Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Hugh Howey

Author Earnings ~ “…Turning of the Tide…?”


I’ve posted before about Hugh Howey‘s initiative Author Earnings.

Here’s the site explanation

“Our purpose is to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts. This is a website by authors and for authors.”

Today’s post will share a few of the highlights from Author Earning’s October Report

“During the five short months since May, it seems that indies have somehow lost their market share gains of the preceding 18 months. This has been counterbalanced to a limited extent by a slight uptick in traditionally-published unit sales: both Big Five and Small/Medium Traditional Publishers have each gained roughly 1% in market share. But most of the lost indie market share seems to have instead gone to Amazon Imprints, who have gained a whopping 4% in market share.”

Might be hard to believe; but, that’s not as bad as it may sound…

“Despite the Big Five’s slight uptick in unit-sales market share, their share of consumer ebook dollars has continued to drop—albeit less steeply than in previous quarters.”

And…

“…the biggest recent winners seem to be the Small/Medium publisher authors, whose share of total Kindle author earnings has surpassed 20% for the first time.”

Taking the link to the October Report will give you a huge amount of information and speculation…

For non-link-takers, I’ll finish with:

“We have no idea whether this reversal represents the new normal—no clue at all whether what we’re seeing is a single-quarter blip before the previous relentless market-share shift toward non-traditional ebooks resumes; or whether we are seeing the true beginning of a turn in the digital book tide.

“But regardless, if you’re a traditionally published author of longstanding tenure, this change is probably good news.

“On the other hand, if you’re a relatively new traditionally published author or traditional publishing aspirant, the news is a whole lot less exciting. Because it seems the benefits of this recent increase in traditional ebook market share are not being felt equally by all authors…”

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#AuthorEarnings ~ Are There Any?


Sure, folks with lots of money can buy their way into the BookWorld and sometimes make a killing.

Author Earnings

Image Courtesy of José A. Warletta ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/jwarletta-34460

Then, there are the very few authors who happen to land a publishing deal and continue to make a decent amount of money.

Still, most writers make very little

But

Between “most” and “the very few” there are “lots” of authors doing fairly well.

Enter author Hugh Howey and his anonymous “DataMagician” who have been raising a ruckus about IndieAuthor earnings.

I did a post last year with lots of links to their various studies—Author Earnings and What’s Really Going on in the Book World.

Today, I’ll share some info from their latest report—May 2016 Author Earnings Report: the definitive million-title study of US author earnings.

They begin with:

“Data in the publishing biz is hard to come by. Without widespread sharing of data by retailers, publishers, agents, and authors, we are all left like the blind to describe different parts of the same but seemingly disjointed elephant. Two years ago, AuthorEarnings released its first report on a new part of this elephant: E-book sales on Amazon.com. Our report stirred controversy, as it described a formerly unseen world of publishing data.”

They then reveal:

“So for this report, we went deeper. Instead of just looking at Amazon’s bestseller lists, we had our spider follow links to also-bought recommendations and also through each authors’ full catalog. This resulted in a million-title dataset, our most comprehensive and definitive look yet at author earnings. We were able to tally up precisely how many indie authors, Big Five authors, small/medium press authors, and Amazon-imprint authors are currently making enough from Amazon.com sales to land in a number of ‘tax brackets’.”

And, no matter what you personally feel about Amazon, they do sell an amazing number of books (and diapers…).

Here’s a breakdown of what they captured info on:

Nearly every single Kindle book selling 1 or more copy per day. (98.5% of them)

90% of all Kindle titles selling at least 2-3 copies a week

81% of all Kindle titles selling 1 or more copy a week

64% of all Kindle titles selling 2 or more copies a month

32% of all Kindle titles listed in the Amazon US Kindle store.

There’s lots of analysis of the numbers from their latest data-exploration in the full article; but, I’ll share a bit of what I consider important:

“…the Big Five’s year-long plummet in overall ebook unit sales appears to have finally leveled off, leaving them with roughly 23% of Amazon’s ebook unit sales.”

“…every author who debuted anytime in the last century and is currently accumulating income at a rate of $10,000 a year or more from their Amazon US sales alone….almost 9,900 such authors”

“…Almost half of those 9,900 authors also appear in the $25000-or-better bracket…”

“…over 2,500 authors…are currently earning at a living-wage run rate — $50,000/year or more — from just their Amazon sales.”

“1,340 authors are earning $100,000/year or more from Amazon sales.”

And, just in case you wondered:

“On Amazon alone, the data shows over a thousand indie authors earning a full-time living right now with their self-published titles.”

However, doing a little math with a few of their numbers, it seems there are over 300,000 book sales a day on Amazon—and, my best intuitive guess is that somewhere around 100,000 authors are selling those books (which should mean there are many more authors selling none)

I think we’re still able to say most writers make very little

And, if you want to do a little self-therapy on why writers continue to work at writing and attempting to sell their books, check out my past post—Selling Books Is Hard. ~ So, Why Do Writers Keep Trying?
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Author Earnings and What’s Really Going on in the Book World


This blog says its purpose is doing “Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing”.

Today’s post will be really heavy into the Publishing side.

But

If you don’t care about such stuff, just scroll down in the left side-bar and find the Top Tags area—then, click on “Reading” or “Writing” or any of the other tagged collections of posts

Here are just a few more particularly interesting collections:

Author Interviews

Behind The Scenes

Friday Fantasy

So, back to the topic in the title of this post and looking into the Book World’s goings-on by giving credit to Hugh Howey and his initiative, Author Earnings.

I got an email from Author Earnings this morning and they gave me a nice list of links to quite a few of their past reports on the Book World.

I’ll share those with you

Top 7,000 E-books in Three Bestselling Genres

Barnes & Noble Report

85,000 of the Bestselling Books Across All Genres

How Newer Authors were Faring Compared to Their Longer-tenured Peers

The Effect of DRM and Genre Across 120,000 Titles

The Size of the ISBN-less “Shadow Industry” that Remains Completely Uncounted in Official Publishing Industry Statistics

The Effect the Return to Agency Pricing has had upon the Market Share and Sales of the Big Five

And, their latest report:

How the American Association of Publishers’ 1200 participating publishers’ market share has trended, and whether their declining 2015 ebook sales are representative of the direction of the broader US ebook market

If any of you actually go to all those links and check them out, Please let me know in the Comments ’cause you are a Rare Person :-)
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Self-Publishing 101 ~ “What’s It All About?” & “Where’s The Money?”


I’ve written about 200 posts on my blog about Self vs Traditional Publishing over the last three years.

Self-Publishing 101

Image Courtesy of Rae Grimm ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/bloodylery

Even if you read all my posts and the many other articles I link to, you’d still need to read much more to fully understand what’s going on in the book world…

However, many writers, due to the relative ease of self-publishing, read a bit, prep their manuscript, and publish—usually learning by this method how not to do it.

But, they’ll take what they learned and do it again; with, perhaps, more success.

Yet, the reality of the book world shows that most writers (Self or Traditionally published) sell less than 500 copies of any given book…

I’m going to share two videos with you, one centered on “What’s It All About?” and one exploring “Where’s The Money?”.

However, these videos are nowhere near complete answers to those questions—though, they could get you started asking the right questions for further research.

Other resources for exploration are all the posts I’ve written about Self-Publishing—just scroll down the left side-bar and look for the Top Tags widget—since I’ll be tagging this post that way, it will be the first one you see when you click the Top Tag “Self-Publishing”—just scroll down again :-)

So, “What’s It All About?

Full Sail University had a panel discussion about Self-Publishing.

The panelists were:

Kim Craft
Course Director, Entertainment Media Publishing and Distribution

Wes Locher
Creative Writing BFA student, Independent Comic Writer

Bill Thompson
Course Director, Mobile Marketing and Commerce

Matt Peters
Course Director, Publishing & Distribution

 

Now, “Where’s The Money?”

This video is a Google Hangout with best-selling author Hugh Howey, who created the site Author Earnings:


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Is “Literary Fiction” Just Another Genre?


I ran into a thorny patch of articles that speculate on why literary fiction authors don’t self-publish.

Self-Publishing Literary Fiction

Image Courtesy of Mikhail Lavrenov ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/miklav

My first question was: Where are your statistics?

It’s so common for folks who write about books to draw their arguments from the straw pile of narrowly-focused opinions.

I’ll list 5 links to an intertwined set of articles discussing the supposed fear of “literary fiction” authors—they won’t ever be published because the Big Houses won’t pay them enough and they don’t dare self-publish

I don’t expect the readers of this blog to follow those links but I feel I need to have them as references, in case my own opinions in this post draw serious doubts.

First though, here’s a definition of “literary fiction” (don’t feel bad if it seems to not make much sense…):

Literary fiction is a term principally used for certain fictional works that are claimed to hold literary merit.

Despite the fact that all genres have works that are well written, those works are generally not considered literary fiction. To be considered literary, a work usually must be “critically acclaimed” and “serious”. In practice, works of literary fiction often are “complex, literate, multilayered novels that wrestle with universal dilemmas”.

Literary fiction is usually contrasted with paraliterary fiction (e.g., popular, commercial, or genre fiction). This contrast between these two subsets of fiction is highly controversial amongst critics and scholars who study literature.

Let’s not forget that the meaning of “Genre” is:

a kind of literary or artistic work

It seems to me that those critics and scholars want a type of fiction that rises above all other “kinds” of literary work because they have “acclaimed” it and judged it to be “serious”.

I’ve read “literary fiction” that seemed to me to be insipid and tortuously self-contained—hardly wrestling with universal dilemmas; more like whining about over-valued pet peeves

And, I’ve read “genre fiction” that met every qualifier of that “definition” of “literary fiction”.

So, just before I list those links—the impassioned discussion about what I consider to be a non-issue—let me give you a few quotes from an article by Hugh HoweySelf-publishing will save literary fiction (I think Howey is using “literary” in the sense of “well-written” and dealing with “universal dilemmas”…):

“What goes unsaid but seems implied in the message that literary works will die without a publishers’ support or bookstores in which to shelve them is that we write literary works for the pleasure of publishers and bookstores.”

“Artists have relied on the largesse of patrons for centuries. Increasingly, those patrons will become the general public.”

“Soon (this is already true for many) self-publishing will be seen as the purer artform. No tampering with style or voice. No gatekeeper. No need even for monetization.”

So, here come those 5 links to the articles about why “literary fiction” authors don’t self-publish—please only read them if you want an education in how “issues” can be created from “imagined” “facts”—imagining that a few authors and a few critics can set some “standard” for what should be considered “literary”:

Genre lines: Why literary writers won’t self-publish

A re-post of the above article—interesting for it’s 63 comments

From bestseller to bust: is this the end of an author’s life?

UK publishing and those poor struggling writer people

Why Literary Writers Have Not Yet Made the Transition to Self-Publishing

Hoping for a few Comments, even if you’ve decided to not follow those 5 links :-)
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