TeleRead has, like many sites, been covering the author earnings issue extensively. As new reports come out about a slow-down in the e-book gold rush, people are asking the usual questions. Is Amazon good for authors? For readers? What do all these numbers mean? How to divide the pie?
I think the flaw in interpretation here lies in looking at these numbers solely from the perspective of authors who seek to have a career. Let’s face it, there are a lot of hobbyists out there. These are people who blogged just for the fun of it back in the days where there was no pay model to choose. They are the people who wrote fanfic—again, for the fun of it—and got paid not a thing. And how are those people doing in this new Amazon age?
Just fine, thank you. And I speak as part of this crowd. I am still in the pocket money stage of the game, primarily from a lack of output and effort on my part. But my sales are going up a tiny bit every month. It’s not money to live on, but it was never going to be. And it’s more than I would have had under any other previous publishing model, where the barriers to entry were so high. Now, there are no barriers to entry whatsoever. And any money I earn is more than what I would have had before.
I can’t speak for how much ‘career’ authors earn, or should earn, or whether life is better for them, or worse, under the new Amazon-dominated system. But I know there are a lot of people like me who maybe were never going to be career authors anyway, and who are enjoying, and appreciating, the chance to make even a little bit of money doing something they love.
About the image: Details here. It’s actually an anti-imperialism cartoon from the late 19th century.