Much like what happened to the recording industry in the early aughties, the publishing industry is finally having to confront the full force of the internet…
And also like the digital music revolution, there are wildly different theories about how all those 1s and 0s will change things. Will ebooks destroy the publishing industry? Will already starving writers have to tighten their belts? Will ebooks destroy the written word itself?
These are the kinds of BS questions that the publishing industry hopes will keep you up at night, and even better, keep you buying hardcovers.
But the real questions should be: What the hell’s so great about the way the books are published? What percentage of an ebook sale actually goes to the author? And, what benefits can a publisher actually offer?
Look, I’ll be the first to say that the prestige of landing a deal with a major publisher is still the holy grail for most authors. But those big advances and promotions are few and far between — more so now than ever.
Publishers really only want you if you’ve already got an audience. They don’t like taking risks, and they certainly don’t want to shell out any money to promote a book that they’re not sure will sell.
Basically, if you’re name is Oprah or Stephen King, they’d love to read your manuscript. If not, they’re not interested… So how’s an aspiring writer supposed to make a name?
You’ve probably already guessed what I’m about to say: Ebooks.
The exciting thing about ebooks is that they’re not just an avenue for self-promotion, there’s an already a very well established market for ebooks that generated over $2B in 2011, more than doubling 2010′s total.
Here are a couple more things that most people don’t know about.
- Publishers don’t promote your book anymore.
- Authors usually get a measly 10% of sales in a traditional publishing deal.
Ten percent!?! It seems crazy right?
Why would you write a book and give Random House 90% of sales when they’re not even going to promote your book? Answer: Prestige, pedigree, and elevation — all good reasons.
However, it doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out that 70% of a $2.99 ebook on Amazon is more than 10% of a $14.99 hard cover…
So who exactly are ebooks hurting?