Originally Posted by Kumabjorn
I wonder why the $500.000 bracket is more prevalent among BPHs than indie authors? Seems an odd anomaly.
Seems odd, no?
My take is that either it is a "small sample" artifact due to the fact that so few titles generate that much author revenue that trends can't assert themselves (in which case future reports with more data will clarify outlier trends) or, possibly, the effect is real and due to the BPH bestseller-driven model and low royalties.
As in: BPHs only do marketing and promotion for select titles they give high advances to acquire so those titles actually get a unit sales boost from the trad publisher promotions. Some of the very highest selling titles make it to the million dollar mark but many get "stalled" by the low royalties. (As Konrath snarkily points out, the promo funding effectively comes out of the author's share rather than the publisher's.) In other words, the revenue generation distribution is bi-modal: it sees a step function increase in promotion efforts that boosts unit sales significantly (somewhere near the $500k levels) but once sales reach a given level any added promotion has diminishing returns and the lower royalty rate prevails.
The effect may be an artifact but I'm inclined to believe it is real because trad publishers actively seek and promote likely outlier titles from name brand authors; they want to control high revenue books. So it makes sense to find a bigger fraction of high income titles in their offerings. (They really don't do squat for midlisters.) But the books that can generate sales high enough to hit a million in income are few and far between and fewer still at BPH royalties levels whereas an outlier indie title captures more of its revenue as author income. In effect, many tradpub $500k titles would be likely $1m titles as Indies, with likely lower unit sales but higher author net.
We'll have to see how things breakdown with more data to see if the effect repeats on the next (quarterly?) report.
The one caveat to bear in mind is that this data is Amazon specific and the amazon customer base sees more indie titles than other customer bases. The splits are going to be different elsewhere, especially when it comes to audiobooks outselling hardcovers.
As a reader, my main takes are that bestselling indie titles review better than equivalent-selling (or equally-priced) trad-pub titles so there really is no significant quality difference there, and that paying more for a tradpub title doesn't buy me anything.
The gatekeepers are bringing nothing significant to the table; a good story is a good story regardless of how the author chooses to bring it to market.