Sunday, March 27, 2011

Want to lose money writing?

The saying goes, "The truth shall set you free."

I agree yet for some the truth is scary and may hurt. It is what it is and is not dependent on if we believe it or not. The thing about real, truth is it will not change, the hard part if finding it or seeing it through our foggy glasses we all wear.

Some may ask why I am so hard on the publishing industry, and how I can be so dogmatic when after all I am a publisher. To this I say, "I am a publisher but I understand that you don't need me." What I do is help authors as one author to another. We sit down, make a deal and I take the time to do what you can do but I can do it most of the time faster and allow you more time to write.

This is all I really add. But for most it is enough. Think of Amanda Hocking, she took a big deal because she wants to just write. The formatting, cover design and all the time it takes to publish a book were to much and not what she wanted to do. This is the future of publishing. we provide a service, not something you can't do on your own but a service.

Now this being said here is the point of this post. I am angry. Angry for you the author. Angry at the big 6 and for the way they have taken advantage of authors for years. I am an author first and seeing good people struggling to make a living gets me hot real fast.

So here is the skinny.

I was talking to a writer the other day. This person has 10 books out or so and is with a regular publisher. This person has not seen any money past the advance and my guess, never will. Both the book and eBooks are selling very well so I did some number crunching to see just what this person was missing because of the book deal they are locked into.

Just on eBooks based on the ranking on Amazon the publisher is bringing in on the low end 12K a month. Now the print is more so lets be conservative and say 25K each month of pure profit. How much of this should this person be getting? 30-50%. how much are they getting? 0%.

Now to be fair, I don't know how much the advance was and if the % is only like .25-.50 per book it could take a long time to pay back. But on eBook this should be paid off faster. I also understand that even a few years ago this book deal would have been a good move. But not now. We can't change the past but we can change our futures.

This is a typical move for publishers. Now I know they paid for marketing, printing and so on. They did take a risk but now that the world has changed and moved on, we the authors must take our own futures in hand. We can only kick ourselves around the block if we take a deal now without understanding what it means.

What can we take away from this? What do I want to see in the next few years?

1. I hope to open the eyes of as many writers as I can. I hope to have a list of authors that are selling books and making a living doing so.

2. I will do everything in my power to bring down the big 6. call it a mission. If I can change the right persons mind and that ripple in the pond breaks the foundation of Random house so be it. That or see them change how they do business and pay their authors a better royalty and get rid of advances. It is bad business and can't go on forever. Paying for something and hoping it will return a profit is called gambling. you will win some and lose others. Do you want to be their gamble? If so the house wins... just a thought.

Now the "Oh, wait,"

Would I take a big book deal? Yes. Why would I after all my spouting off about them and how big and bad they are? Because I would go in knowing it was a game, I would throw a few books to the wolves and that in turn would make all my other titles sell better. But I would do it knowing why I was doing it and not expect a dime off that book. It would be like a lamb to the fire, and that is like counting cards. I could win a hand or two and come out better.

If you want to write and make a living I would not go to a big house. Find a small one that works hard and make it on your own... If you don't believe me, ask Vincent Zandri... Ask me... Ask a NYT bestseller and see if he works a second job.

The truth will set you free.


  1. I have one job. I'm a writer. And my publisher is helping me make it possible...That publisher is StoneHouse Ink/StoneGate Ink...

  2. The poker analogy is great. Make it look like you lost a hand, just so you can come back and win the next big hand with the same poker face you lost with. And I love the small presses for the same reasons you stated. Getting published should not be a get rich quick scheme. Thanks for the article.

  3. Very well said, Aaron. Until people realize that they are waiting years to get traditional publishers just to look at something they wrote, they could be up and running with a hard working team from a smaller house. Nice to see you are making a good living because you didn't have the fear most people do.