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Thread: Royalties on the Net?

  1. #1
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Royalties on the Net?

    I was reading a mailing list, which (by its nature) has a lot of e-book authors on it. There was a discussion about how print publishers pay royalties (net versus gross cover price). One of the authors on the list (who has been published in print in anthology form) say that's royalties on the net are standard for print publishers. She even listed Tor, Del Rey, Kensington, and Berkeley as examples of print publishers who pay royalties on net.

    Is she right, or is this just a confusion of terms? I thought this was not standard. Is it changing?
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  2. #2
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnneMarble
    She even listed Tor, Del Rey, Kensington, and Berkeley as examples of print publishers who pay royalties on net.
    This is not true. Pays-on-net is starting in the lower ranks of places you don't want to get published anyway, as a way of stiffing the authors even more.

    I know of my own direct knowledge that Tor and Del Rey pay on list or cover price. If they started paying on net you'd see authors jumping to other houses so fast that you'd think they were on fire.

  3. #3
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    What Jim Said. I'm with Eos, an imprint of HarperCollins, and it pays royalties on cover price. This is standard for the big publishers, and for many established independents also.

    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 04-11-2006 at 03:54 AM.

  4. #4
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Thanks! I thought it was baaad.

    I wonder where she heard that? Or if she or anyone else will believe me when I post about it on the mailing list?


    Edited to Add: Is it possible she is confusing payment of royalties on net with payment of royalties on wholesale cover price versus regular cover price? But is that standard?
    Last edited by AnneMarble; 04-10-2006 at 08:01 PM. Reason: Edited to add question
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  5. #5
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    That hasn't always been my experience. I'm not sure if this is a fiction vs. nonfiction thing. I'd have to look through all my contracts to be sure, but I believe it's about 50/50 for me (half my contracts on net, half on cover price). I'll try to make time to go through them later and be more accurate.
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  6. #6
    Empirical Storm Trooper MadScientistMatt's Avatar
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    Anne, would your author friend be into writing computer books? Payment on the net is fairly common in that field - partly because these books have a much shorter shelf life, no doubt.

  7. #7
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Here are the ones I had handy...

    Hunter House: net
    Nomad: net
    Adams Media: net
    Globe Pequot/Lyons Press: list price
    McGraw-Hill: wanted net, but we were able to negotiate list price
    Moo Press: list price
    Yep... 50/50 so far.
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  8. #8
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadScientistMatt
    Anne, would your author friend be into writing computer books? Payment on the net is fairly common in that field - partly because these books have a much shorter shelf life, no doubt.
    This is a list dedicated to erotic romances of a particular subcategory. But maybe she writes computer books, too, and got that impression from her experience in that field.
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  9. #9
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I was mildly surprised at that assertion too. Maybe she got that deal a few places and is over-generalising a tad?
    Emily Veinglory

  10. #10
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory
    I was mildly surprised at that assertion too. Maybe she got that deal a few places and is over-generalising a tad?
    That was what I was thinking. Maybe some of the smaller publishers have tried this deal on new authors, or on anthologies and other unusual deals?

    Sigh. Another reason to get a good agent if you can, or at least someone who can help you figure out publishing contracts.
    THE Official FreakTM
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  11. #11
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory
    I was mildly surprised at that assertion too. Maybe she got that deal a few places and is over-generalising a tad?
    Many writers have this misconception, which I think may stem from the same place as the idea that "even authors with big publishers need to self-promote"--i.e., from dodgy or ignorant small publishers wanting to rationalize a nonstandard business model.

    There is so much misinformation on the Internet about how publishing actually works that nothing surprises me any more.

    - Victoria

  12. #12
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    Many writers have this misconception, which I think may stem from the same place as the idea that "even authors with big publishers need to self-promote"--i.e., from dodgy or ignorant small publishers wanting to rationalize a nonstandard business model.
    Yeah, that might explain a lot of "facts" I've heard over the years. Those who aren't hearing it from dodgy or ignorant publishers are getting it from someone who did learn it that way. Also, as they pass from board to board, sometimes real facts eventually get distorted the way whispers were distorted in the game "Gossip."

    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    There is so much misinformation on the Internet about how publishing actually works that nothing surprises me any more.
    You mean Bill Gates won't send me money?! And I don't have an uncle I never heard of in Nigeria?!
    Last edited by AnneMarble; 04-11-2006 at 01:50 AM. Reason: Broke yet another quote!
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  13. #13
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    But... but...

    I feel uncomfortable letting the assertion that royalties-on-net publishers are bottom of the barrel, scammers, etc. go unchallenged, provided that the net clause is strictly defined (expenses listed), and the percentage is significantly better than it would have been on cover price. The on-net publishers I work with are all respectable. I prefer cover price because I like to be able to know the exact number I'm making per book, but it is possible to make more money on net, depending on the percentages.
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  14. #14
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I agree, and the post that started all this was buy a mutli-published author and so not just speculation.
    Emily Veinglory

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    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory
    I agree, and the post that started all this was buy a mutli-published author and so not just speculation.
    That's true. Sometimes we forget that the "rules" don't always apply to all types of publishers or all types of books. Even if we wish they did. Look at gaming books, for example. The field is small and specialized, and the profit margins lower, so the way authors are paid (if they are paid), the distribution, the contract, etc. can vary a lot from big name publishers. Also, there are always exceptions even within big name publishers. For example, work-for-hire authors don't get the same treatment as most other authors. Small presses can use different rules, too -- and in some fields, many of the opportunities will be in the small press.

    I think confusion can arise when authors work for one publisher and then think that all publishers are the same. Also, even big name publishers are not created equally. That's why you need to find someone who knows contract law before signing.

    Also, I seem to remember reading that nonfiction authors are paid on the net because nonfiction is more dependent on time. A novel can sit on the shelf for a while and still be bought, but a computer manual can become outdated quickly. I could be thinking of something else, as always.
    THE Official FreakTM
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  16. #16
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennaGlatzer
    I feel uncomfortable letting the assertion that royalties-on-net publishers are bottom of the barrel, scammers, etc. go unchallenged, provided that the net clause is strictly defined (expenses listed), and the percentage is significantly better than it would have been on cover price.
    I'm sorry, Jenna, I didn't mean to imply that all royalties-on-net publishers are undesirable! Just the ones that try to get writers to believe that "all" or "most" publishers pay on net as a way of justifying their own policies (or the ones that actually believe it). I know there are reputable smaller publishers that do pay on net.

    - Victoria

  17. #17
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    I'm sorry, Jenna, I didn't mean to imply that all royalties-on-net publishers are undesirable! Just the ones that try to get writers to believe that "all" or "most" publishers pay on net as a way of justifying their own policies (or the ones that actually believe it).
    OK, we're less confoozled now.

    To me, the ones who try to tell writers that "all" or "most" publishers do something this way, even when they know better, are often not that far from the ones who try to tell writers that big name publishers never take chances, that nobody buys books in the bookstores anymore, that commercial publishers no longer edit or no longer do publicity, etc. And we know who says that.

    I have more patience with a small press that says those things because they don't know better (yet), as long as they're willing to learn better. Still, for Pete's sake, if you're gonna start a publishing company, could you please learn how other publishers work?! But I can understand that. Heck, when I first started to work as an editor, I used to miss obvious errors even as I toiled over changing "over 100" to "more than 100" because I had been "told" we were supposed to change that when I took journalism classes.
    THE Official FreakTM
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  18. #18
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Now I'm really curious... I'm hoping other people will post their experiences here.

    For the published authors around here, would you mind answering a quick "survey"?

    1. Name of publisher

    2. How are your royalties paid (on net, cover price, something else)?

    3. Genre of book

    Thanks for chiming in!
    I am no longer here. If you'd like to visit me, please find me at www.jennaglatzer.com or on Facebook. Thanks!

  19. #19
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    My last 4 books (fantasy fiction) have all been with Eos (used to be Avon, now HarperCollins), which pays royalties on cover price.

    For my YA novels, I was with Frederick Warne (then an independent, now a fiefdom of Penguin), Macmillan, and Morrow, all of which also paid on cover price.

    - Victoria

  20. #20
    Absolutely Fazed
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennaGlatzer
    1. Name of publisher
    Kenzer & Co./Necromancer Games

    2. How are your royalties paid (on net, cover price, something else)?
    Net (and no advance either)

    3. Genre of book
    d20 fantasy roleplaying game adventure (think Dungeons & Dragons)
    Last edited by DeadlyAccurate; 04-14-2006 at 04:57 AM. Reason: Thought the last paragraph sounded dumb.

  21. #21
    Reinventing Myself Scribhneoir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennaGlatzer
    1. Name of publisher
    BearManor Media

    2. How are your royalties paid (on net, cover price, something else)?
    Net, paid quarterly.

    3. Genre of book
    Non-fiction -- everything you ever wanted to know about a certain old television program.

  22. #22
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Red face

    1. Name of publisher
    Price Stern & Sloan, Los Angeles

    2. How are your royalties paid (on net, cover price, something else)?
    Net Price

    3. Genre of book
    Non-fiction, consumer warning book.


    1. Name of publisher
    Betterway Books, Crozet, Virginia

    2. How are your royalties paid
    Net

    3. Genre of book
    Non-fiction, how-to


    I'm in the same boat with Jenna, here. I was unrepresented with both of these titles and sent the "boiler plate" contract. They both told me that the contracts were non-negotiable, and that I HAD to accept net, or no dice.
    I have since learned that the first clause an agent goes after is the Net/coverprice stipulation, and always scratches the net from the contract. As a new author, I felt that I was shafted on this but could do little about it. However, I also heard that "net" deals were standard for non-fiction titles like my books, and the publishers who took them. Okay, folks, that was 15-years ago, and I don't know how the non-fiction trade has changed, or if it has remained standard. I will say this--I think that the fact that these publishers told me that the contract was non-negotiable might have been a crock, but I'm teetering on that fine edge of misinformation and ignorance.

    I have since aquired an agent, so thank God, that part of the equation will be his, and not my, responsibility from here on out. I have three novels raring to go, so we'll see what happens next.

    Tri

  23. #23
    figuring it all out
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    For what it's worth, Miss Snark has discussed this on her blog--

    http://misssnark.blogspot.com/2006/0...-squid-of.html

    and here

    http://misssnark.blogspot.com/2005/12/get-net.html

  24. #24
    Contract Killer Talia's Avatar
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    my publisher pays net. i was told it used to be on cover price but now on net = 17.5% net or 10% gross/coverprice which here in NZ given margins works out about the same!!!

    altho some publishers here pay 15% of net and then step it up if you go into reprints

  25. #25
    New kid, be gentle!
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    1. Publisher's Name- Changeling Press
    2. How you get paid- 35% of cover price(gross), monthly
    3. Genre of book- Erotica

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