Are Royalties the New Future for Book Editors?

Are Royalties the New Future for Book Editors?

Are Royalties the New Future for Book Editors?

Several years ago, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas faced a dilemma. With a growing number of manuscripts slated for publication, we needed more book editors. But shelling out thousands for freelance editors was at odds with our business model. LPC is a small press without debt. We prefer to keep it that way.

So we experimented and began offering our editors a percentage of profits. In short, each book editor had a vested interest in a book’s success. The more profit generated by the title, the more earned income for the editor.

It is a risky proposition. Not every book instantly earns back its investment. Some editors spend hours on a book that does not begin to pay out until months after its release.

But, three years into the process, we find many editors like the upside potential of this business model. (Last year we paid close to thirty thousand dollars in editor royalties). Editors pick projects they feel have the most income opportunity and balance that potential against the amount of work involved.

Recently we expanded this idea to our line of new imprints. We solicited managing editors for our historical fiction, nonfiction, Southern fiction, etc., and gave those managing editors the freedom to sign new authors. Managing editors can publish up to eight titles a year, two per quarter. In return, they share in the profit of those titles. If they choose to serve as content editor, they earn additional royalties. They are, in effect, running their own publishing division.

We continue to tweak the business model. Our goal is for both authors and editors to make a living doing the thing they love. Currently, we have managing editor opportunities within the romance line, cozy mystery, and suspense imprints.

This new approach of paying editors isn’t for everyone—or even most. It requires an entrepreneurial spirit. But as the publishing landscape changes and POD/ebooks grab a larger market share, we feel more houses will look at their pay structure and conclude their best assets remain the motivated and inspired book editor.



(Note: LPC paid out over $25,000 to editors last year. See definition below regarding the term: “professional.” Also keep in mind many artists and sales persons are paid royalties or commission for their work.)

  1. 1.
    of, relating to, or connected with a profession.
    “young professional people”
    synonyms: white-collar, nonmanual More

  2. 2.
    (of a person) engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.
    “a professional boxer”
    synonyms: paidsalaried

Five Star Blessings, One Star Review

Five Star Blessings, One Star Review

Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  Luke 6:28

“This book was a simple waste of my time. It was a full three hours that I cannot get back.”

“Don’t waste your time. I struggled to get almost half through and finally just skipped to the last chapter. It wasn’t funny nor entertaining. Most if the characters were morons. Awful, just awful.”

“Save The Buck!! Please!! Heed my advice! Don’t waste the .99¢ and more importantly: Don’t waste your time reading this dribble.”

These comments are what some people think of my books.

If you write and your books appear on Amazon, you will be judged. This is the life of an author. Negative reviews can kill a book. Moreover, they can crush a writer’s spirit. When I see a negative comment about one of my books, my normal reaction is to reply with a deadly zinger.

I’m good with zingers – just ask Cindy. Or my wife. Or anyone else who has dared to point out my flaws. That’s the way of the “flesh.” Fight back, crush, and destroy.

Christ received a lot of one-star reviews. He heard comments like:

  • “He saved others, but he can’t save himself!” (Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.)
  • “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” (Don’t you know bad writing when you see it?)
  • “So he is the King of Israel, is he?” (You think you’re a novelist?)

This year God impressed upon me the need to humbly accept criticism and let it go. If you know me at all, you know how tough that is. Here’s my new strategy for dealing with negative reviews.

Prayer. Yes, prayer. Not for improved book sales but for the person who wasted 99 cents on one of my books or lost three hours of their life reading my “dribble.”

Please, this is not an invitation to heap abuse on my books just so I’ll pray for you. If you want my prayers, ask. But from now on when someone writes a negative review of one of my books, I pray for that individual and ask God to bless them. Obviously, I don’t know how God answers those prayers, but I trust that person’s circumstance or heart is changed.

Praying for those who post honest but painful book reviews may not be the best book marketing strategy, but it’s hard to move forward when you’re hauling a cart full of resentment. We can’t all write five-star books, but we can offer five-star blessings for those who don’t like us.