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Changes to author tiers from December 1st

Discussion in 'Tes Authors' Group' started by tesAuthorTeam, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. tesAuthorTeam

    tesAuthorTeam Administrator Staff Member TES Authors' forum host

    This is your community space to ask questions about the royalty tier change.

    From 1 December 2018 we’ll be launching a new author royalty tier structure.

    Earlier this year we announced that we’d be making changes to royalty tiers, to move away from a system that encourages uploads by quantity, to one that incentivises quality by rewarding total sales. We’re now ready to launch the new tier structure in December.

    Also included in the new tier structure will be a cut in our transaction fees by a third, from 30p to 20p (or 30c to 20c).

    Please read our royalty tier change announcement to find out how it will affect you. Many of your questions will be addressed by this tier change Q&A.

    If you have any questions please get in touch with the Author Team at authors@tes.com or in the discussion below.
    nwilkin likes this.
  2. MosaiK

    MosaiK Occasional commenter

    Thank you for letting us know about the royalty changes and thank you for dropping the transaction fee by 10p per transaction. The latter should make a teeny weeny difference anyway... :rolleyes:

    However... I must express my huge disappointment about
    1. being demoted from gold level back to bronze level
    2. being penalised for the fact that I sell resources for minority subjects,
    3. being penalised for the fact that I am selling resources to teachers who are in the minority compared with teachers of other subjects and stages.
    There is no way, I for one will ever be able to reach earnings of £6000 over a rolling 12 months period!
    Basically due to the tax and new royalties, my resources currently priced at £3 will drop from earning me £2 to earning me about £1.50, i.e. 50%. This is utterly disappointing! :eek:
    Putting up my prices will not work either. Bearing in mind most teachers' salaries, I think that buying resources at £3 is expensive enough, buying the same resource for say £4.50 would be far too much... adding to that that most teachers teach more than one class each week. Plus with constantly changing curriculum demands and abilities of students taught, there is never a guarantee that a resource bought this year can still be used next year or beyond.
    As a result of the new changes, I think that you (@tes) will find more authors will upload very simple worksheets at very low prices which will sell more easily due to their low prices but take a lot less time to put together. I have so far refrained from doing so, but may well consider it now to keep me earning. What is the point of spending hours putting together what in my eyes are quality resources, which I know work well in class, when TES benefit more from them than I do... ?
    Demotion never feels like encouragement.:confused:
    I believe that at the very least, current authors should have been allowed to stay on their current levels!
    After all, @tes, we have been supporting your site-income for the last few months and years.
  3. tesAuthorTeam

    tesAuthorTeam Administrator Staff Member TES Authors' forum host

    Hello @MosaiK,

    Thank you for your message - we're glad at least you welcome the transaction fee change.

    We can understand why you think making materials for a niche subject would be a disadvantage. But many of the most successful authors on Tes actually are ones making material for some of the more niche subjects (eg drama, philosophy, citizenship and PSHE). The more specific and niche the material, the less competition it is likely to have - not just on Tes, but from mainstream publishers. It also really helps the material stand out when teachers are searching via Google.

    As for the query about pricing - though some may find it hard to believe there'll be a group of authors shifting up from Bronze / New Author status straight to Gold today. Those are authors who have invested time, not in making multiple small worksheets, but in creating a small number of significant packs full of value that they sell for more than £10 (and sometimes in bundles for more than £50). We'll be sharing more of their tips. They also make good use of free resources, by putting large packs of content for free so teachers can have faith in the quality of their paid material.

    We want as many premium authors as possible selling more - it's in our interest - so our Author team will be providing more support on that. Thanks for your comments and all your work so far.

    Tes Author team [Michael]
  4. ajs12345

    ajs12345 New commenter

    I've just read the updates on the post; a lot of the improvements that you are proposing make a lot of sense and it seems that the platform is moving in the right direction. The idea that you are going to be vetting and monitoring the resources is certainly a good idea.

    I have mentioned numerous times on this forum that time spent clearing out the dead wood would be time well spent in terms of improving the platform, and would certainly help good resources being 'swamped' by the sheer volume of the bad ones. This would be a step further than your current proposals, but if your focus is now on quality, you must also look at your inventory, not just royalty rates, as part of the solution to this ever growing problem of quantity vs quality.

    I do feel that £6k annual turnover is an extremely high bar for many of your authors. Especially as there is a yawning gulf between silver (1k) and gold (6k). To make the comparison that 'most sellers who make a sale will be better off' is a bit naughty. The vast majority of your 'middle earners' will lose out quite considerably. I feel for those working in more niche areas, as @MosaiK suggests, as they are probably producing quality but simply cannot replicate the sheer volume of sales achieved in core areas due to the size of their target audience.

    There is much about this update that is good, it seems that TES is finally getting to grips with some of the problems that plague the site at present. However, to find solutions only in the royalty system seems to me an attempt by TES to skim some more off the very authors that make TES the great resource hub it is, rather than approach the issue of quality from all necessary angles.
    Mr_Smily, penyrheol1 and labellaroma like this.
  5. MissEHoney

    MissEHoney New commenter

    Argh just posted a really long post and it disappeared!!

    All i wanted clarification on was why the silver royalties is going to be 70% rather than 75%? I'm sure i read somewhere you were thinking about putting the silver rate at 76% (either in a blog post or a post on here)? How comes that hasn't happened. I think for a lot of people losing 5% income would be more palatable than losing 10% (I'm moving from gold to silver).

    I'm glad that the transaction fee is being cut though. If possible when the basket feature comes in could the transaction fee be applied only if the basket amount is less than £3?
    Mr_Smily and labellaroma like this.
  6. blowswind

    blowswind Occasional commenter

    Unless I'm missing something this appears to be a disincentive for any new authors.

    Why would anybody begin to sell on TES if they must pay a 40% royalty plus taxes until they have exceeded £1k of sales?
  7. tesAuthorTeam

    tesAuthorTeam Administrator Staff Member TES Authors' forum host

    Huge thanks for your very fair comments on this @ajs12345. There is absolutely far more we are doing - and want to do on the quality side, which is why we're being more proactive about removing material and curating content.

    We launched a wholly new User Generated Content team recently in Sheffield who are effectively the librarians of Tes Resources. They are all ex-teachers, and all focussed on how we can improve the quality of what is seen by users. We are also working with a handful of academics, subject experts and technologists on more nuanced ways to highlight the best material.

    You are absolutely right about us wanting to ensure that out of date material is no longer highlighted. We are going to be doing a full revamp of Tes picks which will involve removing material that is no longer up to date - while keeping those that prove to be popular, useful hardy perennials.

    We definitely take on board the concern about the royalty levels being too stretching - but you'd be surprised how many teachers already selling above those levels. We want many more to do so.

    Tes Author Team [Michael]
    ajs12345 and MissEHoney like this.
  8. tesAuthorTeam

    tesAuthorTeam Administrator Staff Member TES Authors' forum host

    A range of different approaches were modelled and tested with groups of teachers privately, so some of the rumours about a 76% rate may have emerged from that (approaches that were modelled and ultimately proved unviable included a flat-rate fee, but it meant that all existing Gold authors lost out, and there was no incentive to create more popular content). In the end the simplification from four tiers to three, and to 80%/70%/60% proved the most viable in the modelling and in the testing with users.

    The good news is sales on Tes are continuing to grow (they were up by two thirds last year). We hope increasing sales will compensate for any loss to Silver authors of the 5% point change. It's in our interest, as well as yours, to see all our authors whose content appeals to paying teachings selling more.

    Tes Author Team [Michael]
  9. MissEHoney

    MissEHoney New commenter

    Ok thank you for clarifying.

    I'm really glad to hear from your previous post that TES picks is getting a revamp! As you say there is a lot of material that is out of date. Also that you have a dedicated team working on the quality assurance.
    MosaiK, ajs12345 and tesAuthorTeam like this.
  10. tesAuthorTeam

    tesAuthorTeam Administrator Staff Member TES Authors' forum host

    Hi @blowswind - actually we think today's changes are good news for those who were in our "New Authors" category, who make up a narrow majority of those who have made sales in the last year.

    The rate that New Authors previously received (60%) is the same as the one they will receive in the new simpler system where they automatically join Bronze. But New Authors previously had to pay a 30p transaction fee on all sales, whether above £3 or below it. In the new system they will only pay the transaction fee on items below £3 and that is being reduced by a third to 20p.

    In addition, "New Authors" did not have access to some of the same tools as authors in higher tiers, such as Shops and Bundles. From Dec 1 the tools will be opened up to all.

    The 60% rate is also better than the starter rate on certain other sites that allow teachers to sell material to other teachers. Hope that helps.

    Tes Author Team [Michael]
  11. MosaiK

    MosaiK Occasional commenter

    Well, thank you for taking the time to respond to my points. :)
    It is clear to me that being located at opposite sides of my uploaded resources, we do not foresee the same consequences to your changes. :(
    I am afraid I don't buy your argument about niche market for niche audience being better... the word 'niche' itself tells of restriction rather than expansion.
    Both in MFL and Food Technology/Food Preparation, I strongly believe that teachers looking for resources online, e.g. Google or any of the social media platforms are more likely to be looking for a straight forward resource, something special to keep on hand for an out of the ordinary lesson, e.g. Christmas, or something to set for cover, class work, homework etc... I think the likelihood of anybody looking for a large resource that would last them, say, a 6wk period and would therefore warrant an elevated price is in fact lower.
    As for selling larger resources at higher prices, I find it difficult to believe that resources sold at £50 would be successful in my subjects. From an MFL teacher's point of view, a resource at such a price would have to be a lot better than the textbooks and other available resources at my school. Throughout my many years in teaching, I have come to know that MFL are one of the subjects most likely to be following a textbook (not least because they come ready with audio-material that fits the age and stage of the learners - so why would I want to spend an extra £10-50 on any one resource or bundle?
    Who are you trying to attract to feed your interest in higher sales? Teacher-authors? ... or home-made educational publishers?
    When I chose to start selling my resources on TES, I believed that this was the right platform for me to share my work with colleagues and make a bit of money on the side. I appreciated the fact that I would be able to work myself up to a gold level I could be proud of and which meant a great deal to me. I understood that once reached, this would be my level for good. At no stage did I ever think I would have to one day try and aim to make you (@tes) more money in order to regain my gold status.
    I look forward to your Author Team's support on how to increase my sales. I hope they can also support me in how to increase the amount of time I have available to produce the resources which will enable my sales to reach £6000 a year. :cool:
  12. blowswind

    blowswind Occasional commenter

    So roughly a new seller selling on TES could expect to receive less than £600 for sales of £999 in their first year.

    While on *** they could expect to make £740 for the same.
  13. Carlav

    Carlav New commenter

    Hm. I posted a cogent and articulate message and then lost it to the ether.

    What follows may be less compelling reading.

    After I retired, l wanted to share my resources rather than let them go to waste. As I'd learned that I didn't have the time or the patience to post them on a private blog, I gave them away on TES. I was thrilled with every download and bit of positive feedback.

    TES later approached and incentivized me to participate in their new monetized venture.
    It was flattering and fun.

    When TES decided that 1£ was the minimum price one could ask and started subtly pushing for files priced at 3£ or more, I had some reservations. I make many big resources but I also create many little bonbons, tiny but worthwhile files. But even a small sale felt inordinately validating so I tried to do what was asked.

    It was predictable that TES would start to push authors to use social media to advertise the site. I just can't bring myself to do so because I don't want to sell TO or THROUGH my friends. (I realize that I am not of this millenium.) The result is that may sales are purely thanks to word-of-mouth, infrequent and still gratifying.

    Somehow, your restructuring liberates me, psychologically, to go back to where I started with TES and post many more freebies and tiny files. It was never about “monetizing”.
    pascuam49, jayto, Nik_Bernaz and 4 others like this.
  14. extra golden-time

    extra golden-time New commenter

    Well, I guess we'll get a feel for who wins and who loses as this forum progresses. I'll be losing 10% on each sale, and moving from gold to silver. I didn't upload lots of poor quality worksheets, although I have seen poor quality worksheets (complete with errors) celebrated as 'TES picks'. I'll never earn £6000, and it was never my intention to do so - I'd just like a fair return for my efforts. I also upload free resources - an English planning frame I posted has been downloaded 2000 times in the last 6 months.

    When I post reosurces on TES, I spend a lot of time 'tidying them up' as we all know that creating resources for other people is more time consuming than simply making stuff for yourself. We need to make sure the resource is clearly explained as well. This new system makes me less inclined to make the extra effort as the rewad will be decreasing, and I'll never hit gold.

    I am very much looking forward to hearing from all these 'bronze authors jumping to gold', making £6000 off a handful of resources. Ahem, I bet this forum will be, ahem, flooded with them, ahem, any, ahem, minute. Excuse my sore throat. Even Henry Kelly wouldn't be going-for-gold on this new set up (apolgies to young teachers - this is a joke ofr the over 40s).

    All this from a website that can't even get the preview box working properly. My best selling resource contains a 130 page word doc. You can't see a single page of it. By some miracle, it still sells, from time to time.
  15. GalvaniseEDU

    GalvaniseEDU New commenter

    If you really want to improve the quality of resources on the site, why didn't you do the following first?

    • Implement a basket system and let it bed in for a year before making changes to royalties.
    • Actively look for and take down resources that break copyright law (hiding behind the 'community site' is a big cop-out). Employ people whose job it is to do this.
    • Remove all resources from TES Picks and start that again (many of these resources also break copyright law)
    • Promote more resources instead of relying on the community to do it themselves.
    • Begin a newsletter that highlights authors and resources.
    • Create an incentive for purchases such as points or tokens that can be used to buy more resources.
    • Create an incentive for reviewing resources fairly.
    • Create a paid for 'Premium Seller' subscription tier that waives transaction fees and gives a higher royalty percentage.
    While we are on the subject, what did I get in terms of VIP treatment for being a gold member? Honest question.

    Also, why is the gap between silver and gold £5000? That is insane. Why was £6000 chosen?
  16. MosaiK

    MosaiK Occasional commenter

    Well summarised, @galvanisEDU. Thank you. I wholeheartedly agree with all that you say. I just wish I could give you more than just one 'like' for your post. :):cool::D;)
  17. tesAuthorTeam

    tesAuthorTeam Administrator Staff Member TES Authors' forum host

    Thanks for the explanation @Carlav. We're very grateful for all those who share freely with other teachers on Tes.
    ReallLanguages likes this.
  18. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    And a disincentive also to anyone who can only upload from time to time, rather than devoting significant time to it. It's as though they want dedicated resource writers rather than active classroom teachers occasionally uploading stuff they've made in the course of a unit of work which has gone well for them.
  19. tesAuthorTeam

    tesAuthorTeam Administrator Staff Member TES Authors' forum host

    Thanks @GalvaniseEDU for your comments.

    As mentioned in the announcement, we will very soon be introducing a basket system for purchasing resources. And, as mentioned above, we are also going to be reviewing past Tes Picks.

    We already send out monthly newsletters to hundreds of thousands of teachers around the world promoting resources to them. We still manually pick our resources for different subjects, but have actually found on the emails the click-through is better when we make recommendations that are personal to that user based on their download history.

    We are working on a range of other systems for incentivising reviews from trusted teachers.

    We have given Gold authors extra and preferential treatment when it has come to providing them with individual support when they have requested it, and in inviting them to events. But we agree that referring to it as VIP Treatment might feel like overselling it, so you'll see from the announcement we're no longer doing that.

    The £6,000 figure came from our modelling, and the fact our top-selling group of authors already sell an average of over £500 a month. We would like more to join them.

    Tes Author Team (Michael)
  20. Carlav

    Carlav New commenter

    It's interesting that this is the sentence fragment you chose to respond to. Never mind.
    KatQatresources, heelis and MosaiK like this.

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