PDA

View Full Version : What does a "good" contract look like for a first novel? (moved to roundtable)


tomtom
03-08-2009, 05:31 PM
What should I expect from a publishers contract? An Advance? How much? $ 10,000...$ 100,000? 50% of all book sales?...60%? I don't know what an acceptable contract is. I've received my first offer, but the publisher seems to be a "Vanity" publisher...they didn't ask for any money, but they have a bad reputation. They only offered 20% royality AFTER first 300 books sold. No advance! This seems like a crap contract.

Aristocrazy
03-08-2009, 06:06 PM
I'd suggest going to a literary attorney.

welcome and happy birthday tom.

Mr Flibble
03-08-2009, 06:54 PM
An Advance? How much?

Anything from $100 up.

50% of all book sales?...60%

From what I can gather, in print then 10% would be about average. More for e-book, but still about 40%


They only offered 20% royality AFTER first 300 books sold.

'Only' 20% is more than standard afaia.

Royalties: This is usually the longest section in the book contract, and describes the division of the money, provided the author hasn't written the book for a one-time payment in a work-for-hire arrangement. There's no real standard for domestic royalties, which is the most profitable segment of sales for most authors. It depends on the genre of the work and the publishing house. Ignoring super-star authors who write their own tickets, the best rate most writers can hope for is 15% of the cover price of trade hardcover books, with this percentage being achieved only after a certain number of copies have been sold. Many segments of the publishing industry have successfully changed that maximum to 15% of publisher net, which amounts to less than half the cover price. The lowest royalties I've heard of are less than 5% of net in genres like romance literature, where the publisher may even own the rights to the pen name under which the books are published.
It's common to set a number of steps with which the royalties escalate, setting a lower rate for the first 5,000 copies, a higher rate for the next 5,000, and only reaching the maximum rate after 10,000 or more copies have been sold

If you feel at all wary check out the 'bewares and background checks (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22)' forum

And / or as Aristo says, contact a lit attorney

Oh, and Hi :D

Parametric
03-08-2009, 07:07 PM
they have a bad reputation. They only offered 20% royality AFTER first 300 books sold.

If their bad reputation is well-deserved, could be you won't sell 300 books in order for that royalty rate to kick in. (Bad and/or tiny publishers may sell less than 100 copies per book. Substantially less, in some cases.) Find out what kind of sales you should be expecting.

jvc
03-08-2009, 08:30 PM
I'll move this over to the Roundtable Forum, Tomtom. You may get more responses there. Don't forget to pop back to the Newbie forum so all the nice folks can welcome you properly :) .

Welcome to the watercooler :D

Wayne K
03-08-2009, 08:41 PM
If they're not reputable I'm thinking they're going to try and get you to buy the 300 copies so you can get right to your percentage. Then they'll tell you how if you buy them you can advertise that the book is selling well. Of course you do the advertising and pick up the cost. It's endless what a unreputable publisher puts writers through.

tomtom
03-08-2009, 10:13 PM
This publisher doesn't ask me to buy books. It just has a graduating scale like 6% after first 300 sold...12% after 600...20% after first 1,000. But.. they charge me $ 10.00 a book if I want to buy my own book...course, I had Kinko print 30 of my manuscripts at a cost of $ 20.00 each..go fgure.

maestrowork
03-08-2009, 10:26 PM
What should I expect from a publishers contract? An Advance? How much? $ 10,000...$ 100,000? 50% of all book sales?...60%? I don't know what an acceptable contract is. I've received my first offer, but the publisher seems to be a "Vanity" publisher...they didn't ask for any money, but they have a bad reputation. They only offered 20% royality AFTER first 300 books sold. No advance! This seems like a crap contract.

If they have a bad reputation, why would you go with them? If it's vanity, why bother? Print your own and sell it yourself.

Badly published is worse than not published. You're not that desperate, are you?

And no one will offer 50%. Normal royalties are from 6%-15% depending on contract and types of books (mass market tend to be less). If the publisher offers you the moon (or 20% royalties after selling 1000 books), run.

NEVER jump on the first offer especially if the publisher has as "bad reputation." Would you go to the first doctor you can find who has a bad reputation?

tomtom
03-08-2009, 10:33 PM
If they have a bad reputation, why would you go with them? If it's vanity, why bother? Print your own and sell it yourself.

Badly published is worse than not published. You're not that desperate, are you?

And no one will offer 50%. Normal royalties are from 6%-15% depending on contract and types of books (mass market tend to be less). If the publisher offers you the moon (or 20% royalties after selling 1000 books), run.

NEVER jump on the first offer especially if the publisher has as "bad reputation." Would you go to the first doctor you can find who has a bad reputation?
Yes...I think you may be right. Thanks for the advice.

Cyia
03-08-2009, 10:49 PM
This publisher doesn't ask me to buy books. It just has a graduating scale like 6% after first 300 sold...12% after 600...20% after first 1,000. But.. they charge me $ 10.00 a book if I want to buy my own book...course, I had Kinko print 30 of my manuscripts at a cost of $ 20.00 each..go fgure.

They shouldn't be charging you for your own book, period. Real publishers give you author copies.

(Why did it cost so much at kinko's???? $20/ MS is WAY too high)

Old Hack
03-08-2009, 11:11 PM
Tomtom, go and have a look around the Bewares and Background Checks area of this forum to see if you can find a thread about your prospective publisher there. If you can't, then you could start a thread asking for advice about them. Or you could send me their name in a private message, on the offchance that I know about them already.

Good luck.

tomtom
03-08-2009, 11:56 PM
They shouldn't be charging you for your own book, period. Real publishers give you author copies.

(Why did it cost so much at kinko's???? $20/ MS is WAY too high)
You know...I really JUST decided to publish my work. I wrote my novels for my own audience, and my friends. I did my own artwork, designed my own cover, and had about 100 books printed. Cost was about $ 25.00 bucks each. I don't need the money from selling books, but as I age, I'm 63...I think about my legacy...my memory for my kids. Soooo...I'm trying to get published...thats why so much at kinkos.

Saskatoonistan
03-08-2009, 11:58 PM
You know...I really JUST decided to publish my work. I wrote my novels for my own audience, and my friends. I did my own artwork, designed my own cover, and had about 100 books printed. Cost was about $ 25.00 bucks each. I don't need the money from selling books, but as I age, I'm 63...I think about my legacy...my memory for my kids. Soooo...I'm trying to get published...thats why so much at kinkos.


http://lulu.com

Costs you nothing to publish with them. Only costs when you buy your book. Decent quality too.

ChaosTitan
03-09-2009, 12:40 AM
You know...I really JUST decided to publish my work. I wrote my novels for my own audience, and my friends. I did my own artwork, designed my own cover, and had about 100 books printed. Cost was about $ 25.00 bucks each. I don't need the money from selling books, but as I age, I'm 63...I think about my legacy...my memory for my kids. Soooo...I'm trying to get published...thats why so much at kinkos.

If you're more concerned with leaving a legacy and story for your family to cherish, then it sounds like Lulu.com is a good way to go. If, however, you feel that your story has mass-market appeal and a chance in today's literary marketplace, then I suggest seeking a literary agent.

ideagirl
03-09-2009, 01:38 AM
They shouldn't be charging you for your own book, period. Real publishers give you author copies.


They don't give you an infinite number of author's copies. Beyond the free copies, they do charge you, but less than cover price.

Cyia
03-09-2009, 02:15 AM
They don't give you an infinite number of author's copies. Beyond the free copies, they do charge you, but less than cover price.

True, but he didn't mention any copies being free at all.

scope
03-09-2009, 02:53 AM
If you're more concerned with leaving a legacy and story for your family to cherish, then it sounds like Lulu.com is a good way to go. If, however, you feel that your story has mass-market appeal and a chance in today's literary marketplace, then I suggest seeking a literary agent.

I absolutely, positively agree with the above. Lulu or an agent!