The results of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) survey released in July 2014 revealed that just 11.5% of professional authors earn their livings exclusively from writing in the UK. This is down from 40% in 2005.
The typical annual income of professional authors has fallen to £11,000, a figure far below the level identified by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, that is required to achieve a socially acceptable standard of living (£16,850). This decline is set against the increasing wealth generated by the creative industries, which now equates to a staggering £8 million per hour. (1)
As a working writer, Ghostwoods founder Tim Dedopulos is all too familiar with the precariousness of the writing game now. It was with this in mind that he started Ghostwoods Books, calling it a “fair-trade publisher.” Why not pay the author half the proceeds, he suggested. Why not write transparent, author-friendly contracts?
The Society of Authors recommends that publishers give authors fifty percent of the earnings from e-books. Ghostwoods has gone further. We give authors half of the gross earnings from all books, both e-book and print. For the past five years, we have split our earnings with authors. We’ve made a lot of progress, publishing some excellent and beautiful books. Now we’d like to take it to the next level.
We’ve experimented with various marketing strategies and considered various steps. There’s an obvious trend in the direction of asking people for money. We’ve done two Kickstarters, both successful. The money raised was very helpful in allowing our press to publish better known authors, but constant crowdfunding will take away the time we’d prefer to spend finding the books with the most pstential, as well as the time it takes to turn out the quality of publications we aspire to produce. While some fundraising may always be a part of what we do, we want to find a way to make the books earn their keep.
To that end, we ask that you help us achieve our current, modest goals.
- Spread the word about our press and its author-friendly stance. We hope that other presses will see our fair treatment of authors and be inspired to follow suit. We also hope that knowing their money is going to supporting authors will encourage people to buy, read and review our books.
- Buy our books and audiobooks. The surest way to help us grow is to buy our books. We earn the biggest returns on audiobooks and ebooks, about $3 on average for an ebook and $5 for an audiobook. On print books we earn an average of $2 each. These amounts are split with the authors and narrators. Buying books on Amazon will elevate a book’s ranking there and make it more visible to new readers, however we also make our ebooks available on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google Play. Our most recent audiobook is available on Audible and, via bancamp, on our own audiobook site, audio.gwdbooks.com. We earn slightly more for the books purchased via our site than we do through Audible.
- Give our books positive reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites. A positive review is usually four or five stars. We don’t want you to lie. We strive to publish the best books possible. When you rate our books, we hope you’ll consider the hundreds of hours we devote to this work, and that the money earned helps support authors, editors and artists. We believe we publish some pretty darn great stuff with almost no budget. We can really only do this because we donate our substantial collective skills and mot of our time to this endeavor.
- Follow us on social media and talk to us. Help us develop a robust, interactive social media presence. Our press’s Twitter account is @ghostwoodsbooks. You can find our individual Twitter accounts on the Staff page.
- If you’re a writer, you may be able to help us by contributing to our mini-zine, Bright Monster. For example, we’ll soon begin asking notable authors to contribute short pieces to the “If Writers Ruled the World” feature.
- Subscribe to Bright Monster! Our short, entertaining email zine that’s good, geeky fun and not spam.
- Participate in our giveaway contests. These help spread the word and build our cred.
That’s it. Those are the best ways to help us. If you’ve done all of them you can and you’d still like to give us money, contact us at ghostwoodsbooks at gmail.com.