Saturday Scribbles: Evil Money Talk - Melissa Schroeder

Saturday Scribbles: Evil Money Talk

I was talking with several writers this week as we discussed the major changes in the publishing industry and how it was playing out for different types of authors. For those of you who don’t know, my prediction that Borders will probably be out of business by the end of 2011 is about to come true, ten months early. I’ve heard from several authors that Spring signings are being cancelled and several publishers have stopped shipping to the store.
Now, I hate that. I really don’t care about about my print that much because I earn so much more off my digital sales. And, I am a digital reader. But I really like competition. It keeps business honest. Thanks to the major misteps of the Borders management, we are about to lose some of that.
But, as usual, I went off about a shiny thing that is only part of the story. See, I left an organization a few years ago because they were behind in the times. They refused to see what was around the corner. They saw people like me, digital only authors, as really NON authors. The accepted line was that we all earn 20 bucks per book, didn’t have any editing, and had to pay for our artwork. I knew what was coming. I have been in this business since 2004 and I knew there was one thing that held back digital publishing: ebook reader availability.
A few weeks ago on Twitter, a fellow Samhain author and I were chatting about this back and forth. I found it interesting that our sales started to rise as many authors in NY saw theirs slipping(because many of them only look at print and many of them signed some crappy contracts). With the dropping of the price of the Kindle and Nook, we both had seen a rise in royalties. A HUGE rise. How huge? I will be blantantly honest with you. A Little Harmless Sex, a book that was orginally released in 2004, then rereleased by Samhain in 2007, and made the best selling Nook book list, sold over 2700 copies on  B and N alone in one month. You read that right. TWENTY SEVEN HUNDRED COPIES. When I started remarking about the money, another author deemed me as tacky. Apparently discussing sales figures and our royalty windfall is not allowed in acceptable company.
Well, I would rather be unacceptable. Why? Talking money, knowing what is going on in the industry give authors power. I had an author ask me privately how I could make money off my ebooks since they were so low in price. She was stunned to find out I make 40% from most of my publishers. STUNNED. And she is a multipublished, NY based author. She had NO idea I was making that much off my books.
Here’s the dirty little secret: Most authors don’t make a living. It’s true. Oh, several writer organizations want to make sure that you get that 1000 dollar advance, woo hoo. Of course, you won’t see any more money for at least two years, so make that money stretch, honey. They see getting an advance as selling your book. I don’t. I see it as a place marker on a consignment. AND, here is the thing. By the time the author gets his or her paycheck, I will have earnd a lot of money. Yeah, A LOT. Yes, I am an established author and one of the best sellers consistenly on Barnes and Noble. But, I am not the only one. There are many other authors. Siren, one of my publishers lists authors in their 100K club and 50K club. These are writers who have sold those numbers across the board in all formats of all their books.

Categories: Miscellaneous