Pronoun, the self-publishing platform acquired by Macmillan in May 2016, announced new author royalty rates for e-books sold in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to launching Pronoun Author Pages, a feature that will allow Pronoun authors to create customizable web pages free of charge.
Beginning on January 17, authors publishing books via Pronoun can earn 70% of the list price as a royalty on books sold in the U.S. and Canada, priced at $9.99 or less, and can earn 65% of the list price for a book priced above $9.99. Previously, Pronoun authors selling books for less than $2.99 received a 35% royalty, similar to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program.
Pronoun president Josh Brody said: “We’ve spent the past year listening closely to authors and are proud to announce better royalties as part of our continued pursuit of publishing success for authors.”
Although Pronoun launched in 2015 with an offer of “a 100% author royalty rate,” the company has ceased that claim, calling the language “confusing" and noting that "there is a clearer way to communicate the new benefits." Pronoun head of marketing Justin Renard said the offer actually meant “no charges on each e-book sale.” Authors, he said, can still produce their e-books via the Pronoun platform free of charge.
Pronoun also offers authors distribution to one or more of the major e-book retailers, among them Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, and Google Play. Although Pronoun-published e-books must be distributed to Amazon, either by Pronoun or separately by the author, Pronoun authors can designate to Pronoun where their e-books should be sold.
Pronoun also allows authors to give away free books (such as the first title in a series) and offers pre-ordering for new titles. Pronoun Author Pages are customizable web pages that allow authors to post photos, author biographies, and links to social media accounts, and to add other consumer info. Details about the book are automatically added from the Pronoun book database.
Originally founded as Vook, an early e-book and multimedia technology platform, Pronoun was formed in 2015 by Brody after the acquisition of a number of e-book and e-book data–collecting companies. Among the acquired companies that formed Pronoun are Booklr (a data analysis service for e-book sales founded by Brody), Byliner (a literary e-book publisher), and Coliloquy (a choose-your-own-adventure platform using enhanced e-books and apps). Pronoun was acquired by Macmillan in 2016.
In an interview at the PW offices, Brody said the company has spent the past six months integrating into its new parent company. Brody claimed the new royalty rates are among “the best in the market” and offer “flexibility on pricing and distribution.” He described Pronoun Author Pages as “an easy to use tool that allows authors to be professional without being an expert [in web development].”
Brody said Pronoun also derives revenue from a variety of publishing and data analysis partnerships with such companies as Forbes, the New York Times, and others. Brody declined to give out a figure for the current number of authors making use of the Pronoun platform.
“We’re taking a longterm view of the self-publishing market in an effort to attract authors to our platform," Brody said. "We think developing a vibrant user base will provide better opportunities both for us and for our authors."