Posts Tagged 'royalties'

The Death of Traditional Publishers? Part 12: Unveiling A Business Model that Didn’t Exist – Until Now

I am about to take a huge and scary plunge. I’m going to reveal my secret.

During the past year I have been actively exploring the world of independent publishing. The reason is simple: while my writing itself has been praised, the setting of my American/Norwegian historical trilogy doesn’t fit into publishers’ “kilts & dukes” boxes. (See Jerry Simmons’ June 17th post here about “safe” trumping “new.”) So my choices were to:

1. bury the books, or

2. hope that the manuscripts I have – which DO fit the “boxes” sort of – sell to publishers, and generate enough interest that the publisher might take a risk on them, or

3. publish them independently and let them stand on their own.

With my agent’s blessing, I’m taking the trilogy directly to the readers. But the issue I have with 99.9% of self-published books is that they look… well… unprofessional. Cheesy. They use ugly or mismatched fonts, over-use bold lettering, or don’t have a sense for how a page should LOOK. It’s like these authors have never read a book!

But to be fair, so do some print-on-demand books from some established e-publishers! Editing there, too, is an issue. Because e-books are cheap, somehow that translates into shoddy work.

Readers deserve better.

So, I decided to find a way to give it to them: GOODNIGHT PUBLISHING.

I soon realized that I have no interest in getting in between an author and their royalties. Or an author and their rights to their books, for that matter! So Goodnight Publishing is NOT an actual publisher, per se. But it fills a need that no other company does that I know of. It begins with:

  • Manuscripts being evaluated by professional editors before they are accepted.
  • Once accepted, the author will either learn how to do all of the following tasks themselves, or take training classes through the Goodnight Publishing website ($15 per class per 30-day instructional window).

Authors are asked to:

  1. Sign up for a free account with Amazon’s Create Space – for their POD copies – procure a free ISBN through them, and determine the physical properties for their book(s).
  2. Format their manuscript per the selected properties, or have it professionally formatted (classes and/or references provided).
  3. Edit their manuscripts, or have it professionally edited (references provided).
  4. Design their own book covers, or hire a professional designer (classes and/or references provided).

Now, this is where the genius of Goodnight Publishing kicks in: when the book itself looks professional and the proof is approved, the author will be given permission to add the TRADEMARKED logo for Goodnight Publishing.

  1. The book now has Goodnight Publishing’s logo printed on the back, spine and the title page.
  2. Goodnight Publishing’s website address appears under the logo.
  3. All book covers will appear on Goodnight Publishing’s website.
  4. Readers who go to Goodnight Publishing’s website will see all the other authors “published” by Goodnight Publishing. Just like any traditional publisher’s site.
  5. For their first four books on the website, authors will pay $2 per month for one live link from their book cover, or $3 per month for two. (Their fifth book will be linked for free.)

These live links can send readers to the author’s website, Amazon or another site for purchasing, to YouTube for their book trailer (classes and/or references provided), their blog, etc. Wherever they choose. By being listed on a publisher’s site along with other authors, the author gains legitimacy in the eye of the reader. Readers don’t care where royalties go. They just want to be able to find more books.

More key points of genius:

  1. This business model exists to enable the independent author to present their works to readers in a professional manner.
  2. Authors retain all rights to their work.
  3. There are no contracts.
  4. Live links are prepaid for 12 months (renewable/non-refundable) and pulled when the payment expires. However, the cover stays on the site. That’s good for all of us.
  5. No manuscript will be refused or removed because previous ones haven’t sold well. Each book stands on its own.

Because – this process is not about selling books. It’s about authors linking arms to BUILD READERSHIP. Long term goals are realistic, overnight bestseller is not.

Goodnight Publishing will accept submissions from all genres, but I do confess an affinity for Historical Fiction and Romance.

Do you have a manuscript that you would like to take on this path? Are you willing to do the work? Then get ready:

Submissions will be accepted beginning August 1, 2010 at www.GoodnightPublishing.com

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An Off-Cycle Post RE: An Exchange with Romance Writers of America Regarding Shifts in Publishing

Being a wheel that simply cannot keep itself from squeaking, I decided to ask RWA to clarify its stance on “published.”

RWA has very justifiable qualifications in place before they will consider an author legitimately published. These guidelines are intended to protect authors from mills and vanity presses whose main source of income is the author’s own pocket. They prey on the hopes and dreams of new writers and are despicable in my view. No author published through this route is adequately vetted, can recoup their investment, nor will their book sell in any numbers.

That said, new avenues in independent publishing (e-publishing on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords with no-minimum-purchase, print-on-demand options for paperback copies) have opened up which are NOT the same sort of thing at all. So I went to the RWA site, copied out their criteria, added my own observations, and sent it off. Here is that email:

From: Kristin Tualla
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2010 7:08 PM
Subject: Question about Vanity Presses & PAN

My question specifically targets CreateSpace, Kindle, Smashwords & Nook. Here is what the RWA website says about qualifying for Pan (Published Authors Network) with my questions/comments in CAPS:

Eligible Novel: A work of Romance Fiction of at least 40,000 words (as determined by computer word count) that is offered for sale in a readable or audio format to the general public by a publisher, for which the author receives payment as stipulated in a written contract from a publisher WOULDN’T THIS BE THE ROYALTY AGREEMENT?

and for which the author does not participate in the costs of production in any manner including but not limited to publisher assessment of a fee or other costs for editing, preparation, and/or distribution. NONE OF THE PUBLISHERS I LISTED CHARGES THE AUTHOR ANY FEES TO PUBLISH THEIR MANUSCRIPTS. ZERO. ZIP. NADA.

A novel does not qualify if the publisher withholds or seeks full or partial payment or reimbursement of publication or distribution costs before paying royalties including payment of paper, printing, binding, production, sales or marketing costs. NONE OF THE PUBLISHERS LISTED CHARGE ANY FEES, NOR DO THEY WITHHOLD PAYMENT. IN FACT, THEY PAY FASTER THAN TRADITIONAL PUBLISHERS DO, AND SALES NUMBERS ARE IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE TO THE AUTHOR AT ANY TIME.

The work must not be exclusively promoted and/or sold by the author or have distribution that is primarily directed toward sales to the author, his/her relatives and/or associates. MY NON-FICTION CRAFT BOOK HAS SOLD 99% TO COMPLETE STRANGERS AND I EXPECT MY NOVEL TO DO THE SAME. THE BOOK IS PROMOTED ON MULTIPLE WEBSITES. THE PAPERBACK IS ON SALE IN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES, AMAZON.COM AND B&N.COM, AND THE E-BOOK IS ON THE PUBLISHER SITES LISTED ABOVE, PLUS GOODNIGHT PUBLISHING AS THE FIRST OFFERING FROM THIS LABEL.

So, can authors qualify for PAN using these publishers if they make $1000.00 in royalties a 12-month period? It seems to me that they should be able to, based on the criteria listed. Thank you for your time!

Their prompt and encouraging reply:

From: Carol Ritter
Sent: Friday, June 04, 2010 9:26 AM
Subject: Re: Question about Vanity Presses & PAN

Hi Kris,
Your email sent to RWA’s info@ email address was forwarded to me. Staff does not create policy, we merely follow the policies approved by RWA’s Board of Directors.  I will forward your email to RWA’s BoD today so that they may discuss your questions regarding Eligible Novel, Vanity Presses and PAN membership. Their next scheduled meeting is on July 26, 2010.
(Kris says: this meeting will be held at RWA’s Annual National Conference.)

Sincerely,
Carol Ritter
Professional Relations Manager
Romance Writers of America

And my reply to her, sent today:

Thank you, Carol!

There are – admittedly – some horrible presses that feed on the uneducated and charge authors $500-$4500 to “publish” them. These predatory Vanity Presses must remain excluded in the category created for them by RWA.

But with the rise of Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords (with CreateSpace or Lulu as the printer of POD paper copies) where the author is not charged any fees, publishing has shifted yet again. If an author uploads a manuscript – and makes $1000 or more in a year with royalties – it would seem that they should be considered legitimately published by RWA’s standards. After all, the public considers them published, and has spoken with their wallet.

I await the decision with an active blog’s worth of readers behind me. We are all curious as to what the ruling will be!

~~~~

So, readers, I will give you the response as soon as I received it. If you don’t already subscribe to this blog, please do so  – you don’t want to miss it!


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Authorpreneur Kris Tualla

www.KrisTualla.com

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