The truth hit home for me last week when Kindle Direct Publishing added Amazon.fr to the list of Amazon sites now selling Kindle ebooks. Terrific, a new market. But hold on. When you read the fine print you discover how Amazon are raking in millions and letting authors hang in the breeze.
To get paid on sales on amazon.fr you need to accumulate 100 Euros in royalties. Now, that is a lot of sales of English language books in a non English speaking country. The same applies for amazon.de in Germany. I’ve sold some books in Germany, but hell will freeze over before I accumulate 100 Euros in earnings on 99c ebooks. Worse is amazon.co.uk where you need to accumulate £100. Then of course there is amazon.com, but their minimum is a reasonable at $100 considering the volume of sales that are generated there.
So, to get paid a penny from French, German and UK sales, I need to sell the equivalent of approximately $450 in royalties. I have the distinct feeling that I’m being screwed here.
So, what’s the solution?
One alternative could be a new breed of agent. One that manages self published authors. My thinking here is that say an agent has a list of perhaps 300 authors and is managing the publication of titles and royalty payments, the amounts would then exceed these limits and allow authors to receive payments for their sales, no matter how large or small. While one English author will not sell 300 ebooks in France in one month, perhaps 300 authors will.
After looking around, I have yet to find a publisher working on this basis. There are many Vanity Press operators out there who will charge you $1000 to publish your ebook but do little else. This is not the way to go.
Most self published authors know how to prepare a file in ebook format and how to prepare a pdf version of their manuscript for Lightening Source, Lulu or Createspace paperbacks, so preparing the files is easy. If these could then be transferred to a central source for publishing on Amazon under one (cooperative) agent/publisher the rewards could be well worthwhile. The addition of a modicum of quality control wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
Of course this does entail finding an honest broker, but for some who are involved in publishing already, perhaps this type of ‘no frills’ publisher could be worth considering. I would be very interested to know if anyone is considering this approach.