculation. They did my books as trade paperbacks and for that I get 7.5%.
     
  6. gerald.parson

    gerald.parson Troubadour

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    You lost me here Michael, could you go further into detail to help me better understand? Please.
     
  7. You also received a six-figure advance, Michael. You're not midlist - or if you are, you're at the very tippy top of the midlist. ;) Midlist MMP royalty is generally 6-8%, from what I've heard from other writers.


    Benjamin, the 70% rate IS between $2.99 and 9.99. However, it used to be that if you put the book on Amazon for any price in that range (and turn on the 70% rate), and then put it for 99 cents on Smashwords (and through them B&N and Apple), when the book hit Apple/B&N, and Amazon noticed it (or was informed of it), they dropped the price on their version but not the royalty rate. In other words, you retained the 70% rate even on a 99 cent ebook. NOT sure if it still functions that way or not, however.
     
  8. That sounds like a bug/exploit. I wouldn't count on it staying around forever.
     
  9. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Yes, they mention in the terms that the royalty rate stays the same through price-matching. I imagine they'll eventually fix this little loophole, though.
     
  10. Yeah, it won't shock me when that changes, which is why I said I'm not sure if it still works or not.
     
  11. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    Gerald...in your contract they have different royalty rates for different formats. There can be a range - for instance as Kevin pointed out some mass market paperbook (MMP) contracts he's heard of are 6%. To be honest I thought the contract I received was pretty "industry standard" and I still do think it is. One thing to keep in mind whenever you are looking at royalties is whether the percentage is based on cover price (list price or gross) or net (and how is net calculated). FWIW here are the rates in my contract:

    hardcover (retail price):
    10% first 5,000
    12.5% next 5,000
    15% all copies after that

    Trade paperback (retail price)
    7.5% (no escallation)

    Mass Market Paperback (retail price)
    8% for first 150,000
    10% all above that

    Audio books (net sales)
    10% of CD versions
    25% digital downloads

    ebooks (net sales)
    25%

    There are other numbers - slightly different values for UK, Large Print, etc but the above cover the "bulk" of the royalties
     
    gerald.parson likes this.
  12. Stuart John Evison

    Stuart John Evison Minstrel

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    My first post about my own experience of seeking publication.
    The first thing that always gets to me about submitting work to agents or publishers is "submission guidelines", never having been any good at being submissive by very nature I find them too restrictive. I like to illuminate and illustrate my work and they do not seem to be willing to accept this old fashioned idea. This gave me no other recourse but to go the self publishing route in order to make people take notice. I expect the experience of this is different for everyone but for me it has perhaps been relatively easy. I am lucky enough to have worked and still have friends in the magazine publishing world so I just went for it.
    "Muddle Puddle and the Whistling Shell" will be available shortly from Apple's bookstore.
     
  13. morfiction

    morfiction Troubadour

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    I self-published with Lulu.com. It only costs money to print the books. There are other optional services but they are purely optional.
     
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