Questionable eBook Royalties

And the fun keeps on coming.

Thanks to Scott White, husband and manager of author Skyler White, who linked me to this post by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, I have something very important to discuss today.

As I mention in my book, New York publishers are working on a century-old business model, and it’s starting to hurt them in a big way, especially because of eBooks. Not only are they pricing eBooks way too high for the consumer, but they are also, it seems, cheating authors out of their eBook royalties. Now, I’m not saying this is intentional, as Rusch mentions in her article, this could just be because of out-of-date accounting practices. But, I’m here to tell you, I DON’T CARE, and I’m guessing the authors who are struggling to pay their bills don’t care about your in-house accounting issues either. Step up, NY. You’ve got the resources and the talent to catch up with technology. Stop hobnobbing at fine parties for a week or two, and catch up. You owe it to your authors. You owe it to your readers.

Just as consumers don’t care that New York publishers have large overhead, thus their reason for pricing eBooks at the same price (or near the same price) as their paper/hardback counterparts. Consumers care about their budget. Why would they buy an eBook for $9.99 when they could buy three at $2.99? This is why more and more self-published authors are being found, if they price their eBooks right. Someone will take a chance on an unknown author, especially because they can sample the first chapter for free. They can see if it’s well-written/edited before they buy the book. Consumers are figuring this out.

And in the mean time, publishers are under-reporting the eBook sales that they are making. Please read Rusch’s article in full, as it is sobering. Talk about harsh realities. Several authors claimed to have sold the *exact same number* of eBooks as others. Honestly, how likely is that? Also, their numbers are showing *less* than their book scan numbers. Please. Read that article.

This is so not okay.

Times are tight. For everyone. And New York Publishing is just making them tighter for too many their authors.

In the mean time, it’s the authors who are losing out.

If you are published with New York publisher, or even with an Indie, and they are handling your eBook sales, look very closely at your royalty statements. Talk to other authors and compare notes. Be sure you have your Author Central account on Amazon, because then you can keep an eye on your own sales, then compare that with your royalty statement. Contact your writer groups and lawyers, if need be.

They cannot get away with this.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. SL Clark says:

    This is nothing compared to the rest of Krisitine Rusch’s business posts, or even here: http://www.thepassivevoice.com/

    Right now is the most exciting time, and will cause untold HAVOC for those who continue their “do it for me” attitude. Writers, artists, musicians are creative, and the moment they want to SELL something, they are in business.

    1. christinerose says:

      Agreed. It is indeed an exciting time for independent artists of all kinds. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Brad Swift says:

    Interesting post (as usual). One point I’m not clear on: “Be sure you have your Author Central account on Amazon, because then you can keep an eye on your own sales, then compare that with your royalty statement.”

    I have one book through a publisher, and I can track the sales of the hard copies being sold but next to those figures it says: “Paperback (Excludes Kindle and other eBooks)”

    What’s this about? Is there a way through the Author’s Central page to determine electronic sales? If so, I’m missing it. Since I’m not the publisher this particular book doesn’t show up on my Kindle account.

    1. christinerose says:

      I think those kindle sales are only available through KDP. :/ that’s a very good point! I’ll look into it.

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