Jude Hardin

Author, Drummer, Turtle Whisperer

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Location: United States

Friday, July 08, 2011

What's Your Number?

Over on the Kindle Boards I just saw the announcement by self-published author Mark Edwards that he and his co-author Louise Voss have signed a four-book deal with a major publisher. Here's the press release:

HarperFiction have moved quickly to snap up internet sensations, Louise Voss and Mark Edwards, whose two self-published novels have stormed both the Amazon Kindle and the Amazon Books chart. Catch Your Death, their second novel, has remained at the top of the Kindle chart for weeks and sold 42,000 copies in the month of June, while Killing Cupid, their debut, remains in the Top 10. The authors have sparked huge interest, appearing on BBC Breakfast, Sky News, Radio 2 and Radio 5, along with numerous newspapers and sites including BBC News, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

Kate Bradley secured World Rights for four books with a six-figure pre-empt from the agent Sam Copeland at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

Bradley said ‘When Killing Cupid and Catch Your Death were submitted, I ripped through them in just a few hours and it was clear that we had found something very, very special. Louise and Mark have done a fantastic job of publishing their own books in the digital space and I’m thrilled that we are going to take them to the next level, both in terms of their ebook profile and in the physical market. They are writing clever, fast-paced, psychological thrillers that are highly addictive and we can’t wait to get these out into the wider world.’

The first book Catch Your Death will be published as a physical edition in early Spring 2012, while the ebook editions will continue to sell online.

"Six figures" doesn't really tell us much, but for the sake of argument let's just say they're getting $999,999. World rights for four books, two of which are already top sellers as ebooks on Amazon. Is it worth it? What dollar number would a publisher have to come up with for you to sell the rights to four books?


Blogger David Gaughran said...

Good post Jude. But I'm not telling you my number. That will cost you.

5:43 PM  
Blogger David Gaughran said...

You're right though. Everyone should work out their number.

If you don't you might get dazzled by the offer. You need to put a number on what you are giving up.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks, David. A high six-figure deal would be life-changing for a lot of people (myself included), but these folks sold 42,000 copies of a single title in June alone. Six figures for FOUR of their books just seems low to me. Maybe they negotiated a really good royalty rate for ebooks.

6:01 PM  
Blogger David Gaughran said...

Then again, they are selling their book for £0.95 in the UK, which is where all their sales are, which is around 33p or 52c a copy.

I'm sure they are also aware that e-books are only around 10% of the market in the UK.

A print deal can bring them a LOT of new readers.

6:06 PM  
Blogger David Gaughran said...

I don't know the details of their deal, but there have been several cases recently in the UK where individual agents were able to improve the 25% net on e-book royalties.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

A print deal can bring them a LOT of new readers.

Good point. I see their Amazon rankings aren't nearly as impressive here in the U.S.

6:19 PM  
Blogger David Gaughran said...

They haven't broken out yet in the US at all. Those rankings of 20k or so have been pretty constant.

Saffina Desforges is the same. Nearly 100k books sold this year. Nearly all in the UK.

If either of those can break out in the US, where the market is 10 times larger, the sky is the limit.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Mark Asher said...

The ceiling is higher with traditional publishing and money in hand is a nice thing.

I know Konrath is all about self-publishing, but would he have turned down $500,000 for a two book deal from St. Martins? I'm still surprised Eisler did.

Konrath likes to project income based on many years of steady sales at a 70% royalty rate. We have no idea if that is going to last.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

And I think the "other piece" of it is . . . do they WANT to deal with all that is involved with self-pubbing? There is an element of whatever deal that means distribution and editing and covers, and some of the promo, and PR and so on is handled by other people. I think the name of the game is what's right for an author is what suits them. There are way too many people (!!!) passing judgment on other people's personal choices. (Such as when Hocking signed her deal.) I have a release with Penguin this December. I adore what Jabberwocky has done for my middle grades. I'm securing the rights to 14 of my backlist titles and will Kindle-pub them. It's about flexibility for me.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

I think the name of the game is what's right for an author is what suits them.

Absolutely. I would take a deal like that in a heartbeat, but then I'm not selling 42,000 ebooks a month on my own.

What might end up being a good compromise for people who don't want to handle everything themselves is an agency who works as an "e-stributor" and charges the author 15% of royalties earned. That's a much better deal than publishers currently offer. I've actually submitted something to my agent recently with an arrangement like that in mind.

1:44 AM  
Blogger Cathryn Grant said...

I'm a bit late to this discussion, and I don't like to reveal my number either, but it's the number that would allow me to quit my day job.

We all have a number, don't we!

7:46 AM  

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