The BULL SPEC dollar.

We’ve been getting some questions about our “donate what you like” model. So let’s walk through a $10 donation to a typical BULL SPEC story:

  1. If it’s on SMASHWORDS, they take their cut (their servers host the files and their software makes multiple e-book versions possible for us) and the rest goes on to step 4.
  2. If it’s on our audiobook host (now TBD), they take their cut (their servers host the (large!) files) and the rest goes on to step 4.
  3. If it’s on the BULL SPEC site itself (through the story’s dedicated PLEDGIE link) 100% goes on to step 4.
  4. Right now we’re (and PLEDGIE is) using Paypal for electronic donations. So Paypal takes their cut and the rest goes on to step 6. Alternative electronic micropayment gateway suggestions are welcome.
  5. If it’s a check mailed to us (we’re working on a PO Box for that), 100% goes on to step 6.
  6. See below.

Once a donation has finally made its way to BULL SPEC’s hands, 50% immediately goes into the author’s internal royalty account. Once that share rises above the advance payment (for original fiction) the royalties are eligible for disbursement (check or Paypal for now) on a monthly basis. (And aside: We would love to hear how to pay our authors in a more mutualist way, while adhering to SFWA market guidelines.)

Of the remaining 50%, a minimum 10% (of the 50%) is reserved immediately for donations to Durham-area literacy, language, and young writers programs, disbursed monthly. The target for the program depends on the language and format and source story, by default DURHAM LITERACY. The remaining 40% is divided among paying our translators and narrators, helping us grow our ability to publish high quality original speculative fiction. And, to be frank, to hopefully (someday) help some of us slowly wean ourselves from full-time day jobs. But back in reality, this is a labor of love of speculative fiction and we hope to scratch back to even over the long haul, accounting for the enjoyment of the journey.

Some stories won’t be typical. For example, we’re soliciting some reprints and commons-sourced stories where any BULL SPEC share of donations goes 100% to Durham literacy, language, and young writers programs, and in some cases contributed directly without any donation capability–some licenses are not compatible with our model, even at 100% return to rights holder or donation, and will be issued directly to the commons without typical BULL SPEC branding. Any original content (graphics, art, sound, music, etc.) produced for these downloads will be released to the commons in the most lenient compatible licenses possible. Look for 100% benefit stories as BULL SPEC BENEFIT SHORT and similar.

UPDATE: For site-directed donations, and we’ll be warning potential donors that they have likely mistakenly picked a non-story-specific donation link, 10% is immediately reserved for our local community interests. Another 10% is reserved to pay it forward to those communities on whose backs we are building, for example the CREATIVE COMMONS, WIKIMEDIA, and DUOTROPE. The remaining 80% goes directly to the site to help us grow faster. We have no plans to take a penny–a single penny–out of BULL SPEC until we have met our goal of SFWA market approval. (Some translation, narration, and content work is done with a token advance payment and/or portion of royalty share.) The editors will not be paid a penny until we’ve met this goal, or January 2011, whichever is later. And then we’ll start with pennies and move up to nickels as long as we don’t hurt BULL SPEC. If we were in this for money we’d be in it for the wrong reasons, and about to be sorely disappointed.

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