Don't give up your day job ...

Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
edited November 2018 in General Discussions

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  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    edited November 2018

    Terry Pratchett was unable to afford to give up his day job until his 4th top-selling novel.

    TP was a brilliant comic fantasy writer! I'm surprised it took so long for him to give up his day job, but I guess being a professional author is not the easiest job to follow. Fortunately it worked for TP.

    Sir
    Terry Pratchett
    OBE
    Pratchett at the 2012 New York Comic Con
    Pratchett at the 2012 New York Comic Con
    BornTerence David John Pratchett
    28 April 1948
    BeaconsfieldBuckinghamshire, England
    Died12 March 2015 (aged 66)
    Broad ChalkeWiltshire, England
    OccupationNovelist
    GenreComic fantasy
    Notable worksDiscworld
    Good Omens
    Nation
    Notable awards
    SpouseLyn Purves
    (1968–2015; his death)[1]
    ChildrenRhianna Pratchett[1]
    MENU
    0:00
    Recorded May 2008 from the BBC Radio 4 programme Bookclub
    Website
    terrypratchett.co.uk

    Sir Terence David John Pratchett OBE (28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015) was an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. He is best known for his Discworld series of 41 novels.

    Pratchett's first novelThe Carpet People, was published in 1971. The first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983, after which Pratchett wrote an average of two books a year. His 2011 Discworld novel Snuff became the third-fastest-selling hardback adult-readership novel since records began in the UK, selling 55,000 copies in the first three days.The final Discworld novel, The Shepherd's Crown, was published in August 2015, five months after his death.

    Pratchett, with more than 85 million books sold worldwide in 37 languages

    TP called himself a humanist. I used to call myself a Christian humanist. Now I just say I'm a humanist.

  • TP was a brilliant comic fantasy writer! I'm surprised it took so long for him to give up his day job, but I guess being a professional author is not the easiest job to follow. Fortunately it worked for TP.

    Royalties from trad publishers are not very high. He was one of, if not the best, observational commentators of the 20th and 21st centuries weaving almost everything in to his stories. He seemed to miss nothing that was going on in the world, or had gone on, and satirised it, and not always with humour, because some things are not funny.

    Even people who do not like fantasy should read him.

  • Royalties from trad publishers are not very high. 

    Well...yes and no.

    Typical royalties from a traditional publisher can range from 10% to 12% of the cover price of a book. This means that the author would get from $1.00 to $1.20 for every copy sold of a $10 book. This might not sound like all that much when compared to the markup a Lulu author can add to the price of a book. But there are a couple of important things to take into consideration.

    The first is the advance. Short for "advance against royalties," this is an upfront payment made to the author. Depending on the nature of the contract, this might be a flat amount paid upon signing the contract or it might be split into two or three payments, each contingent upon some stage of the work being completed. For instance, 1/3 might be paid upon signing, another 1/3 on receipt of the first draft MS and the final 1/3 upon completion of the final MS. Part of the idea of advances is that they help keep cover the author's living expenses while the book is being completed.

    "Advance against royalties" means that no royalties are paid to the author until the publisher recoups the original advance by retaining the royalties that are due. Once this happens, the author begins receiving additional payments. However, even if the book never sells a single copy, the advance is theirs to keep even if the book never sells a single copy. 

    Now, while the royalty per book from a traditional publisher may sound low, this can be made up for by sheer volume, which is the second point to consider. Your $15 Lulu book may include a 33% royalty of $5 to you, which sounds great...but if you only sell ten copies that gives you a profit of just $50. Which, of course, is nothing to sneeze at. On the other hand, the traditionally published book may offer only a 10% royalty---$1.50---for every copy of a similarly priced book, but because of the publisher's marketing, advertising and distribution resources they may sell, say, 1000 copies. That would be $1500 for you.

    To take just one example of what I am talking about, a book I worked on that came out in October, 2017 has averaged 35 copies sold every single day since. It is perfectly possible for a self-published book to do this, but I suspect that it would have to be a full-time job for the author, who would not only have to be able to invest the time to promoting and marketing his or her book but the resources to do so as well. A great many authors have been able to do this and do it with some considerable success, there is certainly no doubt about that. But, by the same token, they would have had to bear the losses if the book failed to do well. At least in the case of the traditionally published book all of the risks are borne by the publisher.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Typical royalties from a traditional publisher can range from 10% to 12% of the cover price of a book. This means that the author would get from $1.00 to $1.20 for every copy sold of a $10 book. This might not sound like all that much when compared to the markup a Lulu author can add to the price of a book. But there are a couple of important things to take into consideration.

    According to what's on the internet, many publishes pay out on the Price Received, which means a percentage (which many places say are often between 8 and 10%) of what they sell a book for, not the retail value. Then an agent often takes around 15% of that 8 to 10%. Then there's always taxes.

    The first is the advance. Short for "advance against royalties," this is an upfront payment made to the author. Depending on the nature of the contract, this might be a flat amount paid upon signing the contract or it might be split into two or three payments, each contingent upon some stage of the work being completed. For instance, 1/3 might be paid upon signing, another 1/3 on receipt of the first draft MS and the final 1/3 upon completion of the final MS. Part of the idea of advances is that they help keep cover the author's living expenses while the book is being completed.

    It also ensures the writer fulfils their contract .


    Now, while the royalty per book from a traditional publisher may sound low, this can be made up for by sheer volume, which is the second point to consider. Your $15 Lulu book may include a 33% royalty of $5 to you, which sounds great...but if you only sell ten copies that gives you a profit of just $50. Which, of course, is nothing to sneeze at. On the other hand, the traditionally published book may offer only a 10% royalty---$1.50---for every copy of a similarly priced book, but because of the publisher's marketing, advertising and distribution resources they may sell, say, 1000 copies. That would be $1500 for you.

    Indeed, and I often say that to self-publishers too. What's better? £5 each earned from the sale of ten books, or £1 each from the sale of hundred books? In other-words, don't be greedy when adding profit to Cost. (Pod books are expensive enough to start with.)

    To take just one example of what I am talking about, a book I worked on that came out in October, 2017 has averaged 35 copies sold every single day since. It is perfectly possible for a self-published book to do this, but I suspect that it would have to be a full-time job for the author, who would not only have to be able to invest the time to promoting and marketing his or her book but the resources to do so as well. A great many authors have been able to do this and do it with some considerable success, there is certainly no doubt about that. But, by the same token, they would have had to bear the losses if the book failed to do well. At least in the case of the traditionally published book all of the risks are borne by the publisher.

    Indeed, but in a way, it is a puzzle why Mr Pratchett did not think he dared give up his day job until he was receiving the proceeds from four top selling novels!

  • Indeed, but in a way, it is a puzzle why Mr Pratchett did not think he dared give up his day job until he was receiving the proceeds from four top selling novels.

    You will have to attend a seance and ask him that.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • 35 copies a day for a year? I dare to dream
    Tim Reinholt Author of Pow, a ski bum heist adventure
  • Reach a happy medium?
    When people say, "Strike a happy medium" it makes me think that spiritualists should never smile.
  • Seamus said:
    35 copies a day for a year? I dare to dream
    Don't we all. :)
  • DysonLogosDysonLogos Bibliophile
    Thanks to my Patreon I was able to quit my day job and turn the publishing of my books into a value-added service for my fans instead of a primary income stream. It changed everything for me since 2013.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    At first I thought that was a typo, but did you mean this? >>> https://www.patreon.com/ I don't see how it can work for writers.
  • At first I thought that was a typo, but did you mean this? >>> https://www.patreon.com/ I don't see how it can work for writers.
    This is how it works https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patreon
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Yes, I did read the site, and I can see the advantage for web content. One of my sons watches people who stream computer games on line, for example, and if people like them, they donate cash. I still don't see how it applies to those who write fiction in book form. Then again, being British, it goes against the grain to be self-promoting, even for donations.
  • DysonLogosDysonLogos Bibliophile
    edited March 5
  • DysonLogosDysonLogos Bibliophile
    Personally, I do Dungeons & Dragons content (maps and adventures), so it is slightly different, but as it stands the lion's share of my income from this has been due to Patreon where I get roughly $3,500 a month.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Just looking at the first example, she uses many methods of self-promotion, and one wonders which method came first?  Was it these advantages first or something else?  John W. Campbell Award winner, New York Times Bestseller. There seems to be no dates on her Patreon auto-biog (which seems to turn in to a blog about her cats and house!) 

    The second example, I actually own three of her books. Hugo winners in fact (gifted to me and not read yet) and I also wonder why she is also using such a site when her first posting says this >>  I've been nominated for the Nebula and Hugo so many times that I'm starting to lose count. I've won the Locus Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award and I'm currently on the New York Times Notable Books list.

    Why would she also need to go cap in hand to such a site. I don't get it. Surely the site is for people who are not well-known and already selling many books?


    The third example? No idea, their page there seems to be private, but at least one of their books is free on Amazon.

     It does sound interesting though. To get 'paid' while writing fiction I mean.
  • DysonLogosDysonLogos Bibliophile
    "Surely the site is for people who are not well-known and already selling many books?"

    No. That's like saying that Kickstarter is only for launching first-time projects by unknown or small-time companies.

    It is part of a comprehensive approach to marketing your work.


  • TheJesusNinjaTheJesusNinja Teacher
    edited March 9
    Many people I know on Youtube use Patreon. People use this service or PayPal to donate to these people for the info they offer on the live streams. Most that I watch are live PC computer builds and Authors who have channels to help people who are getting into the business. I know a few that make their entire living off Patreon from their live streams.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    No. That's like saying that Kickstarter is only for launching first-time projects by unknown or small-time companies.

    But that's exactly what it is, and it says it is and why it is called that, and many who use it are not companies at first.

    It is part of a comprehensive approach to marketing your work.

    Not as such, it's a way of getting finance donated to kick-start projects and ideas. One of my sons often gives money to some.
  • DysonLogosDysonLogos Bibliophile
    "But that's exactly what it is, and it says it is and why it is called that, and many who use it are not companies at first."

    Except that no, it isn't.

    The majority of successful kickstarters these days are not by "first created" creators, but by companies working on "22nd created" and so on.
  • DysonLogosDysonLogos Bibliophile
    Sorry, I broke a basic cardinal rule of interacting on here in a meaningful and helpful manner, which is to never engage with the BS you spout as facts, Kevin.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    "But that's exactly what it is, and it says it is and why it is called that, and many who use it are not companies at first."

    Except that no, it isn't.

    The majority of successful kickstarters these days are not by "first created" creators, but by companies working on "22nd created" and so on.
    You are right. Nowhere can I find where Kickstarter says it is limited to specifically designed for "unknown or small-time companies."
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Sorry, I broke a basic cardinal rule of interacting on here in a meaningful and helpful manner, which is to never engage with the BS you spout as facts, Kevin. 

    I was reading its remit as I typed ...
  • DysonLogosDysonLogos Bibliophile
     I know a few that make their entire living off Patreon from their live streams.
    From 2014 through 2017 I made essentially all my income from my Patreon. Publishing dropped to 5% of my monthly revenue except in months where I was involved in a "humble bundle" type product.

    In 2018-2019 Patreon remains my primary income source, but my freelance work has picked up to the point where it makes up about 35 to 50% of my income.
  • Still buying my own books! Do you have to pass on to get rich I wonder?
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