Notes from Rogue Digital Seminar

There are other summaries of the Rogue Digital Seminar at RWA (not by RWA) out there, but here are my notes. 

Kassia Krozer: Changing Business Model

Royalty structure has to change: publishers cannot pay % on $26.99 cover price when booksellers sell $9.99. Move toward royalty on net.

Be careful with territorial rights for ebooks: if in English but not available everywhere then are losing sale.

Authors must pay attention to business side of things, worry about more than just writing the book. How are you getting paid? Future options include chunked content. Ask publisher, if breaking into pieces and/or distributing outside of usual “book” format, how is author being paid or compensated for this use? [Not necessarily paid, compensation may be in other format, such as increased marketing budget via chunked content that would otherwise not have gotten out of publisher.

Tech piracy – drm is bad. When deciding on format for e-release, consider the reader, because if a reader has to update the program constantly, the reader will walk. DRM doesn’t deter piracy. 

Reversion of rights for traditional print. Line shifting on what is 
"out of print" be very careful.

Jane Litte: Google Books Settlement summary
Monopoly effect on orphan works (in copyright but holder unknown)
Covers books in print Jan 09
63% of profits paid to book registry then to publisher less admin fee 
no timeline set @ registry’s discretion
Disputes settled by arbitration
Talk to agent not publisher, bc conflict between author and pub
Section 5.3
Revenue models, need to opt out if disagree
Subsriptions paying for access not ownership – institutional and 
consumer
Ad revenue
Per page printing fees

Sarah Wendell
Walk-through of the costs of self- publishing print vs digital. Numbers given by author, believe the walk-through was the subject of a post on SBTB.com, or maybe were posted as a comment to a post on self-publishing and digital rights. [Sounded familiar.] Ultimately: publishing costs are same until decide format.  Going with a digital publisher rather than self-publishing probably better because they have have process already.

Angela James: Digital publishing model

Digital publishing has been around since 90s, but recently has  exploded. Easy to open an e-publishing house but quality varies, so be careful about who you submit to.

Creating an e-publisher takes capital investment.   But still no advance? Historically, not large audience and not mainstream, worried about selling through advance.  Instead did higher rate of return $1.20-3.00 per book via 35% royalty rate.

Why not advances if digital publishers are so profitable? Profit margin standard (like most corporations, regardless of size), despite booming business.

·         35% royalty

·         40-75% distribution costs

·         5% editor royalty

·         Flat fees for cover art, website maintenance, formatting, copy editing, marketing.

·         Not a huge amount left for profit, varies per publisher but maybe 5%.


Some books make only dollars while others thousands. Varies widely. Need to sell 750-1,000 books in order to break even. Not all books do, so higher sellers do sometimes support lower sellers. Can and do publish books because believe they should be published, not because they expect to earn out. (Ex: Butterfly Tattoo)

Panel/Q&A: Perspective of authors who are NY & epubbed simultaneously

Take-aways: 

·         Became PAN-eligible based on e-format sales, within 2 months

·         Majority of sales in the first week or so of release, but have a tale of sales

·         Earned out beyond the traditional advance amount with each book Still earning on digital backlist, love Kindle.

·         Appreciate the monthly paycheck of the digital publishing model, increased communication, compressed timeline, crossover readers, more autonomy in writing less to market.

Sony Reader giveaway (Katiebabs won!)

Booksonboard.com giveaway for all attendees

Birthday cupcakes from Hello Cupcake for Kassia

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