Saturday, July 17, 2010

Is the ASA being unrealistic?

New recommendations released by the ASA about e-book royalties are advising Australian authors to aim for 35%. The author part of me thinks that's great and agrees that authors shouldn't be making less money because ebooks are priced lower than print editions. But, just like the ASA's suggested author pay-per-word rate, which still hasn't caught on with publishers, will publishers embrace it at this stage in Australia's ebook journey? One thing is certain, if they don't, authors will simply do it themselves, accessing Amazon through self-publishing options like smashwords to make themselves a greater cut of the profit.

The ASA does a wonderful job of informing authors about their rights, but like many industry organisations it fails to sometimes realise that the reality is, you're worth whatever someone is willing to pay you. If you do it yourself, you set your own price. What could be better than that? The only downfall I can see is in publicity and promotion, but if you're an author with a good handle on marketing and promoting your work, I'd fully recommend going it alone. Entrepreneurial authors should recognise that now is the time to (a) approach their publisher asking questions about digital editions and addendum clauses (find out what your publisher's plans are, and take a copy of this report with you) or (b) if they haven't contracted away DR, put in plan a way to have their work published as an ebook themselves (especially for out of print editions), but check that you don't have a competing additions clause in your contract.

The ASA's recommendations will be a huge help for those authors still wondering what their rights are when it comes to digital rights management. Check them out here or read about what bookbee has to say on the matter here.

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