Surma tribe kid with flowers decoration – Omo Ethiopia a photo by Eric Lafforgue on Flickr.
Unless a publisher can provide strong marketing and distribution, I cannot see where they have earned 75% of royalties from electronic book sales.
In the past, when books only came in hard/paperback, publishers could justify their actions in that they paid the bill on having copies of our books printed up.
Now with Amazon stating that Kindle sales of books out number those of hard/paperback 150:100 publisher must rethink the service they are providing authors.
Authors too, must become more business savvy.
We authors must also ask why do we still look for a publisher’s affirmation of our work when in the end they give us very little support, if any, but are ready to take such a large percentage of our royalties on a format that costs so little, if anything, to create.
The idea that you are not truly published unless a publisher has signed you on is a false belief that plagues many of us.
And then there are those of us writers who want to have nothing to do with the marketing and publicity of our work.
Every successful business person I know of achieved their success by placing themselves at the very center of what they were selling.
Writers must do the same.
Another way of looking at this is by wondering just what might have happened if 2 decades ago we authors had taken charge of marketing ourselves and distributing our work.
Two possibilities come to mind:
We’d be negotiating directly with Amazon,
(in my wildest dreams) we would have created our own on-line company/store that sells books much like Amazon, i.e. there’d be no Amazon for books.
Our dependence on Amazon.com as the largest on-line distributor of books in a world where people are buying more electronic formats of books is tenuous at best.
Amazon’s focus has never centered on selling just books.
For this reason, and due to rising middle class economies in South Asia and China, authors need to consider and create serious plans for managing the electronic distribution of our work to not simply American consumers but those across the globe.
Publishers seem to have missed this boat and/or feel it is beneath them to address this issue.
Perhaps this is our time–that of authors taking charge of both the artistry and financial aspect of that into which we pour so much of our heart and soul.