You publish for niches. Sales for niche books are iffy and depends on how well the launch goes as to how many copies it will sell. Some of you are pushing books for 99 cents on Amazon, and at 35 cents per book royalty, it takes a lot of book sales to make your return on investment. You expect, however, that if you price it right you will.
Then there are the others who price the book at $2.99 making a better ROI on fewer sales.
But both of you run into the same problem.
You are both churning through the same readers, not really building an increase of repeat readers because the simple fact is that there is a finite number of readers of a specific niche.
And another simple fact is that, if you are an above average book promoter, you can consider your book a success if you sell 1,000 copies. Yep. One K.
So let’s do the math. If you are selling your book for $.99 to $1.99 (US funds) on Amazon and you sell 1,000 copies you’ll earn between $350 to $695. Now if you sell your book at $2.99 (the first price point that Amazon allows 70% royalties), you’ll earn $2.09 per book, but you do face potentially lower sales.
And you can’t count on a book taking off because you only have twenty days to make the bulk of your sales, with the first ten days being the most critical. And you know and I know that none of these niche books are best seller material (over 5,000 copies) because 50 Shades successes are very rare. And best sellers are usually contemporary romance.
So I get it. You need to purchase stories at the cheapest price you can.
I make no bones that I get clients off of freelance sites and troll the job listings regularly. And it’s a given that most of these jobs do not pay professional rates. What are professional rates? Duotrope describes them:
Token Payment~Amounts to less than 1 US cent per word. Sometimes referred to as an honorarium. A 3,000-word story sale would result in US $29.99, at most.
Semi-Pro~Amounts to payment between 1 US cent per word and 4.9 US cents per word. A 3,000-word story sale would result in as little as US $30 to as much as US $149.99.
Professional~Amounts to payment from 5 US cents per word and up. A 3,000-word story sale would result in anything from US $150, all the way up to the thousands.
So when I see the phrase “standard of 1 cent per word,” I see red because it certainly isn’t standard and it is considered semi-professional payment.
How does that work out for the professional writer?
Let’s look at the requirements for these people who propose to pay “the standard rate?”
Here’s one such listing For a 10 to 15K book:
10k-15k words each. You must be able to effectively deliver on time, 100% original quality book (within 7–10 days) (bold mine) that will feed the appetite of our readers.
While we can provide you with a plot if necessary, the ideal candidate will be incredibly creative, knowledgeable in the genre and self-sufficient in this area, and should have no problem creating unique, specialized and compelling plots and storylines our readers will lose themselves in: We want you to be free and maximize your creative juices in plot creation. These will be SERIES books for the most part, so ability and comfort in Series writing is very important…
We will also need a short, super-compelling description/”sizzle”/teaser of the book- 500 words or so to hook readers and whet their appetites for each book.
We are offering long-term, promptly-paid, ongoing work with projects every 2 weeks (or sooner if you are ambitious), so you will not only have steady, ongoing work, but as much of it as you wish to produce…!
You must be able to write unique, 100% original, QUALITY stories, (with proper spelling, grammar, editing, etc) that will highly-engage the reader. English must be your first language, and you must have experience writing romance.
No payment will be rendered for plagiarism – We employ multiple plagiarism softwares to ensure the work is 100% original.
By no means are these requirements unusual. In effect, this publisher (and many others) want publishing-house quality for semi-pro payment. And that’s with the work-for-hire writer being “ambitious.”
I write fast compared to a good many writers and can produce 4,000 words in an eight hour day. So let’s break that down. If I write 500 words in an hour you propose to pay me $5 an hour. But wait, these same listings want “proper spelling, grammar, editing” so cut that hourly pay in half because it takes me as long to edit it as compose it. To write, edit and prepare a fifty thousand word book for submission takes me 200 hundred hours worth of work, or 5 weeks if I work on that one project every day. And you want to pay me $100 dollars a week to highly engage a reader?
Yeah. Now that you seeing the numbers, you know that doesn’t work.
So if you wonder why you get few bids or the writers who contact you don’t deliver that “100% original compelling story, with proper grammar, spelling, and editing produced on a tight deadline” it is a matter of you get what you pay for.
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