Sunday, May 6, 2007

Royalties Screwed

This here is the book. There she is. All 55 pages of her.

Want to know how much I make on this book, which retails for $25.65 on Amazon.com?

Not. One. Red. Cent.

That my name is on a cover of a book, no matter how many changes I still want to make on it, is still kind of gratifying. But don't let anyone lie to you and tell you non-fiction is more "stable" or you can make more money at it. Just because the books cost more doesn't mean the author gets paid more. In my field, a book will be contracted for somewhere around $1,000, $2,500 if you're going for middling to top talent, or, as in my case, it may just be authored in-house by the editors. That amount doesn't have royalties attached - it's a one-shot deal. Seeing as I was an unknown author, all of 21 years old, and not even out of college yet, AND that I worked for the company, I'm not even going to tell you how much I got paid to write this baby. What was kind of nice is that I did get to do a lot of things an outside author doesn't get to do. I had a lot of influence over the images in the book - because I was our company's photo researcher. That ultimately most of the images were pulled from the same Civil Rights event still grates on me, but hey, I did find some cool photos. I got to write my own captions and sidebars and timeline and index, which usually the editor would do. I got to request my own maps and graphs. I got to touch it hot off the proofing press.

Still, I get awfully frustrated when I see it on Amazon.com, retailing for $26.00. It's in schools and libraries in California and New York, and probably other places that buy educational books from ABDO. I get frustrated because I have to hesitate every time I want to buy a copy of my own book, because in real life, I don't make enough money that $26.00 isn't something to think about, and I got one gratis copy. There is no author discount for me if I tried to buy it through ABDO. I get it from Amazon.com, just like everybody else.

I call this book my life lessons book. Never sell yourself short.

-Mel

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