How much of the cover price do authors really get?

Most people who buy books believe they’re supporting the authors they love. And they are. But just how much of a book’s price goes to the author?

With traditional publishers, the split of gross is something like this:


Out of the “profit” comes the publishing company’s expenses (but note that they likely have a lot of different books contributing to this amount). So staff, office space, and any other expenses not covered under “Production” or “Printing.” The author’s contract may give them 5 – 10% of net, which boils down to about 2% of the cover price.

What does Ghostwoods’ split look like?

Our contracts give authors 50% of net, with costs coming out of our half. This boils down to 35% of the cover price when you include the only expense we don’t cover, which is distribution (and includes printing for physical books.) From our 35% we give a quarter to half to our cover designer and about a quarter to a third is used for marketing.

Percentage-wise, our authors make more than we do.

Publishing is tough, so it’s hard to blame bigger publishers for their business models, but it’s our hope that we can find a better way to keep authors able to support themselves with their writing. Stay tuned to see if we can make it happen in our tiny corner of the world.

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