There is considerable buzz about Joe Konrath's recent post in which he told the bare truth about what the Big 6 are doing to traditionally published authors on royalties. After repeating a recent conversation with a NYT selling author he commented on the royalties:
The 25% the publisher is offering is actually based on net. So you're getting 17.5% of the list price. (Amazon gets 30%, they get 52.5%--which is obscene)
When your agent gets her cut, you're earning 14.9% of list price on ebooks.
Read the whole blog post. It is a must read for all authors, traditional or not. Joe does some great number crunching for a wordsmith. But let me repeat what I think is the salient bit of that comment.
It Is Obscene.
Let me revisit the thinking behind the DTB royalties. The 15% was originally devised so that after allowing for the substantial costs that publishers had in editing, cover art, promotion, blurb writers, shipping, storing, etc. that the profit would be split about evenly. The publisher got about half. The person who produced the thing--the author--also got about half.
Under the Big 6 eBook set up the big hog at the trough, the publisher, gets almost all and the one who produced it--the author--gets a pittance.
Do we have a serious problem here? Let me answer my opinion on that. Yes.
My question, frankly, is why are so many authors putting up with it?
The times, my friend, they are a-changing. I suggest that we change with them.