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YouWriteOn.com / New Generation Publishing / Legend Press

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Parchment

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I've received my initial copy of my book 'From Zaftig to Aspie'. It is so beautiful, thank you. I would now like to order 30 copies to take with me to my book launch on the 26th Jan.

I'm in touch with this writer and she's no longer happy! I'm sure she won't mind me sharing her experience with you.

Her friend ordered two copies of her book, they arrived after she'd ordered the thirty copies for the book launch, both had a thin green stripe across the front cover and another across the back cover. She says there were no stripes on the cover photos she sent and there were no stripes on the proof copy she received. She's now worried about the condition of the thirty copies she's ordered.
 

Old Hack

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Parchment, while that's upsetting it sounds like a problem on the printer's side, which is not YWO's responsibility. The friend probably has a contract with whoever they ordered the books from (not necessarily YWO), and should take this up with them.

Unless, of course, the author's thirty copies arrive with the same fault--in which case this sounds like a problem which is more entrenched.
 

qwerty

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"For the author’s page count, 136 pages, the author will receive a direct royalty from us of £1.28 on each copy sold of her book through a bookseller. This is directly to her with no other costs as the bookseller discount for her book – the amount booksellers receive of the book price for selling the book - and printing costs will already have been deducted."

retail price of said book: £5.99
minus 40% (or thereabouts) to the retailer = £3.60
When £1.28 royalty payment has been made to the author, it leaves around £2.32.

Would that cover printing costs?
 

qwerty

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I'm a bit confused about the above mentioned author getting £1.28 royalties on a 136 page book selling for £5.99, but in a different announcement on the YWO site, the author of a 250 page book selling for £6.99 will only get £1 royalties.

LOWER PRICED BOOKS AND BETTER ROYALTIES
 

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There were all sorts of figures quoted on the message board, which were in direct contradiction of each other: I worked out that they worked out to give an author royalty of anything between 7.5% and 14% of cover price, depending on which set of figures you believed. I'm not sure why there's this variation: I can see no reason for it.

As for whether or not £2.32 could cover the printing costs--it depends. When I used Lulu last year to put together a paperback book of around 126 pages, the unit cost came to £3.92, and shipping on three copies was a further £6.30 giving a total of £18.06. £2.32 seems a very low print cost for a POD book, and there's no money factored in for YWO there, so I suspect the bookseller's discount would have been lowered to allow for that. While 40% is reasonable, some bookshops will take them at a lower discount if they're feeling kind.
 

victoriastrauss

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I don't have a calculator handy, but I suspect the difference may be due to the fact that printing costs are deducted before royalties are calculated. The printing costs for a 250-page POD book would be quite a bit higher than for a 136-page one, so even with the higher cover price, the royalty is still lower for the longer book.

That's a very interesting wrinkle, and one I didn't think of--the higher your page count, the lower your royalty. What a deal!

- Victoria
 

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Think of the implications for writers of flash fiction. They'll be laughing all the way to the bank with this one!
 

priceless1

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I don't have a calculator handy, but I suspect the difference may be due to the fact that printing costs are deducted before royalties are calculated. The printing costs for a 250-page POD book would be quite a bit higher than for a 136-page one, so even with the higher cover price, the royalty is still lower for the longer book.

That's a very interesting wrinkle, and one I didn't think of--the higher your page count, the lower your royalty. What a deal!

- Victoria
What a marvelous gig for YWO. Absolutely zero risk for them. They're not even out printing costs. Makes me feel sick for those poor authors. If something is too good to be true, it probably is.
 

qwerty

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There were all sorts of figures quoted on the message board, which were in direct contradiction of each other: I worked out that they worked out to give an author royalty of anything between 7.5% and 14% of cover price, depending on which set of figures you believed.

But, but, but - this is what was said in the email sent out to promote the YWO publishing scheme:

"YouWriteOn authors will receive 60% royalties for each copy sold to the public, compared to 12 to15% royalties that authors usually receive through mainstream publishing."
 

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But, but, but - this is what was said in the email sent out to promote the YWO publishing scheme:

"YouWriteOn authors will receive 60% royalties for each copy sold to the public, compared to 12 to15% royalties that authors usually receive through mainstream publishing."

You're right. But they were comparing apples to oranges there: YWO calculates royalties on cover price after printing costs, bookseller discounts etc are taken away; commercial publishers calculate royalties on the full cover price.

If you're paid 15% on a cover price of £10, you know you're going to get £1.50 per book sold no matter what discounts the publisher allows the booksellers, and regardless of possible rises printing costs and so on; whereas if you're paid a royalty after all those costs are taken into account you can't be sure how much you'll make per book, as those figures are variable. If you take the same £10 cover price but then deduct printing costs, bookseller discounts and shipping, you're going to have a much smaller pot of money to calculate those royalties on: so while the percentage might be bigger, the overall amount is going to be reduced.

Let's make up some figures. £10 cover price, minus booksellers' discount of 45% leaves £5.50. Take away £3 for printing costs, and we're down to £2.50. 60% of that is £1.50.

Which is how a smaller royalty based on a larger pot of money can equate to a bigger royalty based on a smaller pot of money. There. I hope that makes sense!
 

qwerty

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Thanks, OH, that explains it well.

So it probably wasn't quite accurate to compare 60% royalties to mainstream publishers' 12 to 15%
 

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For those who have not seen it, here is an email just received from LegendPress

Dear Writers,

Thank you for your patience in the book production process. It's been a hugely ambitious project and we are delighted to have had so many success stories so far, with hopefully many more to follow. Please see the link via the YouWriteOn home page for details of writers' successes. We are currently working through the remainder and doing everything we can to complete all of the books as soon as possible. And with this in mind, we wanted to give you an update and completion schedule.

To ensure books of the highest print standard, there are extremely strict file guidelines and we have put in a huge amount of work testing documents etc (for instance, less than 15% of submitted all-in-one covers met our required specifications, less than 40% of single images met specs) and we are now working with YouWriteOn on the implementation for the service of an automated system for the future – details in due course.

To avoid any uncertainty and as all involved are very keen for everyone to have their books complete, we at Legend Press have agreed to taking on completing the remainder of books to be processed ourselves. In order to do so, we are going to use a strict pass/fail text and to give you the choice of having your book complete by the end of February by choosing one of the many great template covers, examples below with the link to the whole range to be emailed to you by Tuesday, or to wait until the automated system comes in and then have your own cover used.

Those that fail the production test for their files will be put in line for the automated system and will be alerted that this has happened – the automated system will require a huge amount of forward planning and then production work to meet author needs so is planned for later in the year. Details on ordering options for those wanting to publish by the end of February are to be sent in a separate email.

Could you please respond to this address to confirm your choice on progressing, including your book title, name, author name if different, and your back cover blurb, and we will proceed as you wish. To make it straightforward, please also put your book title and 'PROCEED' in your email header. Can you please email with your choice by Monday 2nd February. We really will try to respond to queries, but want to do everything we can to complete as soon as possible so you will have to bear with us while we do so.

We look forward to completing your book and to adding to the success stories of the project so far.


So basically you have to use their covers or join the wait for the automated system, and MAYBE you will get your books by end February!

Remember I said earlier I knew of two authors still waiting? They have just cancelled!
 

qwerty

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Okay, we seem to have gone from 5,000 books before Christmas to or early in the new year. Now you need to pass a test or it may be a case of maybe getting your book before next Christmas!

We look forward to completing your book and to adding to the success stories of the project so far.
No comment.
 

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Perhaps when YouWriteOn promised publication by Christmas they meant Christmas 2009, not 2008.

(Qwerty cross-posted with me. I think we're both on the same wavelength here!)
 

Finchlark

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And this just in

Dear Writer,

As an addition to previous email with an update on your book's production, and for your information, I just wanted to provide details of the ordering system for once your book is complete. As it stands, for those without the distribution service, it will only be available for purchase by the author from us (info on how to order is sent once your book is available) – although we are currently working with YWO to introduce an automated service allowing orders for all via the site. Details in due course.

Therefore, you have the option of purchasing and selling yourself, if you wish, (one author so far has already bought up to 1,000 to sell using this approach) or alternatively you can sign up to the distribution service through Lightning Source, which will mean your book being available via the online sites of all the major booksellers – Amazon, WHSmith, Waterstone's, Barnes and Noble etc.

For the distribution service there is a cost of £39.99 and if you would like to sign your book up, just email to this address with the subject line 'DISTRIBUTION REQUEST' and include the details of your book in the email.
 

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So where does that leave me, who should I believe?

On 20 January I received the following email from Ted:

'Thanks, your book is in production and we definitely aim for it to complete and be ready by the end of January. Thank you for your patience.

Best wishes

Ted'


:flag:Okay Tom and Ted, I give in, just tell me the truth please?
 

victoriastrauss

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(one author so far has already bought up to 1,000 to sell using this approach)

{{{boggle}}}

That's quite some nice chunk of change for YWO, I suspect.

I'm sure Legend gets a slice of the pie too.

What does the author get? 1,000 books in his or her garage, and a much lighter bank account. What a deal.

My guess is that Legend is taking over because the whole thing has become a hopeless mess, and they are trying to straighten it out. I have little respect for them at this point, though on the plus side, they appear to be taking seriously their obligation to produce the books in some form and by some date. But as has been pointed out a zillion times already, referring to an ISBN number as a "distribution service" is inaccurate and misleading, and they should know better than to do that.

- Victoria
 
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Old Hack

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And it's worth remembering that copies that the author buys themselves don't earn any royalties.

As it seems that the books without ISBNS (or the books from writers who haven't paid the "distribution fee", as Ted prefers to call it) are only available direct from YWO and there's not going to be a shopfront for other people to buy them from, that means that if you've not paid for your ISBN you're not going to make any royalties at all.

Gah.
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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But if your book doesn't have an ISBN, and you don't pay Ted for one, couldn't you still manage to get it published elsewhere?