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PostPosted: December 31st, 2003, 10:47 pm 
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Joined: December 31st, 2003, 10:31 pm
Posts: 63
I just like to say that I think this board is very informative and well-managed. I am a former owner of a message forum, and I'm impressed with the way this forum is operated.

I have a regular day job unrelated to journalism or writing as a profession, and choose to pursue my creativity as a hobby. I am almost finished with my first novel, a family saga, and have started researching avenues with which to someday get my book published.

I am relatively "green" when it comes to the publishing industry, but plan on learning the ins and outs quickly so I have a better idea of where all the "players" are coming from in regards to the publication process. I'm still unsure if choosing the traditional route is the way my book should go, or if I'll utilize some aspect of self publishing namely POD.

My first question to the members and visitors of this forum is this: Why are royalties so damn low? If you consider the traditional route, a percentage of 10% seems the norm, yet some POD publishers are only offering royalties in the areas of 15 to 25%. Does it really take anywhere from 75 to 90% of the wholesale price of a book to make one's creation a reality and a visible presence in the marketplace?

Again, I'm new to the publishing side of writing, but am eager to learn everything I can. Any help would be appreciated.


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 Post subject: royalties
PostPosted: January 2nd, 2004, 4:17 pm 
Well, I can't answer your question completely, but I can offer one observation. Most of the people who self-publish, and end up disappointed, end up that way because they grossly underestimated the time, effort, and expense involved in selling and distributing a book. They thought that their book was reallly good (who doesn't?) and that nothing more than word of mouth would be needed for it to sell by the tens of thousands. Nope. Sorry. Doesn't work that way.

Is the expense of selling and distributing really enough to justify the low royalties? I don't know. I just know that it's a lot more involved than most people assume.

As you research further you will also find out that self-publishing is rarely profitable for fiction authors. Especially so for first-time authors. Practically all of the real success stories in the world of self-publishing are non-fiction books.


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PostPosted: January 2nd, 2004, 6:48 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2003, 9:28 pm
Posts: 278
I also cannot answer fully, but I will add that it may be a lot like the pharmaceutical company too. When you pay $200 a month for a prescription, you are not just paying for that drug -- you are helping them get back their costs for all the drugs they spent money developing and testing that did not success. It may be the same with the book industry. They have to make enough money to pay the staff salaries, even though only a percentage of their books are successful.

I do know that there are a lot of people involved in each and every book from the editors all the way to the person who gets the book into Barnes and Nobel. It's not an easy or an inexpensive process.

I don't really think of the royalties as being all that low anyway. I spent one summer writing two supplemental school textbooks about five years ago and now I do nothing but cash a few thousand dollars in royalty checks each year. Had I self-published, I would have to sell the books myself which would be a very demanding job.


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PostPosted: January 3rd, 2004, 11:31 am 
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Joined: December 31st, 2003, 10:31 pm
Posts: 63
Thank you for your help; it is greatly appreciated! :D


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