Sunday, January 26, 2014

Where Is the Money?

Most people think authors make a lot of big bucks, but it's not true.  The majority of published author's may not even make minimum wages.  You think I'm kidding; well, I'm not laughing. 

This is a discussion many authors were having a few weeks ago on a Yahoo loop I belonged to.  It started by someone reading a blog about where the money is.  I can't remember the author's name now, but the story about the money wasn't pretty.  She was an author with one of the big six publishers. 

Many of you probably didn't know if an author gets money up front for their book they don't get royalties until the publisher makes enough sales to cover the amount they paid the author.  If they don't sell enough books; the author could end up having to pay part of the money back.  It all depends on what is in their contract.

E-publishers came along and after a few years the big 6 publishers wanted in on the action.  They tried to make their contracts for e-books the same as print books, which is about 5 to 7% depending on the contract negotiated.  E-publishers were giving way more and many name authors decided to keep their rights for e-publishing their books and self-published themselves. 

Some e-book authors have been making good money and even a living with their writing, but with the big name authors joining our ranks it's not easy.  Those authors who have a large following are beating out the new authors.  They are too much competition for many mid-list and e-book authors. 

There are thousands of people joining the ranks of author by self-publishing instead of waiting for a publisher to read their manuscript and accept it.  Many readers aren't willing to take a chance on a new author unless the book is really cheap, or even free.  They have reason to be afraid because some author's work hasn't been edited before publishing.  

Many published authors I know work a full time job.  If it weren't for the fact my husband and I are retired with pensions, social security and other investments I would have had to go back to work with what I make. 

It costs to be an author.  Any money, I make goes into promotion, websites, ink, paper, computers, conferences, etc.  The money goes back into the business.   Of course, some day, I expect to write a classic like Gone with the Wind, and that book will outlive me.  Grin!  While I'm alive there is always hope.  Like my husband says, "Follow your dreams."
 
Have a great week, and I'll see you next Sunday.  Thank you for reading my blog.
 
Sandra K. Marshall
 
 

17 comments:

Ailyn Koay said...

I don't believe that shakespeare made a lot of money out from his plays either.. but he sure is famous

Sandy said...

lol Thank you, Ailyn. You are certainly right my dear. Many authors weren't famous in life.

Kari Rogers Miller said...

Thanks Sandy for writing about what has always appeared to be a taboo subject (before e books) One aspiring to be an author could never pin down the bottom line! As the old song goes....I can see clearly now!
Me

Sandy said...

Thanks for coming by, Kari. It's a tough business much like aviation.

Victoria Reese said...

I had to chuckle at this. My last royalty check (it was a final check from a publisher who closed down) was for thirty cents. Yep. You saw that right. I just looked at it and laughed. Big money? Yeah. Right! LOL

amber polo said...

Hope this helps readers understand that most free books aren't really a gift from a wealthy author, they're samples with a lot of hopes attached.

Melissa Keir said...

I agree that it's been a taboo subject. No one knew what authors made and in many cases it wasn't talked about because of the nature of society. I grew up hearing that talking about money was scandalous. People didn't do it.

Being an author is a challenging job. So is being a teacher. Both won't pay you tons to do it and both require patience. Guess I'll be happy when all is said and done. I've done what I wanted and impacted lives.

Thanks for posting Sandy.

The Comeback Kid said...

Nice post Sandy. I think a lot of us authors do ourselves an injustice when we give away our work. I know it's called promotion, but as a reader, why pay for something you can get free. Just look at all the free ebooks available. I could read for free for five lifetimes.

darkwriter said...

Great post Sandy, and so true. I know many authors, published by some of the big publishers that have to work full time, or one who had to move so expenses were much less so she could continue to write.
Writers write because we love to tell our stories and hope people enjoy them - not for the money.

Sandy said...

Oh no, Vicky. I knew it was bad, but that's even worse.

Thanks for coming by, Amber. It's a shame most authors can't make a living doing what they love doing.

Thank you for stopping by, Melissa.

Sandy said...

You're right, Tom, and I'm rethinking giveaways.

Sandy said...

Darkwriter, I really appreciate you coming by and leaving your comment. People need to know some authors are trying to pay the bills with their books.

Jill James said...

Sandy, great post. I do free because I hope someone will read that book and say, "let me go see what else she has." That is the hope, anyway.

K.T. Bishop said...

I'm so glad you did this topic. Everyone thought when I had a book out, that I'd make a lot of money. I laughed in their faces

Sandy said...

Jill, that is always the hope when you give something for free. Thanks for your comment.

K.T., I know exactly what you mean.

Amber Skyze said...

I'm currently working 2 full time jobs and writing isn't one of them. The money just isn't there, like it was a few years ago...but even then it wasn't enough for me to quit the one job I had.

Sandy said...

Oh no, Amber, I'm so sorry. I've read some of your work and your writing is excellent. What a shame. Like I say, there's been a lot of writers I've known who gave up who were so much better than I am. I hope you hang in there, Amber.