Can authors survive on 10 percent royalties?

Book publishing deals inherently disadvantage authors to such a degree that there is little likelihood that they will ever make a full-time living.

Can authors survive on 10 percent royalties?

Did you know that a traditional publishing deal isn’t actually about selling books …? Consider this from a GALLYCAT interview with literary agent Bill Gladstone:

So many authors dream of being able to quit their job and support themselves writing. What can authors do to avoid struggling?
Be sure to recognize that money is made from what a book brings them in terms of exposure and not the book royalties themselves. Although many of my clients started out modestly and have made millions from their books, I never encouraged any of them to quit their day jobs and still don’t.

If your initial reaction is to rail against Bill Gladstone, you are missing the point. This isn’t about Bill: he speaks the truth.

This is about a business paradigm that inherently disadvantages an author to such a degree that there is little likelihood that they can (or will) make a full-time living from their creative endeavours.

If you’re an author you may not like to be told that your manuscript is little more than grist for the publishing mill. But it’s the truth.

Publishers will protest most vehemently, and to them I say this isn’t about you either. This is about the publishing machine, not the people in it who of course care very much about literary works.

As a book publisher, why would I write this? Because with information comes the ability to make better informed choices. By all means, authors should enter into a publishing deal if that is what they want to do. But anyone involved in the creative industries should at least go into any such business relationship with their eyes wide open.

In any case, Red Hill Publishing’s business model was developed with the goal of authors making a living from their work.