Thursday, November 15

Tucker Max's Advice: Become Your Own Publisher And Triple Your Royalties

Tucker Max's Advice: Become Your Own Publisher And Triple Your Royalties

Tucker Max writes:
I know how an author can triple their effective royalty. This is on the same sales, with nothing else substantively changing in any other aspect of their book. Same books (print and ebooks both), same bookstores, same placement, same customer experience, even the same publisher (sort of). (Attention, Authors: I Tripled My Royalties, and You Can Too)
This isn't just talk, Tucker Max tripled his royalties on his latest book, Hilarity Ensues. He went from earning about $3.50 per hardcover copy to earning $10.00.

Become Your Own Publisher


What's the catch? You have to become a publisher.

You might be wondering what's the difference between becoming a publisher and being a self-publisher. Tucker Max insists he is not self-published, but the way I use the phrase (though I prefer 'indie') I'd say he was self-published because he created and owned a publishing company (he has sold it) that published his book. But that's neither here nor there.

The important thing is that Tucker went from earning 15% royalties on each hardcover sale (7.5% on trade paperback) to nearly 50% per hardcover sale.

How did he do this? He struck a deal with Simon & Schuster which gave them 11% of sales in exchange for distributing his book.

Why strike a distribution deal with Simon & Schuster? Apparently there's one thing writers can't do themselves: Distribution of paper books. Tucker says:
That's really all big-6 publishers are good for. Printing the books, putting them in trucks, taking them to warehouses, getting them into Barnes & Noble, collecting money from Barnes & Noble, dealing with returns, and those sorts of things are difficult, if not impossible, for traditional authors to do, everything else you can do yourself. Either subcontract it out to freelancers or do it yourself. (Keen On… Tucker Max: How An Asshole Is Blowing Up The Publishing Industry [TCTV])

Paper Books Versus Digital


Most self publishers only publish digital books and print on demand (POD) paper books because of the hassle and expense involved.

And, unless you're assured to sell at least 250,000 copies of your book, Tucker Max advises authors NOT to go this route. Why? Because you'll have to pay up front for things like printing and distribution. You're assuming all the risk and that's why you're taking all the reward.

Unless you're already a best seller this strategy likely won't appeal to you, but it's something to keep in mind for when that day arrives. :-)

Thanks to The Passive Voice Blog for mentioning Tucker Max's article.

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NaNoWriMo update: I've written 27,010 words so far and hope to do another 2k tonight. That is, after I try out Jeffrey's way of organizing a story. :)

Other articles you might like:
- How To Write Every Day: Jerry Seinfeld And The Chain Method
- What's The Difference Between Paranormal Romance And Urban Fantasy?
- Using Excel To Outline Your NaNoWriMo Novel: Defeating the sprawl

Photo credit: "subway rush" Susan NYC under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

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