Hard facts about hard cash

Please welcome Edie Ramer who has some interesting information about self publishing. I know she'll surprise you with what she has found.

A big thank you to Mary for having me as her guest today. As an indie author, with Cattitude http://edieramer.com/books/ so recently out, I’ve been asked how much money I’ll make per book. I can tell people that’s 70% per book from Amazon (if it meets certain criteria, which mine did). Or if someone buys directly from Smashwords, it’s 85%.

I wasn’t able to tell people more, because that’s all I knew. That’s not good, because I should know how much money I’ll be getting. It’s a business, not a hobby. One of these days, I hope to make decent money. I’m looking forward to the time when I have to pay a lot of taxes.

That means I’m making a lot of money.

I was happy to see this post by Mike Shatzkin http://www.idealog.com/blog/the-other-comparison-ebook-royalties-versus-ebook-self-publishing giving numbers and percentages and showing them in examples of dollars and cents.

Here’s what he said:

“Smashwords pays authors 85% of the sales price for ebooks sold on its own site, and about 85% of the receipts for sales made through iBooks (Apple), Sony, B&N, Kobo, and the Diesel eBook Store. In other words, an author would get more than three times the “old” standard 25% ebook royalty offered by the big publishers and double the “new” possible 40% royalty implied as the new ceiling by the Random-Wylie agreement announced last week.”

In other words, because Smashwords gets 15% for formatting and distributing, your net is 85% of the following percentages:

B&N, Sony: 42.5%
Kobo: 46.75%
iBooks, Diesel: 60%

I’m charging $2.99 for Cattitude (less than the cost of a cup of coffee!). Here’s the breakdown of what I’ll get per seller:

Amazon: $2.04 (they charge 6 cents for delivering to the buyer through Whispernet)

Smashwords: $2.54

Barnes & Noble, Sony: $1.08

Kobo: $1.19

iBooks, Diesel: $1.55

Compare that to what Shatzkin says an author would get from an e-book sold as an ebook by a print pub:

On a $9 list-price ebook, the author would be getting $1.125 from a wholesale publisher and $1.575 from an agency publisher at 25% royalty; $1.80 and $2.52 at 40%.”

I hope your eyes aren’t crossing, because there’s more. This is what Joe Konrath said in the comments of this blog https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=11291165&postID=4781617604822572566:

With a $7.99 paperback, you're getting a tangible item that can be put on a shelf or resold. The cost of that item compensates the artist, the publisher, the distributor, the bookseller, and all the overhead and costs along the way. The artist earns 64 cents on a $7.99 paperback.

On a $2.99 ebook, the item is intangible. It has no resale value. There are no costs for printing or shipping or warehousing.

Yet the artist earns $2.04--more than three times the royalty for a paperback.”

After you comment, go and read that blog. It’s an eye opener in other ways.

It sounds like I’m bashing print publishing, and I’m not. I love print books, and many of my friends are print writers. But now that I have my Kindle, I’m more likely to buy on it because of the convenience. And, yes, sometimes it’s cheaper. (Not always. I bought Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden on my Kindle. It’s $6.99 on Amazon in print or e-book or if you bought it at a store. But I love her writing, so I bought it anyway.)

And would I sell to a print publisher? Oh yes. In fact, hell yes! But I’m not as needy as I was before I self pubbed. I won’t come to the table hungry. The terms would have to be good for me to say yes.

This isn’t my usually perky blog, but I hope it was informational. Feel free to ask questions or to give your opinion, pro or con. My feelings won’t be hurt.

Edie Ramer



Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=747112424


  1. Karin* // September 9, 2010 at 1:01 AM  

    Edie, I purchased CATTITUDE from Amazon the other day. I'm so enjoying it! Thank you for putting much needed smiles on my face!

    Karin* Tabke aka Harlow!

  2. Mary Marvella // September 9, 2010 at 1:12 AM  

    Joelle Charbonneau commented on your link.

    Joelle C wrote:

    "Hi Edie! Thanks for the information. E-books and the opportunities they provide are both confusing and fascinating. Can't wait to see what you think of the journey as it progresses. Keep us posted. And I can't wait to
    read your book:) Best of luck!!""

  3. Mary Marvella // September 9, 2010 at 1:13 AM  

    Hi, Karin!

  4. Barbara Monajem // September 9, 2010 at 7:59 AM  

    Hi, Edie. My eyes may have crossed but I read it all anyway. Thanks for all the info.

    Would you please give us a blurb about your book? The cover is just great and so is the teensy blurb on it... so now I want to know more. :)

  5. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 8:49 AM  

    Karin, you know I love you! I'm so happy you're enjoying it!

  6. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 8:51 AM  

    Joelle, I'm glad that I could clarify it. And thanks for the best luck wishes!

  7. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 8:51 AM  

    Mary, thanks again for having me hear today. It's always fun at Pink Fuzzy.:)

  8. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 8:53 AM  

    Barbara, thanks for asking! Here's the blurb:

    It’s all in the Cattitude . . .

    After Belle the cat switches bodies with a psychic on the run from a murderer, she wants her perfect cat body back instead of this furless human one. But she doesn’t count on falling in love with her former owner. Or that a CEO and a beauty queen want to use up her nine lives. Now is her chance to prove anything a human can do, a cat can do better.

  9. Donnell // September 9, 2010 at 9:47 AM  

    Edie, are you already tracking sales or is this premature, I've bought Cattitude, and can't wait to get started. I'm up to my eyelashes in grids, however, so bear with me!

    I think it's also important to note that Cattitude was an award-winning book that didn't fall into a particular mode or vision. You are taking the book to the readers so they can decide, and I so admire you for your decision to do that.

    You're a force to be reckoned with and I expect great things.

  10. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 9:57 AM  

    Donnell, yes, I am tracking my sales. I should have written down what I'd sold in Amazon before the month changed. Because once it does, the number starts all over again. I'll remember that next time.

    Thanks for your support! I'm so glad that you and my other writer friends have my back. :)

  11. Liz Lipperman // September 9, 2010 at 10:48 AM  

    Following you on your blog tour, Edie. This money thing is so interesting to me. In an earlier blog, I asked the question, "How important is an advance anyway?"

    Although self-marketing is always important, it's something that has to be really emphasized when you self pub.

    And you're on the right track.

    Here's to making Amazon and Smashmouth's BS list!!

  12. Angi Morgan // September 9, 2010 at 11:26 AM  

    Can't wait to read CATTITUDE. It's amazing how much you'll be making per book.


  13. ArkansasCyndi // September 9, 2010 at 1:58 PM  

    I bought Cattitude from Smashwords on the day it was available. I've started it and really enjoying it!

    Good luck. Can't wait to hear how you do.

  14. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 2:04 PM  

    Liz, so far I've been blogging for friends and people I know. I realize I need to go on other avenues. I've said this before, but the one really nice thing about e-pub is that you don't have to do everything right away. You can build your readership.

  15. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 2:05 PM  

    Angi, thanks. Actually it's depressing how little print writers are getting per book!

  16. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 2:07 PM  

    Cyndi, I'm so glad you're enjoying Cattitude, and really appreciate your support. GIAM is the greatest group with the greatest members!

  17. Mary Marvella // September 9, 2010 at 2:57 PM  

    Doing great, Edie! Welcome GIAM ladies!

  18. Mary Marvella // September 9, 2010 at 2:57 PM  

    Doing great, Edie! Welcome GIAM ladies!

  19. Mary Ricksen // September 9, 2010 at 3:12 PM  

    There is a lot of self publishing going on with a many of the big authors, who lost their contracts with places like Kensington.
    I'm all for ebooks for sure, I read all of it, but probably understood 25% it. I am so impressed Edie, you really are up on this stuff!

  20. Patrice // September 9, 2010 at 3:25 PM  

    Excellent information, Edie. I'm also wanting to go this route with at least one of my books. Was it hard to do? I'm a bit techno challenged.

  21. Judy // September 9, 2010 at 3:31 PM  

    Fascinating, Edie. Everything is in such a state of flux no one can have enough information! Good luck with Cattitude! Love the title!

  22. Beth Trissel // September 9, 2010 at 3:44 PM  

    My eyes are still crossed but thanks!

  23. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 4:23 PM  

    Thanks, Mary!

  24. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 4:23 PM  

    Mary, I didn't understand it at first. It took awhile.

  25. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 4:25 PM  

    Patrice, a friend put my book up in Smashwords and Amazon. But my next book I'll do myself. I'm technically challenged, but it doesn't look too hard. If I do it before you, you can email me and ask my advice.

  26. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 4:27 PM  

    Judy, the title came easily. After all, I live with a cat who has Cattitude.

  27. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 4:28 PM  

    Beth, you're welcome!

  28. Autumn Jordon // September 9, 2010 at 5:21 PM  

    Edie, This was eye opening. Lot a food for thought. Yes, please come back and keep us informed.

    Thanks for sharing.

  29. biancaswan20 // September 9, 2010 at 6:02 PM  

    Thanks Edie for the helpful information on a changing market and a business in upheaval - publishing.

  30. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 7:06 PM  

    Autumn, I'll be happy to come back> I always feel welcome here.

  31. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 7:07 PM  

    Bianca, the information helped me figure it out. It's the first time I used the calculator on these figures. lol

  32. Scarlet Pumpernickel // September 9, 2010 at 8:32 PM  

    Edie, interesting information. The thing is, until the big publishers realize they can't put the same price on the intangible product they do the tangible, they are going to miss a lot of sales. I have difficulty paying $9 or more for an ebook. The entire system will eventually have to be revamped. You're a brave woman, Edie Ramer!

  33. Edie Ramer // September 9, 2010 at 11:49 PM  

    Scarlet, I don't think I was brave. The more I've learned about digital self publishing, the more it felt like the right thing to do. It was an easy choice.

    And I agree about the price. I've bought 2 books for full price. I really wanted them and I'm not near a bookstore, so I did buy them at full price for Kindle. But I wished they were at least one or two dollars less. Ridiculous!

  34. Joanne // September 10, 2010 at 4:18 PM  

    Very, very interesting blog, Edie. Thanks for sharing!

  35. Edie Ramer // September 10, 2010 at 7:43 PM  

    Joanne, the more we know, the better choices we can make.

  36. Barbara White Daille // September 11, 2010 at 9:16 PM  

    Edie - thanks so much for sharing the info.

    With all the pros and cons floating around about alternate methods of publishing, it's great to have some solid facts.

    Good luck with Cattitude--may it hit all the bestseller lists!


  37. Edie Ramer // September 11, 2010 at 10:53 PM  

    Barbara, I really appreciate your support. Thanks!