While the news indicates that Amazon Publishing may be floundering a little in the US, its UK publishing division just bid on and won a multiple-rights five-figure deal for a self-published author’s new historical thriller title, The Thief Taker by Cath Quinn. Set in seventeenth century London during the plague, Quinn’s title will be published under the Thomas & Mercer imprint.
A couple of interesting aspects of the deal, notably Amazon’s snagging of multiple rights to publish it in both English and German, point to the publishing house’s intention to remain a force in the industry, despite performance so far.
Like more and more publishers, Amazon Publishing is taking a gamble on authors who’ve already enjoyed self-publishing success, a far cry from only a handful of years ago when a history of self-publishing pretty much sealed an author’s fate as far as traditional publishers and literary agents were concerned.
Apart from the significant advance, this deal also offers the author Amazon’s typically lofty royalty percentage, something that more authors have been able to negotiate in their contracts. Authors, especially those who’ve already sold well over one hundred thousand books through self-publishing like Quinn has, are in a better position to negotiate because they already know what they can achieve on their own. Several authors have spoken out recently on their refusal to accept traditional deals due to their own confidence in their ability to sell books and retain up to seventy percent royalty, as opposed to the seven to twenty-five percent that is typical of the industry.
One obvious area where self-published authors still benefit from traditional publishers is in international rights’ deals such as this one. While not impossible for authors to market and sell their own titles outside of their home countries, many authors have negotiated deals with publishers strictly for these international rights. This particular deal also demonstrates Amazon Publishing’s interest in building their presence in Germany.