Saturday, March 10, 2012

How much is PayPal costing writers?

One of the difficult things about the ongoing PayPal censorship saga is determining how much of a monetary loss this is going to create for the writers. Now presuming that the writers of the Forbidden Four are doing it for money, this is a very important question.

There are some who believe that writers of the Forbidden Four write this type of stuff because they are perverts. This is wrong. Working writers drift to the fields that result in paychecks and royalties. Let's be honest--the first time, I realized that someone had to be getting a paycheck to write was when I encountered a letter magazine devoted to one of the Forbidden Four. The only reason I ever considered writing the Forbidden Four was all about the MONEY.

So how does one figure out how much of a financial loss that writers of the Forbidden Four are going to suffer now that PayPal has decided that they can no longer write and sell this type of material while using PayPal's services. (And yes, there are other payment options---they are just not good payment options.)

Let's take a look at a writer who was relatively new to writing in the Forbidden Four ebook market and what type of loss she suffered. Her entire stock of the Forbidden Four consisted of five stories (two were reprints), and they were only involved in this market for two quarters (six months).

If she would have sold these five stories in the print market, she would have recieved 50 to 125 dollars for the material, provided that all would have been accepted. If we look at her quarterly earnings (and ignore the fact that she just started to supplement her regular writing in this field), her quarterly loss was 55 to 80 dollars (presuming no gain in future quarters and no new stock added).

Of course, PayPal would love to argue that the loss in income stops right here. But it does not.

For one thing, a single quarter is not the entire commerical life span of an ebook. So what is the commerical life span of an ebook? One year? Five years? Ten years? Or more?

In the space of a year, the loss in income is somewhere between 220 and 320 dollars. Over ten years, presuming no drop in sales, this is someplace between 2200 and 3200 dollars.

And the writer was planning on doing more of this type of work...clear up to the second that PayPal steeped in and denied her this income source. So we are looking at a monetary loss of anywhere from fifty to three thousand plus for someone who only lost five ebooks (short stories really) to this PayPal policy change. But the real loss cannot be figured out because we can never be sure how much this writer would have written in this field in future years. (Their goal was to continue adding stock until they did not need to flip burgers any more---good move PayPal, we must keep people in their burger flipping jobs.)


Vivian Pitschlitz said...

Pardon my ignorance but what are the "forbidden four"?

Morgan Eckstein said...

The Forbidden Four that PayPal was refusing to allow involved Underage (which they extended to cover anyone below 20), Beastility (which included werewolves having sex with one another while in wolf form), Rape (which included bondage between willing partners), and Incest (and all pseudo-forms, including someone thinking that their date reminded them of a relative).

At the time, the ban occurred I was working on a story with a sex scene between a Priest of Osiris and a Priestess of Isis; Osiris and Isis were siblings in Egyptian mythology, therefore a scene without no blood relatives would have been nailed by the no-incest rule under the rules that PayPal wanted.

Fortunately, PayPal has now backed off from these rules...or so, it seems.

Vivian Pitschlitz said...

That is so funny, the problem is we need a firm stance against child porn(under 16 I would think is reasonable). As far as any of the others are concerned I don't give a flying.... as long it involves consenting adults it is their indaba.

Are you American beware that you don't get on an offenders list for your article on Orisis and Isis.

When the boundaries are set up people often do not know where to draw the line in order not to be simply ridiculous.