Who Needs You, Big Publishing? How Authors Can Own All Rights and Make More Money

Scott Sigler (Dark Øverlord Media)
Keynote
Location: Broadway Ballroom (6th Floor)
Average rating: ***..
(3.89, 19 ratings)

This presentation is aimed at authors who can build an online audience and want to control their own rights and not be dependent on a publisher. It focuses on the partnership needed between a best-selling author and a publisher, and on the author’s ability to sell books outside of that relationship.

The presentation is important for publishers, as they need to know what aggressive authors can do thanks to direct sales on the internet. Publishers offering an 8% to 12% royalty will have to deal with authors who know they can instead make a 75% royalty (or profit margin) from the same book.

The “partnership” aspect is critical. I make 10x per unit when I sell myself, but also sell 1/10th the number of copies. The real benefit for the author comes via longtail sales, and establishing a revenue stream that is independent of the whims of publishing staffs that can change overnight, or marketing budgets that continue to shrink. In addition, we’re already in pre-production for the second book, which will have a 6,000-copy first printing (our audience has already grown).

This presentation talks extensively about building an audience with social media, online interaction, and face-to-face interaction with the fans. I will talk about the self-funded, 20-city tour that drove the first printing sell-through and took us into the second printing.

Also, this presentation takes a harsh look at print-on-demand, which currently offers about the same profit margin as printing with a big publisher. If an author has an audience and can pre-sell a title to raise capitol for design, printing, and fulfillment, that author will make ten times per unit what he or she would make with a publisher or a POD service. I will share specific numbers for cost, gross, and net profit.

Photo of Scott Sigler

Scott Sigler

Dark Øverlord Media

New York Times best-selling novelist Scott Sigler is the author of ANCESTOR, INFECTED and CONTAGIOUS, hardcover thrillers from Crown Publishing.

Before he was published, Scott built a large online following by giving away his self-recorded audiobooks as free, serialized podcasts. His loyal fans, who named themselves “Junkies,” have downloaded over eight million individual episodes of his stories and interact daily with Scott and each other in the social media space.

Scott reinvented book publishing when he released EARTHCORE as the world’s first “podcast-only” novel. Released in twenty weekly episodes, EARTHCORE harkened back to the days of serialized radio fiction. His innovative use of technology puts him at the forefront of modern-day publishing and has garnered brand-name exposure among hundreds of thousands of fiction fans and technology buffs.

In 2009, Scott created Dark Øverlord Media to publish THE ROOKIE, a limited edition hardcover with a 16-page, full-color insert. Each copy is individually numbered and signed, and personalized on request. He’s been covered in Time Magazine, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher’s Weekly, The Huffington Post, Business Week and Fangoria. He still records his own audiobooks and gives away every story – for free – to his Junkies at www.ScottSigler.com.

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Comments

Picture of Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton
02/24/2010 2:12pm EST

Good, but missed a consideration of important author/editor relationship – authors can be their own worst enemies… but great presentation.

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