Saturday, June 4, 2016

Author Earnings Report, Sneaky Money Grabs

by Marsha Ward @MarshaWard

March was going so good, with two posts, but April and May went by so quickly that it's now June. Sheesh.

Indie Authors have so much to watch out for: Money. It is coming in from sales of our products? Contracts: Are we aware of how things can go wrong, even in the Indie world of publishing?

Of course there are tons of other things to concern us, but since I have two blog posts from others that I want to spotlight, I'll go no farther on worries and concerns. Maybe later.

Some two years ago, an author named Hugh Howey and a number cruncher known only as "The Data Guy," teamed up "to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts." Their website is called Author Earnings, and shines quite a light on money matters for not only Indie Authors, but the entire publishing industry.

The team has steadily produced quarterly reports of data they've gathered ever since. The May 2016 Report has just been released.

While it's true that I sometimes drown in all the numbers and graphs, I've learned that if I take it slow, digesting the information bit by bit, I understand it much better. I recommend the reports for your enlightenment.

What about contracts? Do we Indie Authors go, "Contracts? We don't need no stickin' contracts!" Huh? Do we? Probably.

We may not need contracts with agents or publishers, but do we sign audiobook contracts, contracts with cover designers or image vendors, contracts with editors, or contracts for box sets?

For several weeks, I've been following a series of blogs that Kristine Kathryn Rusch has been writing each Thursday about contracts, and why Indie Authors need to think about them and avoid certain pitfalls that should always be deal-breakers. She's not writing to Indie Authors alone. She's doing a stellar service for all writers, including new writers, who so often don't think much about the contents and clauses in a contract before they happily sign on the dotted line.

Here's a link to the entire series from the get-go. Scroll down to begin at the beginning. Put on protective clothing, as you may find yourself scared enough to ________ (you fill in the blank).

If you like Kris's advice, consider dropping some coins into the hat on your way out.

Thanks for reading!

Marsha Ward is the author of the acclaimed historical series "The Owen Family Saga" and other novels set in the 19th Century. See her website at

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