Workshop 21: Understanding Ebooks
Rick Acker (right) cited statistics: Ebook sales are skyrocketing and have doubled from last year. For example, Thomas Nelson’s fiction sales are currently 35 percent digital as opposed to 5 percent a year ago. Marcher Lord Press’s ebook sales now outsell print by a ratio of 6-to-1. Mary Demuth’s ebooks outsell all her print titles combined.
Is electronic self-publishing right for me?
Agent Steve Laube (right) noted that many are asking whether agents and publishers are still needed. He suggested that “it depends.” An author, who’s also an entrepreneur, might succeed if given a platform, good sales skills, and a high-quality product. If the author lacks any of these factors, self-publishing in the digital world probably won’t work out well financially. Entrepreneurs are the perfect ones to try self-publishing. If they sell 5–10 thousand copies, it will be easy to interest an agent, who might then interest a print publisher.
Will I get a return on my investment?
Not many authors are able to give up their day job, said Cara Putman (right), in order to self- or e-publish. From a publisher’s standpoint, advantages include “no returns” and no incremental costs to put out the book.
Before Kindle, ebooks were tied to a print royalty-rate percentage when the contract called for release in both forms. For ebooks, royalties might run 12 percent of net. The publisher might offer 25 percent on contracts. Laube said he’s tried to push beyond 25 percent of the book’s net price and obtain escalation clauses in contracts, but so far, publishers don’t want to get with the concept.
Since production costs are identical, minus printing, it’s hard for publishers to know where the profit line is. When print runs go down, costs per unit go up. Authors can expect a print house’s contract to offer 25 percent of net price in e-royalties, though some houses figure royalties differently. For example, Love Inspired’s terms are 4 percent of the cover price.
The electronic self-publishing world may become quite lucrative for authors.
The electronic self-publishing world may become quite lucrative for authors. Some arrangements, such as with Amazon, give authors 70 percent of a book’s cover price. While authors still must get good editors and cover designers, e-self-publishing can be a smart choice.
The publishing times, they are a’ changing. Stay tuned for further developments.