As an author (or the agent for an author), consider these two possible scenarios for publishing a non-fiction ebook:
- Scenario 1 : Self-publish on Amazon at £3.99 and receive a 70% royalty on 50 copies per week.
- Scenario 2 : Publish via Crux Publishing at £5.99 and receive a 40% royalty on 100 copies per week.
Amazon and its sponsored bloggers do a wonderful job of promoting Scenario 1, especially when it comes to pulp-fiction ebooks selling for less than £1.99. Many would-be authors (or their agents) are seduced by the notion of having complete control over their book and earning a higher royalty rate, but the truth is a little more complicated…
Self-publishing on Amazon puts all the risk and responsibility on the shoulders of the author. They must pay someone to edit the manuscript, produce the ebook files, design cover artwork and manage their US tax registrations. Alternatively, they can do all this themselves but it’s a rare author that is truly able (or even wants) to edit, code and design like a dedicated professional, to say nothing of the headaches of trying to negotiate US EIN tax registrations on their own.
After spending time and money to make their ebook available on Amazon, most authors will then experience the deafening silence of no sales, no reviews and no royalties. Hundreds of self-published titles are added each day to Amazon, making it almost impossible for a quality work of non-fiction to stand out. Thousands of Tweets, Facebook updates and blog posts are created every day by authors diligently trying to build a network of followers but professional reviewers and independent blogs are often loath to consider self-published titles.
If an author’s measure of success is to understand and control the entire publishing process, then Scenario 1 is a good choice. However, Scenario 2 offers the following for authors wanting to maximise their earnings and to minimise the amount of time spent on tasks other than writing:
- Crux Publishing distributes via Amazon, Apple iBookstore, Kobo and Barnes & Noble. Amazon is certainly not the only ebook retailer in town and a wider distribution means more potential readers (and thus more sales).
- Crux Publishing markets its ebook titles proactively and using innovative techniques. Authors need to have their own online presence but a publisher is able to open marketing doors unavailable to self-published authors. Also, a well-marketed ebook is able to command a higher price point than a self-published title.
- Crux Publishing produces the ebook files in multiple formats and commissions high-quality cover design. Experience matters and we know what works well when it comes to promoting a book through its artwork.
Most significantly, the author earns 70% more royalties under Scenario 2 while completely avoiding the costs of ebook production, artwork design, etc required under Scenario 1:
- Scenario 1 : Self-publish on Amazon at £3.99 and receive a 70% royalty on 50 copies per week = £7,250 royalties per year
- Scenario 2 : Publish via Crux Publishing at £5.99 and receive a 40% royalty on 100 copies per week = £12,450 royalties per year
So next time you read an article or a blog raving about the success of self-publishing via Amazon and the death of publishers, take it with a big pinch of salt and look further than just the headline royalty rate…