A Word on Commissions

Tina L. Hook, author of Enchanted by Starlight, offers insight into the “paycheck” side of writing. This message was excerpted from WriteonEdge.com:

So how do traditional authors get paid anyway?”

[Author Amanda] Hocking was making 70% commission on her [self-published] books priced at $2.99 and over, and 30% on her books priced at 99 cents. It was hard to understand how books with such low price points could be competitive with the traditional publishing houses charging $12 and $15 a pop. Uncovering the real numbers, however, was shocking. First time non-established authors (meaning you are not a celebrity or don’t have a built-in audience) are generally offered a commission of 10% or less. That means the $10 paperback you bought on sale at the bookstore could have potentially netted 60 cents to a dollar to the debut author. Surely mass distribution to mega-stores from a traditional house means more books get sold, and that dollar commission hits the register many times over. Still, 10% versus 30%, or even 10% verses 70%, puts the upside potential of self-publishing into perspective. Add to that the cost of marketing and travel that many authors are paying out of their own pockets, and it is easy to see why self-publishing is becoming more attractive.

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