Friday, May 8, 2015
Author Earnings 1st Quarter 2015
Huge Howey is not only a best-selling author, he is also a prominent figure in the Great Publishing Market Disruption. He came to prominence via the Author Earnings Report published quarterly.
I've been silent on this subject for several reasons, most of them are family issues. But also because others have said it better. I enjoy blogging, and I enjoy charts, so I'm going to say a few words about the chart at the top of the page.
There is a trend, a very interesting trend, as shown in this chart. The purple line is the money earned by authors published by the Trade Publishing Industry, or the Big Five. The blue line under it is the earnings of Indie Authors. Notice where the two lines cross? That shows the extent of the (continuing) loss of earnings for authors who are Trade Published.
The marketing techniques that worked in 2010 with little effort are now an 80 hour a week, soul-sucking black hole. I gave it up and refuse to go back to it. But that doesn't mean I don't care what happens to others.
In brief: The Big Five fought with Amazon last year in order to stop Amazon from discounting the prices on their e-books. Amazon wants e-book prices to hover in the $2.99 to $9.99 sweet spot, so they discounted e-book prices at their own expense. The Big Five want to raise prices on e-books to discourage sales, with the idea that it's better to sell paper at brick-and-mortar stores, like they always have. This is known as 'the agency pricing model.'
As the Big Five raise prices under the "agency model" they have suppressed sales, their sales. So they trumpet that e-book sales (as a whole) have fallen by 8% and it's no longer The Growing Market.
Which is true, they've lost 8% of their market $ share to Indie Authors, plus their gross unit sales have slid a whopping 17%. I think a some of this is the fact that everyone who wants a copy of '50 Shades of Twilight' has one.
Now, if the gold diggers continue to drop out of the Indie Book Biz, micro-selling authors like myself might see a few more dollars come our way. We aren't going to see big bucks, because the Tsunami of Mommy Porn isn't going away any time soon.
Mommy Porn sells. '50 Shades of Twilight' made enough money to give the janitors of the Randy Penguin a $5k Christmas Bonus. But the Next Hot Book (of any genre) has yet to be found.
If there is to be any hope for micro-sellers, this is it. We need to get our Works In Progress finished and ready to go by fall. January is peak of the Reading Season, if your e-book is to have more than a snow-flake's chance in Hell, get it published in the fall of 2015.
I'm going to spend this summer selling paperbacks at every book-signing I can get to. My personal best month is August, which is the best time for me to launch a new book. This year, I hope to have 'The Emissary' trilogy finished and in paperback by October's Zombie Walk, here in E'town.
Wish me luck!