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Rebels at RWA

Well, rebel that I am, I was off at the digital publishing rogue workshop being held at National rather than the opening breakfast. Totally bummed to miss hearing Janet Evanovich, but with digital publishing being such a hot topic, I wanted to hear what people had to say. So, here’s a little run down. Any and all errors are mine and sorry for abbreviating it to bits.

    Cassia Krozier from Booksquare missed and Quartet Press: Spoke about Contract rights:

  • Make sure to know where you’ve granted digital rights.
    Some publishers going to royalty based on Net of what they receive.
    Amazon 9.99 is really making an impact of what publishers are able to get for e-book
    Discussion going on as to whether to release e-book at the same time as print book.
  • Jane Little from Dear Author: Google book settlement – in a word – lots to consider and many many issues that authors need to consider. More on this later, but recommendation is to please speak with your agent to see how it affects you.
  • Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches: Self-publishing – An e-book by an author. Hundreds of hours to lay it out. Having multiple formats for digital. Editing costs and photoshop costs plus getting books published in print. 100 books – 5500 roughly. Then cost of getting the digital version ready – about $3000. No cost per book because it will depend on how many books are sold. In print, roughly 27 for the print book. Digital version was 437% less. But why do it yourself since digital publishers already have this in place.
  • Angela James from Samhain Publishing: Digital business model has been the source of controversy, but the main difference is that there’s no advance. In last 5 years, there’s been an explosion of digital publishers. Digital publishers don’t offer an advance because at the start, there weren’t a lot of people reading digital content. So there was a limited audience. Also, as more people started reading, some of the digital publishing was for more out-of-the-box content – the niche markets – an offering a place to publish. To do this, they knew not every book could sell and there is a cost to publishing. By not having an advance, it allowed for different genres, etc. to be published. In lieu of an advance, you got a large royalty rate from 35-45% of the cover price. Most people made from 1 to a little over 3 for a book, so 100 books might get you is $360. More than through printed books.

    From the publishing end, publisher pays $35 to the author. Then there are payments to people who are selling your book – distribution rights. Each of these charges a fee to distribute. Costs can be anywhere from 40 to 75% of the cover price, usually 40%. Now there are payments to editors, cover art, website fees, copyeditor fees, marketing, promotion, travel expenses, etc. With total overhead, it ends up that the probably about 5% goes back to the publisher. Not all publishers are like this, but this is just an example of costs for digital publishers.

    Why not offer advances? Because not all authors will make the $1000 advance but some make in the six figures, so it varies enough that it’s not possible to pay it to all authors. So why do digital publishers do this? Because they think there are books which deserve to be published. One example is BUTTERFLY TATTOO by Deirdre Knight which involves a story line where the hero had once been in a male-male relationship and now is in a heterosexual relationship.

    How does a digital publisher know when to not release more books and cannibalize their releases? They watch what they are doing and balancing how many books to not eat into their own sales. Samhain does 5 books a week. What they look for is sales on break out authors and how their sales are doing and they look at a lot of things to not become an author mill.

It was a great workshop and I learned a lot about what’s happening.

After that, off to the Goody Room to drop off promo items for FURY CALLS and SINS OF THE FLESH.

Next was a lunch meeting with my Harlequin editor and agent. We had a lovely discussion over lunch about digital publishing, my books and all kinds of fun things. We went to a Middle Easter restaurant close to the hotel, but it was 90 degrees 90% humidity in Washington!

Back to the hotel and another meeting with my other editor and her team which also went really well. Then some running around and meeting friends and new people before going to a wonderful meet and greet with my agent and her clients and a wonderful dinner with Grand Central Publishing.

Here’s some more highlights from the day:

Lillian Fogg meeting Janet Evanovich after the opening breakfast:

Rayna Vause, Wendy La Capra, Caridad and Sue McGee:

Jenna Kernan and Caridad:

Nancy Herkness and Caridad: