• Amanda Clemmer

Know Your Rights: Online Sharing, Royalties, And Indie Publishing


Twenty years ago, it was a lot simpler. Obviously it would be wrong to break into a store and steal a tape or CD of your favorite band. But if one of my friends had some music that I loved, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy, I would see no problem in borrowing it for a while to get a better feel for it. But where does this fit in with the Internet?

With the rise and popularity of e-books, this is an issue that independent authors need to take into account now more than ever. Your take on how available you want your books to be online can make a big difference when looking at publishing services to use and the treatment that different distributors will offer you. Do you want one of your short stories to be available for free? Or do you want to make maximum income from the hard work that you put into your novel?


Many publishers, like Kindle Direct, will allow you to set your own royalty. This can be a hard thing to decide for yourself, so a good thing to do would be to look around at e-book stores online and see what authors like you are charging for their books. If you charge too little, it might be a long time before you ever see a paycheck in the mail. If you charge too much, no one will want to buy it.

Above all, just do your homework. Keep as many of your rights as you can and try to get it to as many sets of eyes as possible. This is a shifting territory, and no one knows what big changes will happen next!

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