On 70% Royalties (via @krasnostein, HT: @sircamaris)

Alisa Krasnostein discusses a little bit about the notion that by self-publishing an author automatically receives a 70% royalty (running on the industry 'standard' of Amazon and iTunes pocketing 30% of your sales):

I’ve run the maths of going to digital only publishing to play with the business model. I’ve also tried to look at offering our ebooks at that $0.99 or $1.99 price point. I really hope we don’t see this flux in the business model end up with books only costing 99 cents. It’s such a huge undervaluation of what it costs to produce the product. To think that you deserve 70% royalties means you think that the cover artist, the book designer, the layout, the editors, the proofers, the marketers and promoters, the promotion material including launch events, and overheads like electricity, software, website management, bank charges, fees for online sales transactions and so many other costs, as well as publisher reputation and branding should somehow be covered by that 30%.

As always, publishing models are very dependent on individual circumstance.

But, just musing personally... I'm surprised that someone proudly flaunting a 70% royalty (as a proxy for 'selling my own product on Amazon/iTunes') doesn't take issue with the 30% surcharge Amazon and iTunes charge. What are you getting for your 30%? File hosting? Really? Discoverability? I suppose. DRM? [Insert hyena-pitched-laughter].

Link to the original here:

Amazon’s markup of digital delivery to indie authors is ~129,000% (via @andrewhyde)

Andrew Hyde walks us through his ebook launch experience, with excellent infographics and an account of his marketing strategies.

This post is about [...] where the sales of the book are coming from, and why Amazon takes 48% of digital book sales.  Surprising eh?  I thought Amazon was the BEST for indie authors, right? We will get into that later.

Andrew isn't hiding in the low thousands on the Amazon sales list. He describes a very successful launch, including:

The book had a great launch, even getting to the #1 Hot Releases spot for for the travel section.

He discovers that the Kindle accounts for the greater of his sales on his $9.99 book, but then:

Wait, Amazon pays out the worst?  What? This can’t be right! They are the best right? Everyone loves them.  I love them.  I dig a bit deeper and find this little gem[...]

Do read through. I'm no fan of the Kindle myself, specifically because Amazon explicitly refuse to support .epub files, but this is a really shady trick by Amazon.

Read Andrew's analysis here:

PS: In the comments to Andrew's article we find a link to where Amazon apparently discloses their delivery service fee. That link seems to be broken now, and a quick search through their help page didn't turn up anything. Sorry folks, I tried.

Royalty Only Anthologies (via @AlanBaxter)

Alan Baxter stirred the twittersphere recently with comments about royalty only anthologies.

I was basically lamenting the continued rise of anthology submission calls that are “paying” writers with royalties only. I have a problem with this, and I’ll explain why.

Alan iterates over the different expectations of paying and non-paying markets, and how this provides a valuable progression for writers from baseline obscurity to slightly less obscurity (yes, I am joking, we writers tend to hover around obscurity through most of our careers).

Now the ideal situation is to be paid and get a contributor’s copy. Even if the payment is as low as just a few dollars, plus a contrib copy, the author is getting something for their hard work. Well below anything like a viable wage, but something. The best of all worlds is to be paid well and get at least one contributor copy.

For what it's worth, I agree with Alan here. I've noticed a lot of For-The-Love anthologies cropping up, and frankly, I'm not much of a fan. At the very, very least, an anthology should supply the writer with a contributor's copy for their effort.

But this is where it gets shady:

The primary reason for publishers paying royalties only is because it removes the outlay of buying stories up front, yet still reserves the hope of paying the contributors. That’s fundamentally a good idea, but it’s usually a problem.

The problem is outlined neatly by Alan and is quite a sneaky one, playing to a writer's vanity. Click through to Alan's article and read it for yourself.

Yeah, sorry I'm not spoiling it for you. Go, quick, read: