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Author Topic: How Publishers and Royalties Work  (Read 5949 times)

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How Publishers and Royalties Work
« on: October 03, 2006, 04:07:36 PM »

Notes from a workshop (Conf: Publishers
From: Bob Kellogg
Date: Saturday, October 14, 2000 08:37 PM

I went to Barnes & Noble in Del Mar today and learned some things I didn't know from a long-published author, Jim Simmons. Some of you may know all of this, some may know some and some may not know any of it.

1. Advances are not returnable. They are advances against royalties, but if the book doesn't sell enough to cover the royalty, the publisher loses, not the author. (Of course the next book probably won't draw as much advance, if you can get their attention.)

2. Agents get paid by the publisher. They take their 15% and send you the rest. Therefore, a book contract should say that in the event of the agent's death, the publisher should send the 15% to the agent's estate and pay the rest to you directly. Otherwise all will go to the estate and be tied up in probate.

3. Publishing editors are like frogs in a lilly pond. They hop from pad to pad. Frequently

4. Large publishers don't expect 90% of their books to make them any money. The few best-sellers pay the freight. The rest are to "fill out their catalog". If your book doesn't sell enough in a certain period of time, a computer program flags it for "remaindering" and it goes on the bargain book counter at a 40-70% discount. You get paid by the retail selling price.

5. Small publishers will keep your book in print longer.

6. If a publisher asks for your complete manuscript, an editor does not read it immediately. It's given to a freelance reader. If she/he says "publish it", the editor will consider it. These freelancers, if you know who they are, will read your book and give you an overall critique. The price is $40 to $50 an hour.

7. None of the major publishers will consider an un-agented work for publication. If you know an editor personally, that rule could be broken.
Bob Mueller
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