Sometimes little birds speak to me at this blog. The latest nugget that dropped in my lap concerns the Writers Union of Canada, a great organization that provides its members with contract advice and more.
What surprised me is that apparently the Writers Union believes a 17% royalty on the retail price of an e-book is a fair royalty, even though the author will only net $1.70 on a $9.99 novel.
Now what I don’t get is that any author who indie publishes their novel on Amazon at $9.99 will get the 70% royalty on the retail price, which means we’re talking about $6.99 per copy sold.
How can the Writers Union think that $1.70 on the retail price is fair compared to $6.99? I understand that a publisher doing a print run is adding a lot of value to an author’s novel by getting the paper copy out into the Walmarts and Targets of North America. That’s actually good advertising for an e-book, and I can agree that the publisher should earn a nice cut of the e-book sales as a result, but I would suggest that the author should at least receive 40% of the retail price, so $4 bucks on a $9.99 novel. That still leaves the publisher picking up $3 bucks a copy, and they don’t have to hire a truck driver or pay for ink each time an e-copy sells.
I know I’m just dickering about numbers here, but the spread is big, which is why I’m shaking my head in disbelief at the Writers Union.
I tried to confirm this stand at the Writers Union website, but my search only produced some out-of-date warnings about e-book publishers offering only 10% of net. I’m not a member so I can’t ask advice myself.
My source, however, is very reliable.
So I’m left to wonder: when will the Writers Union change their tune? Because they will. They can’t live in the past. Their members won’t let them.