Book publishing questions

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Book publishing questions

    I'm hoping some of you published authors may be able to help me as I know nothing about the publishing business!

    - What is a typical book deal for a new, unpublished author? I know there are probably several variables with this, just looking for something kind of typical.

    - What about a book deal for an established best-selling author?

    - How is the revenue from a book purchase (at a bookstore, etc.) distributed? For example - 50% publisher, 25% author, 25% retailer ?

    - If an author has a multi-book contract, what is typically the time-frame in which the author is expected to complete each book?

    - I'm assuming if the author does not fulfill the contract by writing the book(s) they are in breach of contract and therefore will be sued by the publisher? Would they also sue the author's representing agency?

    thanks!
    chip
    My first crack at a logline usually makes a great synopsis!

  • #2
    Re: Book publishing questions

    I hope you're not looking at book publishing thinking it's easier.

    I'll leave most of these for the published folks, but I can tell you I have an acquaintance who's a fairly new author in the fantasy genre, and she mentioned having four months to complete her latest novel. I can't say if her situation is typical since she's working on two series concurrently. On the other hand, what's typical?
    "Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.-
    ― Ray Bradbury

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Book publishing questions

      Originally posted by Ravenlocks View Post
      I hope you're not looking at book publishing thinking it's easier.

      I'll leave most of these for the published folks, but I can tell you I have an acquaintance who's a fairly new author in the fantasy genre, and she mentioned having four months to complete her latest novel. I can't say if her situation is typical since she's working on two series concurrently. On the other hand, what's typical?
      Thanks for the response Raven. And noooooo I'm not looking at
      taking the publishing route. I don't have the patience and/or endurance
      to write a novel!
      My first crack at a logline usually makes a great synopsis!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Book publishing questions

        [
        Originally posted by ChipC View Post
        I'm hoping some of you published authors may be able to help me as I know nothing about the publishing business!

        - What is a typical book deal for a new, unpublished author? I know there are probably several variables with this, just looking for something kind of typical.

        Depends. For a first novel, especially that categorized as "literary fiction" (which the majority of novels are), these days you'd be lucky to get somewhere between $6-8,000, half on signing, the remainder on publication day 12-18 months later.

        - What about a book deal for an established best-selling author?

        Usually negotiated in advance by way of a multi-book agreement, i.e. $3 million for two titles. Or, if negotiated separately, it all depends on the last title's sales. If they were over, say, 50,000, you'd be talking about a low seven-figure deal.


        - How is the revenue from a book purchase (at a bookstore, etc.) distributed? For example - 50% publisher, 25% author, 25% retailer ?

        No, no. Google "standard book contract" or check out the Authors Guild's website. It never breaks down as you have it, though it depends on how well you've sold in the past and how powerful your agent is.

        - If an author has a multi-book contract, what is typically the time-frame in which the author is expected to complete each book?

        Typically this is for a genre writer, and one title per year is about the average these days.

        - I'm assuming if the author does not fulfill the contract by writing the book(s) they are in breach of contract and therefore will be sued by the publisher? Would they also sue the author's representing agency?

        They would return any of the advance they received. There would be no lawsuit.

        thanks!
        chip

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Book publishing questions

          I used to buy Writer's Market every year when I was writing short stories, haven't had a copy in decades. They listed publisher's requirements and payments. It used to be somewhere aroung 12% for hardback and 6% for paperback and the average advance seemed to be in the $5k range.. but rates may have gone up in the past decade or two. I don't suspect royalties have.

          My friend Harry has a book out now - Del Rey's big fall sci-fi/fantasy mass market paperback. Someone asked how much you make, and Harry offered this link to a *Best Selling* writer who shared her royalty statement...
          http://www.genreality.net/more-on-th...mes-bestseller

          I don't think novels are a way to get rich, I do think there are stories that are best told in a novel and the doors are open for those types of stories at publishers but closed, locked, bolted and barb-wired at producers.

          - Bill
          Free Script Tips:
          http://www.scriptsecrets.net

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Book publishing questions

            On an old contract of mine, it was 10% on the first 5000 copies; 12 1/2% on the next 5000 copies; and 15% thereafter. On the paperback (of which there was one, going into two editions), I received a very standard 7 1/2%.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Book publishing questions

              Publishers are the cheapest bastards on the planet.

              And I'm being kind.
              Brown-Balled by the Hollywood Clika

              Latino Heart Project's MEXICAN HEART...ATTACK!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Book publishing questions

                Originally posted by Jake Schuster View Post
                On an old contract of mine, it was 10% on the first 5000 copies; 12 1/2% on the next 5000 copies; and 15% thereafter. On the paperback (of which there was one, going into two editions), I received a very standard 7 1/2%.
                Good grief! Umo isn't kidding! You've gotta love writing, even if just for the sake of writing. But then that is true with screenwriting it seems. Though the potential payoff seems a bit more attractive.
                My first crack at a logline usually makes a great synopsis!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Book publishing questions

                  Hey, I think things are *better* now. In the 30s & 40s Maxwell Grant wrote two novels a month to make a living... and they are still in print (though he is dead). So it was two *good* novels a month.

                  Writing is not an easy way to make a living, unless you are writing stick up notes.

                  - Bill (I have a gub, put all of the money in a bag or I will use it)
                  Free Script Tips:
                  http://www.scriptsecrets.net

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Book publishing questions

                    Originally posted by ChipC View Post
                    Good grief! Umo isn't kidding! You've gotta love writing, even if just for the sake of writing. But then that is true with screenwriting it seems. Though the potential payoff seems a bit more attractive.
                    Remember that the writer is getting 10-15% of the list price, which is at least double what the publisher is actually getting from the chains/clubs. So a writer could be getting up to 30% of the actual sale price of the book, which in these days of ridiculous paper costs leaves a pretty thin margin for the publisher. Hence some of the problems in the industry.

                    The truly ridiculous royalty rates are on e-books, where the publisher has essentially no overhead yet still gives the writer a similar chunk.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Book publishing questions

                      Originally posted by wcmartell View Post
                      Hey, I think things are *better* now. In the 30s & 40s Maxwell Grant wrote two novels a month to make a living... and they are still in print (though he is dead). So it was two *good* novels a month.

                      Writing is not an easy way to make a living, unless you are writing stick up notes.

                      - Bill (I have a gub, put all of the money in a bag or I will use it)
                      Not really, Bill. This is one of the blackest periods for publishing in many years. As my agent is wont to say, "No time is ever good for the publishing business," but from what I hear from my contacts in the business this is pretty bleak. Editorial staffs have been slashed, there's been a lot of doubling-up of job responsibilities, and advances, especially for fiction, have dropped to absurd levels.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Book publishing questions

                        Originally posted by MrEarbrass View Post
                        Remember that the writer is getting 10-15% of the list price, which is at least double what the publisher is actually getting from the chains/clubs. So a writer could be getting up to 30% of the actual sale price of the book, which in these days of ridiculous paper costs leaves a pretty thin margin for the publisher. Hence some of the problems in the industry.

                        The truly ridiculous royalty rates are on e-books, where the publisher has essentially no overhead yet still gives the writer a similar chunk.
                        That percentage is not quite accurate, I'm sorry to say. An author receives an advance, let's say $15,000. Though as his or her books sell the author makes nothing beyond the advance until the advance is met through earnings from sales. These days, especially for a midlist author, one sees nothing more than the advance and, if you're lucky, something skimmed off the top of a subsidiary-rights sale (film, translation, etc.), though even that goes towards paying down the advance.

                        To be honest--and I've been in the book-writing business professionally for 25 years--writing novels, though utterly satisfying as a practice, is hardly the way to make a living.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Book publishing questions

                          Originally posted by Jake Schuster View Post
                          To be honest--and I've been in the book-writing business professionally for 25 years--writing novels, though utterly satisfying as a practice, is hardly the way to make a living.
                          I've got two friends who'll be publishing books next year through small press, and both can maybe take a week-long vacation with their advances.

                          Anyone with common sense knows that they don't want to be a writer when they grow up.

                          (And my dad always told me I had no common sense: "Boy, you like a lost ball in high weeds.")

                          HH

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Book publishing questions

                            One of the things I learned when I spent 5+ years living in England (specifically going there to kickstart my career) is to become as complete a writer as possible. I recently blogged on this, if anyone's interested: http://www.redroom.com/blog/jp-smith...omplete-writer.

                            It really was a way for me to learn different skills that today stand me in good stead. So that novel-writing isn't the sole source of income, such as it is...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Book publishing questions

                              Good stuff, Jake.

                              HH

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X