This one time at Writer's Camp…
Someone asked me not too long ago about where to buy my book from so I would get the bigger royalties. Well, outside of buying it directly from me (yes, I still have a few copies left) there’s Amazon, B&N, Borders, various ebook stores, etc.
But royalty rates vary depending on where you buy the book from. I’ve got a pretty good deal with Twilight Times right now regarding my royalty rates. If someone buys it directly from the publisher, I get more. From Amazon, I get less. So naturally you would think that I’d be pushing for people to go to my publisher’s website and buy a copy from there. I bet more than… three of you are ready to bolt over there now.
Not so fast.
Just because the publisher pays me better royalties doesn’t mean you should immediately order. What can you afford? Is shipping more or less with them? I’d feel guilty as hell if you starved your children just to buy my book. Flattered, true, but guilty as well. And if you can get it cheaper elsewhere (and buy more than one book at a time), it’s actually a lot better to buy it from a discount place, so long as you’re buying in bulk.
Let me explain.
Say you’re buying 10 copies of Corruptor for various people this Christmas. You’re the really giving sort and buy it directly from the publisher, since that’s how you think I’ll get more royalties out of it. That comes up to a hefty $199.90, not including the shipping. Because royalties say I get a certain percentage of a direct sale from the publisher, let’s say I would get 20%. So that’s roughly $40 in royalties. Not bad, you might say. I could take myself out to dinner or something with that.
However, if you buy it at a discount, I’d only get, say, 15%. Oh noes! But… you’re buying it at a discount, so you think “I know some other people who might want a copy”. So you end up purchasing 15 copies of Corruptor from Amazon, who happen to have it discounted for $15.50. That comes out to $232.50. That’s more than you were anticipating to spend, but you did the math and realized you would get free shipping from Amazon for the purchase. You and 14 other people are happy with the book, and I’m happy with my royalty check of $34.87 and my rising sales figure. That $5.13? I’m not sweating it, really.
In the end, I want the consumer (YOU!!!) to be happy. Paying out the nose for my book is kind of you, but I’d rather see bulk sales. That leads to more interest, name appearing elsewhere (like bestseller lists… just saying) and more bookstores shelving my books. More print runs will ensue, and my publisher will love me because I am moving so many of my books. And small press publishers need support and love, so why not take one little author and turn him into a tin god?
I won’t complain about that, either. Well, for about two minutes, when it’s clear people want a sequel to the book and I’m still rewriting it.