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Old 1st February 2012, 05:03 AM   #151 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

Hi Teresa, Anne,

I'll agree that author implies that you've written something and it's been made public. Writer doesn't require that step. As a word it says that you write not that you have written.

Peter, if you had written every day for a year or ten years on your masterwork, but never taken it to an agent or publisher or risked self publishing would you not be a writer? Whether it's good or bad, would you not feel that you had earned the right purely by dint of your efforts to call yourself a writer?

Your blue tack sculpture guy hasn't put in the hard yards, so I don't think he could legitimately call himself a sculptor. But here's where it gets strange.

He could be sitting at home doing nothing when an art expert wanders by his house, see's his blue tack works and immediately wants to sell them. Suddenly, even though he has done nothing to warrant the title of sculptor he can be instantly elevated to that status by chance. Seems unfair, but then so is life.

Now while I can't think of any writers who could fall into this category, it does happen to other artists, and here I'm thinking of graffitti artists. They goout, do their thing, make a mess, and then some of them for no reason that I (with my admittedly terrible understanding of all things art) can see. So why should some of these guys be able to call themselves artists simply because their work is commercial, and others who may work far harder and spend far longer painting, not beable to?

I think in the end it comes down to the diligence and effort and time that's put in that defines whether someone is a writer. Commercial success and talent define whether one is a successful writer or a good one, not whether they are or are not a writer.

Cheers, Greg.
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Old 1st February 2012, 08:12 AM   #152 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

Going back to the original question - does the % royalty figure not change even for traditionally published books in download format?

Just that I noticed GRRM's ADwD was 13 a download, but with no printing or distribution costs involved, they must be trying not to undermine hardback sales. But with a larger profit margin, nonetheless, I figure if not happening yet, then authors should start demanding a higher % of download revenues at least.
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Old 1st February 2012, 09:25 AM   #153 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

Quote:
I'll agree that author implies that you've written something and it's been made public.
I also rather like Teresa's distinction.


Quote:
Peter, if you had written every day for a year or ten years on your masterwork, but never taken it to an agent or publisher or risked self publishing would you not be a writer?
No. I would be an aspiring writer or, as I would be more likely to say, a hobby writer. For me personally, it's "hobby" rather than "aspiring", as even if I were published, I would never expect to make enough loot from writing to be able to give up my day job and finance my bloated lifestyle.


Quote:
Whether it's good or bad, would you not feel that you had earned the right purely by dint of your efforts to call yourself a writer?
See above. I wouldn't feel that I could use the unqualified term "writer" to describe myself until those in the trade whose views I respected felt that I was one - interestingly, it seems I may not be alone in this after all.

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Your blue tack sculpture guy hasn't put in the hard yards, so I don't think he could legitimately call himself a sculptor.
This is already a shift from the "a writer is someone who writes" argument. We are now requiring "hard yards".


Quote:
He could be sitting at home doing nothing when an art expert wanders by his house, see's his blue tack works and immediately wants to sell them.
Equally, he could be abducted by aliens or discover Gwynn ap Nudd, king of the fairies, living in his compost bin.


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Suddenly, even though he has done nothing to warrant the title of sculptor he can be instantly elevated to that status by chance.
Indeed. Definitions are rarely perfect and we can all think of situations when someone might get approbation when they don't really deserve it. But that doesn't invalidate the definition in its entirety. As a general rule, I still maintain that the approval of the industry is the yardstick by which to judge whether one is a writer or just a typist.

Quote:
So why should some of these guys be able to call themselves artists simply because their work is commercial, and others who may work far harder and spend far longer painting, not beable to?
Because life is unfair, as you say. It's also not an entirely fair comparison, as some modern art has become so...erm...conceptual that it has vanished entirely up its own backside and become little more than a clever, self-referential in-joke for a handful of pointless tools living in places like Hoxton. Writing has not suffered the same fate, largely because there is still a general feeling that expressing oneself clearly in proper sentences is a Good Thing. And, unlike putting up a shelf in Tate Modern, writing coherent and entertaining sentences requires no small measure of ability.

Quote:
I think in the end it comes down to the diligence and effort and time that's put in that defines whether someone is a writer.
In part. I think it also comes down to whether someone is actually able to master writing - grammar, spelling, imagery, plot et al. But I still think that ultimately, the title of "writer" is one that is effectively bestowed by the industry, not by oneself.

Very best regards,

Peter
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Old 1st February 2012, 09:50 AM   #154 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

I don't think it has anything to do with the industry, but it does have everything to do with readers. A writer is someone who communicates something in such a way it moves another person. Stories and ideas do not become real until they are read.

My adventures with writing began online. Personally I feel like a writer when a reader comments I've made them weep, laugh, spit out their drink, picked out a line they loved, nags me for the next installment of my story. This remains my favourite review of my work:
Ok the very first two lines made me spit out my drink...
The dialogue drew me in and the family conflict is very strong and real.
It sounds just like how one of my friends acted heh heh.
An Entertaining read!!!!!!!


I actually care very little about the industry. For me it is about entertaining readers, and not any great crafting etc
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Old 1st February 2012, 10:13 AM   #155 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

Quote:
Originally Posted by I, Brian View Post
Going back to the original question - does the % royalty figure not change even for traditionally published books in download format?

Just that I noticed GRRM's ADwD was 13 a download, but with no printing or distribution costs involved, they must be trying not to undermine hardback sales. But with a larger profit margin, nonetheless, I figure if not happening yet, then authors should start demanding a higher % of download revenues at least.
I must admit, I have a 'policy' of not buying ebooks that are more expensive than their hardcopy counterparts on the basis that IMO they should cost less as the production costs per copy sold are so much lower.

Having browsed Joe Konrath's (self-publishing aficionado) blog http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/ , he suggests that in his experience only the 'blockbuster' authors can demand more for ebook downloads from traditional publishing houses. His blog contains some useful (if glaringly one-sided) info on self-publishing vs traditional publishing.
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Old 1st February 2012, 10:57 AM   #156 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

A writer does words.

An author does books.
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Old 1st February 2012, 05:30 PM   #157 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

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Originally Posted by I, Brian View Post
Going back to the original question - does the % royalty figure not change even for traditionally published books in download format?
Percentage royalties on ebooks are usually considerably higher, yes

I pay off a much bigger chunk of my advance if you buy the ebook direct from my publisher. Plus you get a DRM-free epub that will outlive any hardware you currently own, because it can be converted to other formats.

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Originally Posted by I, Brian View Post
Just that I noticed GRRM's ADwD was 13 a download, but with no printing or distribution costs involved, they must be trying not to undermine hardback sales.
The high price of some ebooks has nothing to do with production costs and everything to do with charging a premium price for desirable content. It's not really about not undermining hardback sales, because people who want the hardback to complete the set aren't likely to buy an ebook instead. Indeed, they may buy both - one for their collection, one to read on their Kindle.

Hardbacks don't cost twice as much to print and distribute as paperbacks, but readers swallow the difference because of the premium product. In both cases, though, what you are actually paying for is the privilege of reading it now instead of in six months' time. Ebooks are making this pricing model far more blatant, thats all.
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Old 1st February 2012, 06:05 PM   #158 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

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Originally Posted by Anne Lyle View Post
Percentage royalties on ebooks are usually considerably higher, yes
Sounds good - have Angry Robot given you a rough figure to work with?
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Old 1st February 2012, 06:38 PM   #159 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

I'd have to dig up my old contracts, but I think the royalty on ebooks is a little higher. The ebooks of the books I wrote for HarperCollin sell such a small percentage of the royalties I make from the trade paperbacks, I don't pay much attention to them.

I'm selling many times the number of ebook editions with Goblin Moon, and more every month, which is gratifying. More than I thought I would sell when I first had the idea to self publish the book. Since it was a reprint, I didn't expect much. The demise of chain bookstores in the US may have something to do with the numbers for the Kindle edition. But I've had stellar reviews from established writers and from readers on amazon so undoubtedly that helps a lot.
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Old 1st February 2012, 07:23 PM   #160 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

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Originally Posted by I, Brian View Post
Sounds good - have Angry Robot given you a rough figure to work with?
Exact figures - I have a contract, you know

Let's just say it's more than twice the percentage on all other formats, and if you buy direct from Angry Robot, the retailers don't take half the cover price - so that makes a big, big difference!

(N.B. the higher percentage on ebooks is pretty standard - it's not something extra-specially fluffy that AR are doing.)
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Old 1st February 2012, 08:07 PM   #161 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

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Originally Posted by Teresa Edgerton View Post
I'd have to dig up my old contracts, but I think the royalty on ebooks is a little higher. The ebooks of the books I wrote for HarperCollin sell such a small percentage of the royalties I make from the trade paperbacks, I don't pay much attention to them.

I'm selling many times the number of ebook editions with Goblin Moon, and more every month, which is gratifying. More than I thought I would sell when I first had the idea to self publish the book. Since it was a reprint, I didn't expect much. The demise of chain bookstores in the US may have something to do with the numbers for the Kindle edition. But I've had stellar reviews from established writers and from readers on amazon so undoubtedly that helps a lot.
How many sales in your best month, (apologies, but your not surprised I asked are you?)
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Old 1st February 2012, 08:16 PM   #162 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

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Originally Posted by Anne Lyle View Post
Exact figures - I have a contract, you know

Let's just say it's more than twice the percentage on all other formats, and if you buy direct from Angry Robot, the retailers don't take half the cover price - so that makes a big, big difference!

(N.B. the higher percentage on ebooks is pretty standard - it's not something extra-specially fluffy that AR are doing.)
No disrespect Anne but why is it published authors never discuss their advances or their commission.

Are you all doing a Del Boy - "No income tax, no vat, no money back or guarantee..."

Or is it so embarrassingly small you leave it hidden under a cloak of mystery. I know its private but if your in the public domain, earn from the public, I think it's fair for someone to ask.

If I was getting 50 or a 100k I would tell!
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Old 1st February 2012, 08:52 PM   #163 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

It's not very British to talk about money, is it? Do I ask what your salary is? And no, I'm not in the public domain. I have a right to a private life, and that includes my income.

50 or 100k - that would be a fine thing indeed. The average advance for a new SFF author is nearer 5k per book. I am very average
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Old 1st February 2012, 09:04 PM   #164 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

I'm only asking because this thread is about money. Feel free to ask me anything about my income. It's not a secret.

Not very British? We've just seen the Chairman of the Royal Bank have his salary pulled through the news and disected.

And you being average, I would doubt that
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Old 1st February 2012, 10:00 PM   #165 (permalink)
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Re: Published authors and percentage income

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How many sales in your best month, (apologies, but your not surprised I asked are you?)
Sorry, Gary. I'm too "old school" to give you the numbers. I was taught that it's unprofessional and a little vulgar. There may be new rules for self-published writers and perhaps they can do that sort of thing without reproach, I don't know, but I'm not about to change.

You can make of that whatever you will.

Besides, I think the only useful information is that my amazon numbers are much higher now than they were before, print and ebook combined. Of course I don't have all those bookstore sales, which were very nice. But times are changing. That's the point.
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