From author Tucker Max on The Huffington Post:
I know how an author can triple their effective royalty. This is on the same sales, with nothing else substantively changing in any other aspect of their book. Same books (print and ebooks both), same bookstores, same placement, same customer experience, even the same publisher (sort of).
I’m sure you’re skeptical. I know you think this can’t be done. You’re wrong.
I know an author can triple his royalties on the same sales, because I’ve already done it.
. . . .
After two very successful books, I realized the weird paradox of the publishing business that every author eventually learns: It’s terribly exploitive of authors (paying them a very small royalty on sales), yet it doesn’t even do a good job maximizing overall revenue from book sales. Publishing companies are like schoolyard bullies that can’t even fight well.
In preparation for my third book, Hilarity Ensues, I stepped back and tried to figure out a different approach. Frankly, I wanted to keep more of the money my books made, and I wanted more control over the publishing process, but I didn’t want to deal with the problems that come from being in the “self-publishing ghetto.”
. . . .
I expected the publishing industry to act like a real business. When that didn’t happen, I was well-equipped to figure out why, having come to writing by accident from an educational background of economics and law. I read everything I could about the publishing business, compared it to other similar businesses, saw how those were disrupted, applied my experiences with publishing and came to a key realization:
I could replicate everything that a publishing house did — except for distribution. So what I needed was a distribution deal, not a book deal.
. . . .
Distribution deals themselves aren’t unusual. There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of publishing companies in America. How many of them have trucks and warehouses and sales teams? Almost none. You didn’t think Harvard University Press handles book logistics or sends people to B&N buyer meetings, did you? Of course not. They use a Big 6 publisher to do their distribution. In fact, there are really only about eight major book distributors, and each of the Big 6 has a separate distribution division that handles the distribution services for other publishing houses.
Well, why can’t I do that? Why can’t I be a publishing company and just cut a deal directly with a distributor, do everything else, and keep all the profit of my writing for myself? Yeah, I’ll have to take a risk by skipping my advance on my third book, and it’ll require some more work on my part — but I am more than happy to hire freelancers if it means by royalty checks triple in size.
Link to the rest at The Huffington Post and thanks to Jennifer for the tip.