Why the Mascot Books Model Works for Social Media Influencers
It’s a tale as old as time: as an author, it’s always important to have some sort of platform to promote your book. Whether this is a Facebook page geared toward friends and family, or a large Twitter account with thousands of followers, having an audience to post about your book to is a great way to help the title succeed. With social media influencers, that platform is already built in, which can make them a more likely candidate for traditional publishing. However, that route isn’t always what’s best for the influencer in the long run.
Influencers like working with us for many reasons, but here are the most popular ones:
Our authors own all their copyright
By owning their copyright, authors not only own the manuscript, but they own anything we produce for them, like a cover design. This allows them to use those materials in any social media posts, have a say in how the book is marketed, and even use any characters they created in different stories.
Owning the copyright gives authors control over any future variations of the book, like film or foreign rights. For example, our author Jason Khalipa was able to negotiate rights to a German version of his title As Many Reps As Possible. If he had not owned that copyright, the publisher would have assumed full control over the rights without Jason having a say in where his book was published.
In order to work with traditional publishers, authors must get a literary agent to pitch the book to those publishers on their behalf. As long as the book is in print, the agent then assumes a percentage of all of the author’s profits. By going the hybrid route, the author cuts out the agent and works directly with the publisher to bring the book to life, and thus earns higher profit margins.
First off, keep in mind that according to the industry publication Publisher’s Weekly, the average book sells about 3,o00 copies in its lifetime.
So, for example (and this is purely speculative), if a publisher offers $10,000 as an advance for an author’s book, the agent will usually take 15% (before taxes and higher for foreign rights) or $1,500. The author is now down to $8,500 (before taxes). After that, the agent will also take a percentage of royalty sales. Most authors earn about 4 to 5% of every book sold, with some earning as high as 13% depending on the traditional publishing agreement. Therefore, if a book sells for $19.95, and a bookstore purchases it (at a wholesale discount) for $10.97, the author would earn about $0.44 to $1.43 for each book sold.
Now, keep in mind that before an author with a traditional publishing deal earns any profit from book sales, the advance they received needs to be recouped by the publisher.
With our model, because we’re cutting out the agent and don’t offer authors advances, our authors receive higher royalty rates (between 85 to 100% depending on where the book is sold). Say it costs $10,000 to produce the book, and with the $19.95 retail price and $10.97 wholesale purchase price, the author would earn $9.32 per book. They would only need to sell 1,072 copies, something an influencer could easily do, to earn back the upfront production cost. And if they do more direct-to-reader sales like an author signing, they would only need to sell 500 copies because authors receive 100% of the retail price when they sell books directly to consumers. That gives the influencer much more profit over the course of a book’s lifetime.
More creative control over the process
Giving up copyright means giving up creative control. When an author has a brand to uphold and monetize, having a say in what the cover looks like is very important. They would also approve any edits to make sure the content is exactly what they want to give their audience.
When working with influencers who are producing children’s books (like Ashley and Jared from Bachelor in Paradise) and Instagram famous pets, having illustration control is a huge part of this. It’s important to get Darcy & Daisy exactly right or create Pip the Beach Cat in a fun way that represents their brand. The authors get to pick out their own illustrator and provide direction for what they would like to see. This makes it much more collaborative and gives the author confidence in their project.
Working with influencers is a fun process for both the author and us. We love helping them bring their project to life and get the book out to current fans and new readers everywhere. Hybrid is a unique method for any author, but when the author could potentially get a traditional deal, this model works best for them in the long run.
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