Remind me what publishers are for again?


There are, of course, many very good editors out there. But how many of you recognize this characterization of The Acquisitions Editor by Joe Konrath on his blog A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing?

To me, this highlights not so much the complacency of editors, but the attitude of the publishing industry generally to electronic rights and the fair sharing of royalties.

It’s no wonder self-publishing is on an upward trend.

Editor: I’m excited to tell you we’re epublishing your new novel. Aren’t you thrilled?

Writer: I’m flattered. But there are still some things I don’t understand. I was hoping you’d make them clear for me.

Editor: Of course. I’m here for you. We’re partners now. Exciting times.

Writer: Yeah. Well, first of all, I’m trying to understand the royalty structure.

Editor: That’s boilerplate. You get 25% of the net sales receipts.

Writer: With the agency model, that means I earn 17.5% of the list price.

Editor: (beaming) Not bad, huh? If it was one of those old-fashioned paperback books, you’d only be earning 8%.

Writer: But paperbacks cost $7.99. You want to publish my ebook for $9.99.

Editor: We’ve determined that’s the best price.

Writer: How?


About Author

Jon Reed is an author, screenwriter, publisher and social media consultant. He is the author of Get Up to Speed With Online Marketing (2e, Pearson Business, 2013) and the the founder of social media consultancy Reed Media, which offers social media management, training and consultancy. Jon started Publishing Talk in 2007 following a 10-year career in publishing, including as publishing director for McGraw-Hill. More...


  1. There is a vast variation in the quality of both presentation and content at present in ebooks. It is however the thoughtful publisher’s frontier opportunity!

  2. The further from Brobdingnagian Dinosaurian Mammoth-massive, tree-raping & expensive Hardcover books, the better…and cheaper.

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