When I was a kid…I keep going back to those carefree days.
I was twelve years old when I bought my first paperback book. The price was twenty-five cents. For a quarter of a dollar (plus a penny for sales tax), I received a weeks worth of an exciting tale, taking me to places I never dreamed I may really go someday.
Not long after I started reading paperbacks, my dad got really sick. He was in the hospital for a long time. I did not know he liked to read but learned his favorite genre was Westerns. So my twenty-six cents went to Zane Gray.
The author Zane Gray was a member of Penn’s varsity baseball team in 1895 and 1896 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Then one day I went to buy a book and they were up to fifty cents. I had just enough money. I planned to buy two. That was okay, Dad was not working but was starting to get around.
By the time I graduated high school, paperbacks were up to seventy-five cents. There was no money for college and my grades were not good enough to think of a scholarship. The Vietnam war was raging, and I had a choice: Get drafted and go straight to war or enlist. I would get enough training to keep me alive. So, enlist I did.
During those days of training, I learned that cold was not a totally bad thing and that an hour of sleep spread out over twenty-four was actually a lot.
Reading any type of novel was out of the question.
Some years later, I went past a drug store that had rows of paperbacks to buy.
My father passed away not long before. So when I started looking at the books, my first tendency was toward the Westerns. All the ones the store stocked I had already read. It didn’t seem right to read Westerns any more.
I bought another book. That cost me a dollar & twenty-five cents.
Since those days I have bought many books; a great many at used book stores where most were slightly discounted.
One day at a used book store in St. Louis, the owner and I were talking about what a new book would cost to publish.
He explained things simply: A person takes a year of their life to write the book. Then they spend money for the edit. Perhaps, the person lands a literary agent who gets 15%. Then if it gets sold to a publisher, they have the cost of cover design, printing, stocking and distribution. For that they get 50% or a little more. The book store that sells the book also gets a percentage.
At this point the poor author who thought he hit the mother lode is, for the time and energy to write and promote a part of his life, the recipient of the smallest amount from each sale.
On a twenty dollar paperback he makes maybe $5.00 per sale, but more like $3.00.
That made a great deal of sense.
Now I am an Indie author. I pay those costs out of my own pocket.
I am lucky enough to have a wife who is not just a business manager but does as much as a creative consultant. She did my cover design, as well as the book trailer. Sandy stays up with what I have going and need to attend. My wife designed the webpage and tends to it.
My paperbacks sell for almost $17.00 per copy. My e-book sells for $4.99.
I am not saying anything bad about a person selling their book for 0.99 cents, but ask yourself: Would James Patterson or Stephen King?