Tuesday, September 14, 2010

CHAPTER NINE: The Publishing lie.

There are all sorts of lies out there. One I love is the real-estate lie. This is where you talk to an agent and no matter what the market is doing, "It is a great time to buy!" These people are so involved that they can't see past their own hands. They tell themselves the lie so much that they now believe it.

A lie that is going around now is the eBook lie. Publishers, bookstores and authors are all telling themselves that the eBook craze is just a fad, we will always have paper books and so on... I bet the record people said the same thing about the 8teack tapes and the tape people said the same thing about the CD.

Things change, we are not losing a book but gaining a new way to read said book. We used to have all our print on a scroll... what about that? Now the book is on its way out and shutting our eyes and hoping it will all go away is just as silly as a child holding their hands over their eyes and claiming you can't see them.

The other publishing lie is "If your work is good enough a publisher will pay you for your work." Really? Who? Yes some small publishers will pay, or the big ones if you are famous. But this trend is on the way out as well. publishers can no longer risk the money and so the advance will go away, (and is already) and the back-end royalty will go up. This is a different world and with POD and short run printing the need to print thousands of books is no longer needed.

The future is "You will get paid for your work, when you sell books." If you paint someone will buy the art and you get paid. If you build a house, you get paid when you sell the house. Now, why is it that we think we should get paid on a book before we sell anything? The publishing world has pumped out this lie for so long they now believe it and all the authors think the same thing. Now the big guys like James Patterson, yes, no much will take their fat advances away, but for all the new boys on the block it is a whole new game.

Think about this... I know of many authors that sell way more books then me, and have more out. But they get like 6k a year or that amount over 3 years. These writers are living the dream getting paid from a publisher and having the idea in their head that they got paid cuz they and their writing was good enough. Now, take a little guy like me and some of the authors we publish. We don't get paid a dime until a book is sold, but when it does we enjoy a high royalty return... up to 50%. what does that mean? Well I must sit in the lower bleachers in the writing world cuz I am not good enough... I didn't get a advance but guess what? My books are selling and I am making a living.

So I ask you... is it better to get paid a advance up front and low back end or no advance and large back end? I guess it all comes down to your work being good enough... not to a publisher but to the public. I do not give numbers to brag, I know and most who know me are aware that God is the one who does this, I have no control and He is the one who gives me everything. That being said let me hope to wake up some of you authors out there. Here is what you are missing because you got paid, you were good enough.

Average monthly return, just eBook. $3000.00 per month. Last month return on 2 books just on Amazon. $5600.00

Now, this is my numbers, we also have other authors that are doing close to this kind of return and are growing, some may pass and I hope they do pass my numbers. But what does this mean to a established author? Take what you sell and bump your royalty up to 50%. What do you get? Now see if that number is worth forgetting the advance and getting a higher royalty. Just a thought...

Now think beyond what we are looking at here. Think of Amazon...lets just talk eBooks, forget print, that is the icing on the cake. If you can sell say 2000 eBooks per title a month @ 2.99 and you have 5 titles. Most of you established authors have more but we can start here. It is about volume not price...

So 5 X 2000=10000 copies sold each month. Now take that and you get say $1 buck per book. That is 10k a month. Now that is just Amazon, what if you start selling well on the iPad, and the Nook, and the Kobo. Lets say half the numbers, that is 3 stores more... 1000 copies each making 3000 copies a month X 1 is another 3 grand putting you to 13k a month.

This is just eBooks... now think of your print books and think of a royalty of 30-42%. Are we getting the mind turning? I hope so...

This is how my mind works... I have 2 books out. I average 3500 a month / 2 = 1750 per title just on Amazon. I have 2 more books coming out in the next 6 months... if I can keep that average that brings me to 7k a month. Write 2 more in a year and I am at 10500 a month... See how it works?

but I am not getting paid for my work... I have no advance... I am not good enough to get a book deal. I guess I will just have to live with my failure... I know it is sad but I will try to make due... if you feel sorry for me you can send me some money... makes checks payable to...

please do not let them lie to you... if you can make a good living writing and leave something for your family after you are gone why would you not do it? This is all stuff that will go on month after month... Hope this helps...


  1. I like your thinking . . . and the numbers to back it up.

  2. I'm glad you're learning to live with your failures, Aaron, and I hope in a few months time, I can say this as well. LOL.

    Your illustrated approach on bringing awareness to the way things are in the publishing business 'today', I loved! This isn't yesterday anymore where advances are paid out big.

    Honestly, I didn't understand this initally, but getting rejections from Traditional Publishers, while receiving positive feedback on my story from other writers and friends, then I knew I needed to change my mind set. I needed to move past the lies and wishful thinking of fat advances falling in my lap.

    The point is, times have changed and we need to hop on the wagon to move our manuscripts, if we hope to reach our aspirations as a published author. Sells will determine our success, as Aaron has proven to us, not Traditional Publishers' rejection letters.

    Using a POD to produce your story as printed material or as an electronic file is the wave and...baby, it's here to stay!

  3. There are a lot of small publishers that are in front of the curve. Best bet is to work with them and build a fan base. To many are playing the game without realizing the rules were changed. Now there are always exceptions but this is the lottery... don't quit your job and just play the lottery...

  4. Dude, you freakin' rockkkkk!!!!! As you know, I'm the poster boy for having published novels with the big boys who paid me 250,000 in advances, which was like making a deal with the devil (Picture Jesus, hanging out in the desert for 40 days and nights, no food or water, and suddenly, this slick snake of a lit agent comes along and says, "Hey, you got talent, I've seen it. That thing with the mud on the eyes, brilliant bro, just brilliant. Hey how's about we team up and grab us a big advance?" What If Jesus got up, dusted Himself off and said, "Ok, you're on...Let's discuss details over drinks and tapas in Jeruselem")...Ok, so I exagerate here, but many of the lit agents I know and some of the big pubs, are out for one thing and one thing only: money....They will not only lure you in (if you have talent), they might actually extend a contract and an advance which they will gladly pull once your $35 hardcover is yanked from the chains because it didn't sell thru the anticipated first run 150,000 copies .... The agents don't want authors, they want big advances...the pubs don't want authors, they want to move units...

  5. I must digg your article so more people are able to see it, very helpful, I had a hard time finding the results searching on the web, thanks.

    - Norman