Monday, May 28, 2007

Writing life

Yesterday I skimmed an author message board and one response caught my eye. Promotion services offered at the bargain rate of fifty dollars a month. Seemed high to me for the scope of the product, but I digress. The established author who answered thought the price too high also. Especially considering how few authors make fifty dollars a month.

What a disappointing admission! I figured like all publishing, e-publishing paid very little to the eager throngs crowding their inboxes while there are a few fat cats at the top and a hard-working elite layer that does okay. So I was not flabbergasted by the dash of cold water reality. But definitely discouraged. The lady who posted the message has multiple titles on offer and is published with half a dozen of the top e-publishers.

In another group message board three of the members are published by the same e-press. My guess is their earnings are negative. In addition to the e-publication of the story, most opt for the additional POD (print on demand) set up fee, plus purchasing copies of the books for resale or keepsakes -- who knows.

I thought e-publishers were the 21st century equivalent of small independent presses and magazines, which provided the starting point for last century's beginning authors. Maybe they are and I failed to take into account getting published at all is an honor - I shouldn't expect other compensation.

Before you all write me off as terminally stupid, I researched fiction writing before embarking on this venture. I found out the odds are long and the earnings small and most get discouraged and fall out of the rat race. There are superstars who receive six figure advances for each book. There is a secondary layer of hard-working mid-list authors who make a living. Then there is the bottom rung -- a teeming mass of fringe writers who've gotten published but either didn't get an advance or failed to earn it back.

Strangely, I failed to find much information on e-published author earnings. I'm thinking more e-published authors need to share their information with Karen Fox Show Me The Money report. What do you all think?


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