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Author Consultation Follow-up 3: Royalty Levels

Discussion in 'Tes Authors' Group' started by tesAuthorTeam, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. ajs12345

    ajs12345 New commenter

    I agree with what others have said, against its competitors, TES royalties are favourable. I do also think that the only 'fair' way to rate authors without some sort of intrinsic bias would be to either go on a) volume of resources or b) reviews. If option a, there's work to be done vetting all resources both new and existing, and ensuring they meet certain quality criteria. If option b, there's work to be done engendering a review culture like what you get with ***. One thought I had on promoting reviews is there being a popup every time a buyer logs in...saying something like 'on the xx of xx 2018 you purchased this resource (link to the resource) how did you find it?' then leave a link to review it. I reckon that might nudge people in the right direction...
    EC_Resources and MosaiK like this.
  2. tesAuthorTeam

    tesAuthorTeam Administrator Staff Member TES Authors' forum host

    Thanks all for your feedback so far. There's some really fantastic discussion on the various models happening here and we really encourage as many of you as possible to share your views, if you haven't done so already!
  3. Maths_Shed

    Maths_Shed Occasional commenter

    How is volume of resources 'fair'? I've stated this before, I don't produce a huge number of resources because the ones I produce generally take a long time to produce. I have a number of resources that each took over a hundred hours to produce, I could have churned out loads of dross in that time and made significantly more money. Do you think that way of producing resources should be rewarded further?
    Alice K, mathsmutt and EC_Resources like this.
  4. tesAuthorTeam

    tesAuthorTeam Administrator Staff Member TES Authors' forum host

    @thinky , @EC_Resources and @Kazg1 to clarify, we've edited the original post:
    • A donation model: this could be a system whereby a resource does not have a set price, but perhaps require a minimum contribution
    If any other points need clarifying please shout. Thanks all for your continued feedback and we welcome more responses.
  5. ajs12345

    ajs12345 New commenter

    @Maths_Shed I do agree with what you are saying, but also have a certain level of sympathy for TES who have tried (albeit in a slightly misguided fashion) to establish some form of tiering for authors. Perhaps wrongly, TES assumed that tiering based on number of resources would encourage good authors to produce more. In fact, I'd argue that for every author who puts a bunch of dross to get up to 100, it has given other authors (like myself) a real target to work towards and has improved the way in which good authors are contributing to the resource pool. Personally, as I stated in my initial post, I would prefer to see much more emphasis on reviews, as this would naturally weed out the volume-authors you mention, but as per my initial post, this would take some work.
  6. mrajlong

    mrajlong Senior commenter

    No one would ever get more than the minimum "contribution". However, are donations like this VAT free?
    ajs12345 likes this.
  7. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    Thanks - I wouldn't make my resources available on that basis. I don't think a model along those lines will help in any way towards the necessary culture/attitude shift towards paid resources. It suggests a lack of confidence in what's on offer (in relation to what's on offer elsewhere).
  8. Krazikas

    Krazikas Occasional commenter

    Hi MosaiK, I respect your comments and appreciate your position. However, the current system of basing status and royalties on volume alone has lead to the situation whereby TES is full of hastily made and poor resources. This is detrimental to all authors, as good quality resources get buried on the 'nth' page. It has also encouraged unscrupulous people to open shops and copy hundreds of other authors' resources. Purchasers take a look at some of the products and go elsewhere, others buy and then claim their money back.

    You are relatively new to TES only starting in mid-October and there has been both the October half-term and Christmas during that period. You will also not yet have uploaded many resources. As you upload more good quality resources, your sales will gradually increase and the target of 100 sales will not be that far away.

    Going forward I feel we have to move away from the current model of basing royalties on quantity, if quality is to be improved.

    Basing royalties on reviews is not an option - they are 'rare' and many are fabricated. Genuine reviews are as rare as hens' teeth!

    Perhaps current authors could have their current earning levels honoured and 'protected'. However, the royalties and status (bronze, silver and gold - if retained) for future authors needs to be based on different criteria.
  9. ajs12345

    ajs12345 New commenter

    Not an option right now, but hopefully, with this quality consultation, there will be some good ideas that might make this model more viable going forward in the future. If you take both a review (quality) and resource volume (quantity) model off the table, I'm not sure what else that leaves?
  10. ambowers2

    ambowers2 New commenter

    Personally I would rather have a Tier system based on overall sales volumes. It seems to make more sense overall to focus on resources that are selling well and I feel it would be an incentive to produce quality resources for which there is a demand. It would be more likely that current gold authors would have higher sales volumes anyway and so would keep a higher rate.
    EC_Resources and Krazikas like this.
  11. FunkyPhonics

    FunkyPhonics New commenter

    I'm not keen on the donation model. Subscription could be an option but would have to be worthwhile for those who are already on Gold. One of the reasons i wanted to be on gold was because of the added extra of promotion and the author met up. I've not really seen these as a Gold member only having been invited to one of the TES Gold Author met up's which i couldn't make and no mention of one last year. I can say i see much in the way of promotion from tes either so the only benefit i can see if the royalty rate. So a subscription would have to worth while for me to pay it.
  12. Krazikas

    Krazikas Occasional commenter

    Reviews are so fraught with problems! As I said before, genuine reviews are very rare..... many that are given are seeking to damage authors and are often given by competing authors who are not always fair in their reviews and some are given by the 'anti-paid for sales' brigade. Then there are the technical issues with reviews. I am all for an overhaul of the review system - but I think it would not be a satisfactory system for determining royalty levels ...
    ajs12345 likes this.
  13. ajs12345

    ajs12345 New commenter

    @ambowers2 Such a model would reinforce the intrinsic bias already entrenched in the TES system, which in many people's eyes is unfair. @EC_Resources mentioned on another forum that 'free to paid' resources (which have lots of reviews from the resource's previous status as a free resource) dominate the search results and are often inferior to other resources that simply had the misfortune of being published later on. Such a model would reward these sellers, but do little to improve the overall quality of the resource pool. As such, unless more is done to address the above mentioned issues, I don't see why sales figures alone should dictate a royalty level.
  14. Krazikas

    Krazikas Occasional commenter

  15. ambowers2

    ambowers2 New commenter

    I see what you are saying - I know that some of these older resources have lots of downloads and reviews from when they were free and then switched, which I agree is unfair.

    I also am not keen on the current quantity over quality approach, I just think that sales could be a better indication of good quality resources and that over time rewarding sales rather than volume would lead to better quality resources overall, which could earn a good reputation for authors and the site as a whole. Rather this than authors trying to reach 100 resources with 10 really great ones and then 90 quickly made worksheets just to bump up quantity and "flooding" the site. Then those people who have fewer but really good quality resources, which are selling well have better chances to be featured and promoted also?
    ajs12345, Krazikas and EC_Resources like this.
  16. EC_Resources

    EC_Resources Occasional commenter

    Yes and these still do have an unfair advantage. I'm sure that might change over time, but it would need a new review system that people actually use to be put into place for it to change anywhere near as quickly and fairly as it should.

    Agree completely.
    mrajlong and Krazikas like this.
  17. nwilkin

    nwilkin Occasional commenter

    Whatever system is used I don’t think it should be on the number of resources a user has as that has been proved to only favour those that upload loads or resources with no bearing on the quality.

    Some authors (but not all I hasten to add) seem to be filling up with poor quality rubbish just to get the “Gold Author status” which makes it harder for customers to filter out the drudge of word searches, poorly drawn colouring pages and internet quests.

    Either keep the % of commission TES charges the same for everyone or reduce the commission if the author sells a heck of a lot (similar to what PAYPAL does) or has the new “quality” mark that we have been discussing.
  18. mathsmutt

    mathsmutt Star commenter

    Sadly, this is not reality; sales depend upon views and the circle starts again.

    I don't see the need for a tier system, but I'm not motivated that way. All of my resources take time to craft.
    For those of you who are motivated by rewards, perhaps TES could start issuing mugs, T-shirts, TES subscriptions ?
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
    Maths_Shed likes this.
  19. penyrheol1

    penyrheol1 New commenter

    Sorry, I have only just had the time to wade through all the comments and am probably too late with mine.
    It seems to me that the key to increasing sales, which appear to be down on last year, is to improve the standard of the resources being put on the website ( we all know there are gems amongst some dross). If there are not the human resources at Tes to police everything that is put on the website it must be down to customer review. Could I suggest therefore that a way forward might be, in the first instance, to pilot a system which would encourage customers to leave reviews. This would probably be based on a points system which they could then put towards future purchases. A review serves two purposes . Firstly indicating to the customer, the quality of their intended purchase. A star system and brief comment is probably the best way for this. Secondly, a more detailed review for the benefit of the author in terms of improving the resource. Customers could be asked, when they leave their initial review, whether they are willing to be contacted by the author to provide a more detailed review in return for further points for their next purchase. Once the review system is working well, the next stage could be implemented - a review of the royalty system which, in my humble opinion should not be based on uploading volume. If it's based purely on sales it will discriminate against those authors writing for a niche market. A system based on percentage conversion rates would protect these authors and also not discriminate against new authors with fewer resources on sale. This calculation should be based on free and premium resources in order to raise the standard of the free resources on offer and therefore the profile of the website as a whole. Instead of reviewing every resource Tes would only have to police resources for spurious reviews and I think a programme could be written to raise the alarm and bring suspects to the attention of Tes staff for further scrutiny. I may be wrong but I think this system would also protect the income of established authors as well?
  20. iandoublem

    iandoublem New commenter

    Bit late to the conversation here but I'm quite new to all of this. I want to add my opinion though as I've found that conversion rates (as much as I can work them out-the analytics on this site are very, very basic and offer little insight) are very poor and this is something that links to the idea of how to promote quality resources and in turn, offer a higher royalty rate to authors.

    I should say that before I go on, I think the royalty rates on here are very poor. During a recent promotion that TES enforced on me, I was receiving 65p for selling a £2 resource. It's absurd that for my resource I'm receiving a paltry 32% of a sale for something I created. I find it disheartening therefore that there's been little in the way of feedback that addresses this key point that authors, simply, should be paid more. By way of comparison, I have my own store on sellfy.com and for a £5 resource, I receive £4.63 (on here I receive £3.50). The SEO and brand name provided by TES is significantly better than that of my own Sellfy store and as a result, I expect to 'pay' more to sell my resources through TES, but the level of royalty on here is very disappointing.

    Anyway, I've made the same points in another thread but feel as though they link nicely and all contribute to the same ideas for improvements in terms of quality of resources and rewarding authors as a result. Apologies for the wall of text and for that fact that some of these have been covered already.

    • First; provide an accurate subject list. Sorry for bringing this up at every point, but as an author of Film Studies resources it's absurd that my subject isn't even on here despite 5000+ students a year taking the subject. There are plenty of other GCSE subjects that aren't listed as discreet subjects on here, so it's difficult to find quality resources for your subject area if you have to wade through resources that don't even cover your subject.
    • Second; reviews. 'Force' people to provide a comment, rather than just allowing people to add a star rating. I would think people are less likely to leave an inaccurate negative review if they have to take a minute to explain why. Perhaps a couple of different star ratings could be included such as OVERALL rating (this could be generated automatically through an average of the other star ratings), value for money, the accuracy of description and quality of resource.
    • Third; preview windows. People are never going to spend money, especially £5+ on something that people haven't reviewed or cannot see. Two of my biggest resources are 50+ pages and yet I only get ONE preview window with which to show people what is in the document they're buying! That is utterly absurd. I think, personally, that the quality of these resources are excellent but people cannot see this is they cannot get a glimpse of what they're buying. Imagine trying to do that with a book in Waterstones or even on Amazon! I've suggested this elsewhere, but something like the upload/preview system like eBay sellers get would be perfect.
    • Fourth; incentivise quality, penalise copyright thieves. For authors who consistently achieve good ratings and reviews they should a higher percentage of the sale (don't get my started on that!) to encourage authors to make better resources that in turn are rated higher. For those who abuse copyright a 'report' button/email address should be easily available for buyers to use which then in turn forces authors to receive a lower sales percentage.
    • Fifth; more from the TES moderators to highlight and promote the best resources. As they do at the moment, TES picks and the likes should be used to highlight to buyers the best work in a subject area, key stage etc. Again, this should be incentivised for authors-perhaps for those selected they pay no transaction fees for a week/month etc.
    • Sixth; finally-I appreciate there's nothing above that will actively force people to make better resources, but collectively these things would really help authors to promote their work, make more sales, incentivise them to make better resources and, hopefully, 'push down' the lesser-quality resources.
    Sorry for the wall of text!
    Best_Newcomer_2009 likes this.

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