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[Publisher] Apocalypse Ink Productions

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Aggy B.

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I have to admit, I was kind of excited about this publisher because I've worked with the editor before. But I was uncertain about the promise of "50% royalties on net profit" aspect.

So, I emailed and this is the initial response.

The net profit on a book is defined as money made about book costs.
Each individual book has a set of defined costs that we include towards the price to produce the book.
Costs as follows:
Art budget ( $100 - $250 is our typical budget per book, depending on negotations, etc)
Cost of ISBN: $5


For an e-book there are no further costs.
For a physical book, we have the following additional costs
File setup fee charged by Lightning Source $70
Revision fee $40
Listing Fee $12 a year
Hardcopy proof fee $40


All of these are "set" costs that apply to a books base cost.
After that, each unit sold has some costs associated with it depending on the distribution channel.
E-book channels provide 65% - 70% of the sale price to the publisher. (35% in some Amazon markets ). If sold through our personal AIP site, the only cost associated with this is credit card processing fees.
All of this income is applied towards the base cost of the book. Once the base costs are covered, half of the income is applied towards royalty advances to the author, the other half remains with the publisher. This is the 50% fee.


For the hard-copy sales, they are sold through Lightning source, each book has a print-price and a price to be sold to the distritubtion channel ( typically either 40% or 50% off of the cover price ). The sale price - the print price is what is provided to the publisher and is applied as the above.


If the books are sold directly by us, the publisher, than they are typically sold at / around cover price and the per-unit profit is greater and therefore has a greater cut to the author.

I'm pretty certain we've seen this business model before and it hasn't been pretty for the authors concerned, but I asked a couple of follow-up questions regarding that "book costs" bit and I'll post the response when I get it.

I'm not especially comfortable with the idea that the author is expected to help cover the cost of the book by taking some highly reduced royalty payment. Even from a press that says they offer a small advance.

My skin in the game is the work I put into writing the book. Their skin in the game should be the investment in production.
 

veinglory

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Wow, so what is the publisher actually taking a chance and paying for? Or is it just back-end vanity publishing?
 

benluby

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I'm thinking you nailed in, veinglory. It really sounds like a vanity press that is hiding the vanity.
 

Aggy B.

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I did receive another reply, which I will post later once I'm on an actual computer (and not my phone). Suffice to say, however, that we have seen this routine before.

They do offer an advance, "typically $100", but the book has to earn out $105 toward the "base cost" in net *income* before net *profits* begin to be split between publisher/author and applied toward the advance. I'll post the details shortly.
 

Aggy B.

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Here's the details of the second response. I'd asked for a specific breakdown on how "book cost" was distributed per book and mentioned that I tended to steer clear of publishers that expected authors to help cover the costs of production (either through the direct contribution of funds or by taking a severely reduced royalty). This was what I received back.

The standard in the print publishing is 15% of cover price goes to author. That means each unit of a $10.00 book would be $1.50 to the author.
In our model, a $10 book would be sold to distribution for $5.00. The print price of each book may be around $2.00. Leaving $3.00 profit per unit, half to publisher and half to author, meaning $1.50 per unit to the author.


If that same book is sold from the AIP website for $10.00, with a print price of $2.50 ( costs us more to have small print runs ), that leaves $7.50 total profit, so $3.75 towards author and $3.75 to publisher.


For an e-book, there is really no set industry standard, but they tend to go with the same 15%. so, for a $5.00 ebook, that is $0.75 to the author.
For us, an ebook sold through amazon at $5.00 (70% royalty ) would generate $3.50 net profit, $1.75 to author and $1.75 to publisher.


We do offset the "cost" of a book with the initial setup cost as we are a small publisher.
So, for example, let's say an ebook has $100 spent towards the cover art and $5 for the ISBN registration. The first $105 dollars earned in net is applied to that cost, then the royalties for the author start accumulating towards the initial author advance (typically $100 ). So, for a given ebook at the above numbers through amazon, it would take 30 units to cover the costs ( $105 / 3.50 ), at which point it would take an additional 57 ($100 / 1.75 ) units before you have earned out of your $100 advance and start accumulating additional royalties. This works out as 87 units sold before you start to see additional money.
If you were getting the flat 15% of cover, you would start to see additional money after 133 units )


Note, that a book sold through the AIP website is $5.00 even, with no discounts to the vendors, so would earn $2.50 from each sale.


We do not charge for the hours and hours of time that we put into editing, doing layouts, setup, marketing, etc for the book. The only thing we consider as costs for the book are the actual external fees required by us to create the book as I have shown.
I understand your take on avoiding author paying for book production and wanting just the flat fee per unit. Our model is a bit more complicated as we prefer that the author receive equal share of any money we make on the product. What our model does is provide you a larger percentage of the books sold directly through the publisher ( either online or at conventions )

There must be a book or seminar/webinar or something that is teaching this model, because it's almost word for word the same as some of the other small pubs we've seen in here. Including that whole "15% royalty is industry standard" for both print and ebook.
 

mrsmig

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"We do not charge for the hours and hours of time that we put into editing, doing layouts, setup, marketing, etc for the book. The only thing we consider as costs for the book are the actual external fees required by us to create the book as I have shown."

Aw, boo hoo. What about the hours and hours (and months and years) that an author puts into writing said book? Why is it that, in this kind of publishing model, the author is the last person to be paid?
 
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Shadowflame

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Hello everyone.
I'm the public relations person for AIP. Please give me a chance to have our creative director answer some questions.

I do admit this is a small fledgling market and it isn't going to appeal to some. But please don't dismiss it out of hand.

I just started as the PR person last week. I am working on the promotional model, so please bear with me.
My first goal is to provide good steady content on the blog. (already started)
Second goal is to get the books already in production, out into the hands of reviewers. (getting that going as well)
Third is to promote not only AIP but the authors as well.
We are also going to do online readings, interviews, and ask the author sessions as well in the future (if possible). And hopefully some other fun things.

So please don't dismiss us because we are small, we are looking to grow.

Thank you
 

veinglory

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I think you might want to focus more on message rather than venue. That is, how will you defuse and/or address the issues raised above?

Hint: implying the problem is that the press is small is not a great start. None of the issues raised above relate in any way to the size of the press.
 
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Filigree

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Thanks for speaking up, Shadowflame.

The most worrisome thing right now isn't AI's size, but their insistence on net and author payments being taken out after all publisher costs have been met. We've seen this model before. It rarely works out to the author's benefit, and it has been used in other situations for publishers to commit outright or near-fraud. I am *not* saying that's the case here.

Under-capitalization seems to be one of the biggest killers of new publishers. It's sad, but an author's first task is to see that their work is both protected and published in the best possible way.

If the press is vibrant and savvy at marketing, all to the better to attract new authors. But the 'net' issue needs to be addressed first. Authors should not need to be treated like the least valuable creditors.
 

Shadowflame

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Hello everyone.
First of all, we want to thank you for looking into our publication. As writers, it is very important that you look out for not only yourselves but other authors as well. That’s what the Bewares, Recommendations and Background Check threads are all about. We hope we can answer your questions and help relieve some of the concerns.

Apocalypse Ink Productions has two sides to it: a non-fiction line dedicated to the publishing industry and all things writing related, and a fiction side that is primarily dark speculative fiction—novels and single author collections. We opened up our submissions for 3 linked novellas in January which has led us here to this thread.

The first question we would like to address is the net profit royalties. Aggy B. posted exactly what was stated in the email. When Jennifer and her husband started AIP, they wanted to give their authors the best opportunity to earn profits. However, they weren’t able to give out large advances and weren’t sure on how to work the royalties. They sought advice from various other successful small press companies on the best business model for a start up publication. They were advised to use the Net Profit from royalties after a small advance. This is the format that they been using successfully for a while.

However, after reading a variety of responses, reviewing industry contracts, and looking at our finances, AIP will be updating our payment terms as follows:

Authors will receive a royalty of 15% of the cover price of all physical print editions sold.
Authors will receive a royalty of 35% of the cover price of all electronic e-book editions sold.
All royalties earned will apply towards the Author advance.

We are more than willing to negotiate contract terms with individual authors, as those of us here also believe in paying authors what they are worth.

This may not appeal to some writers. That’s okay. Anyone who submits is taking a chance with us. But we are also willing to take some chances on new authors and works that don’t fit well into other niche markets.

AIP is not a vanity press. We do not solicit payment for publication and we try to be as transparent as possible with our costs and do not add on unnecessary charges.

Jennifer Brozek is the Creative Director. She’s been editing since 2006. She has won several awards for editing and has written several publications in the RPG realm. She has also edited for DAW and Baen Books. We would like to assure you that AIP is not a fly-by-night publication. We intend to support our authors in any way we can and grow. We are still learning. This is our first open call and the responses have been educational and eye-opening.
Sincerely,
Jennifer Brozek
Apocalypse Ink Productions
 

veinglory

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I think the issue is that authors want to feel the risk/benefit is being shared in a fair way. This usual means the author brings the manuscript and the press bring everything else (art, editing etc) at their expensive.

50% of net excluding only retailer fees I can see. But net including basic production costs, I cannot. It is more a fairness issue than anything else, with me at least.

The advance does not really play in IMHO. It is just a matter of timing, not the underlying division of labor.

So basically, by charging fees within net the press want not only half the profits, but to have fees paid on top of that. So they are saying they should get more and thus claiming they are bringing more to party than the person who actually created the book.

Short version: Yog's Law.
 
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Aggy B.

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Authors will receive a royalty of 15% of the cover price of all physical print editions sold.
Authors will receive a royalty of 35% of the cover price of all electronic e-book editions sold.
All royalties earned will apply towards the Author advance.

This is (to my mind) considerably better than the previous terms. And it is a good sign that y'all were willing to reexamine your approach and update accordingly. Very refreshing.

Thank you for taking the concerns raised under thoughtful consideration.
 

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