What about the money the collection brings in?

This is the fifth part of a multi-part series devoted to our plans for a writing contest. To read this from the beginning or to see a full list of posts as they are posted, please refer to this page.

Since we are still in the planning stages, be aware that any of the following is subject to change at any moment (though I doubt it).

Any money that is made from the publication of a collection of short stories will be shared with several parties depending on how much is made and what further decisions we make as a group. Bec and I will have a lot of say over what happens, but we will not tell the group what to do. We will proceed without contracts, but that doesn't mean we won't have your personal interests in mind.

I think it only fair that the authors of the short stories see something of the profits, and my current thinking is that as a group they receive the highest percentage. Because of our organizing efforts, not to mention editing, layout, marketing and so forth, Bec and I will receive a percentage as well, and our current thinking is that we will throw our profits back into the project, perhaps sponsoring another contest. Any or all of the authors may choose to do the same thing. It all depends on how much money there is to split.

But there is another group I don't want to forget: non-authors/non-crew members that assist us in any stage of the process. For those that do very little for us, we may not offer any of the profits unless there is a ton to split, thus making their small contribution worth a little more than otherwise. However, I am not asking them to completely volunteer, for there will be opportunities for promotion, advertising and further cooperation in exchange for their service.

For those that help us out extensively, especially with things such as editing, layout, cover design and all the other things that a self-publishing author would either have to do himself or pay someone else to do, should get part of the profit. Now typically an author or publishing company has to pay for such services before publication, taking a risk at the time of going to market.

This is where our project will be slightly different. I will ask those that help us to do so with the possibility of not receiving a penny. It won't be because someone else will get their portion or because I am mean (for I am not); it will be because no one else gets anything either. If there is simply not enough money made, no one will get anything. Chances are there will be some money, and as a group we'll vote on what to do with it, but even if we split it evenly and everyone only got a dollar, what's the point? We would do better to do something with the lump sum.

I've included a disclaimer with each of these pieces, stating that any of this information may change at anytime. Much of the information I have presented so far will probably not change much. However, the following is guess work, hypothetical—the most hypothetical being the percentages themselves.

Just to give you an idea of where my thinking is heading, I will give you some numbers, but I warn you again that this could change. I would like to allot 50% of the profit for the authors. Bec and I will probably take no less than 25%, which leaves another 25% for everyone else involved. Since third party participation (non-authors) will vary, so will their percentages. I've even thought that for some their profit share will have a max, their percentage going to someone else after that. If it only costs $50 to $100 to hire someone to design a cover, for example, there's no reason they need to share in thousands of the profit should we be highly successful. But I am getting ahead of myself. This is an issue the group will vote on should the need arise.

There may be other things I have yet to think of or address. Rest assured, though, that I will not take the money and run. I am in favor of an open policy. If everyone knows what we are making, it will be harder to deceive you. My goal is to help people publish over and over, creating an actual career for myself and maybe a few others along the way. I won't do that by stealing the proceeds from one publishing venture. No one would trust me again.

If you have not officially expressed interest in the project, you may do so here.