Last week, over on the You Are Here anthology site, I announced we’ll be donating $400 to the Humane Society – that’s in addition to the $500 we donated to HS last year. (That initial amount was given in lieu of paying the wonderful Lindsay Buroker for an original story.)
As much as I love to give money to charities, especially the Humane Society (my dearly departed companion was a rescue dog), I wonder whether giving money is a good strategy for selling books.
I mean, the point is to make money and give it to the authors, not charities.
The thing is, these anthologies do not make very much money. $400 is probably all the anthology will ever make.
Don’t get me wrong, because we offer the anthologies as e-books, they’ll always be available. Even if each one only sells once a month for the next 10 years, that’ll be something.
But it is not enough.
All the anthologies published so far have been a complete loss – meaning, I paid out more (way more) money than they will ever return – and that’s with putting them out as cheap as possible! I pay the authors a pittance. 😦
The hard costs far outstrip any revenue. And all the time I put into these things? Pfft! Yeah, I won’t get paid for that.
I don’t really expect to. The whole idea behind putting together these anthologies is to garner a larger audience for short stories.
But the only way to do that effectively is to publish them like a real book (or e-book, in this case).
And to do that, well, money gets involved.
Inevitably, what revenues the anthologies do produce have to go somewhere. I can just can’t keep it for myself. That just feels wrong. I’d rather distribute the cash to the authors. But after expenses, there’s nothing left to distribute. The authors would have to pay me!
That’s why I don’t pay royalties (I only pay an initial token payment for the story). It just doesn’t make sense to include royalties. Dangling that prize in front of authors when I know they’ll never see an extra dime just isn’t fair.
Thus – I came up with the charity idea.
You see, this way, I don’t feel guilty for keeping the cash (because I’m not) and the stories still get out in the world.
What do you think? Should I offer a token payment and royalties?