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3Dynamic
07-07-2012, 10:45 AM
Good Day,

In an earlier post, I referred to my fiction novel while alluding to an engineering textbook submission.

The fiction sits. But the engineering publisher wants me to suggest royalties. They admitted to high interest in their email.

There are two tasks: 1) the textbook draft to be proofread (in itself, a lot of work) and 2) the ancillary material (which is big)

This engineering book will also be a 3D book (using webGL). This is a job.

The publisher wants me to develop the instructor powerpoints to teach from. This is a job.

The publisher wants me to include assessment and evaluation of learning. This is a job.

But they really want this new method. And they want it as an e-text.

So... I intend to separate out the job from the revision of the book.

Setting aside the JOB mentioned above - can negotiate that separately - what are the general royalties from a textbook in which publisher interest is high.

Yes, I will get a lawyer, but only after we pass this phase right now.

For now, I just need a general idea. And I do not care if I am off by some as I think the book will make money.

10 percent of profit or gross?
20 percent
25? 30?
Or do they go as high as 50?
I just need a general idea to start negotiating.

thank you

Old Hack
07-07-2012, 11:19 AM
Good Day,

In an earlier post, I referred to my fiction novel while alluding to an engineering textbook submission.

The fiction sits. But the engineering publisher wants me to suggest royalties. They admitted to high interest in their email.

The publisher you've found for your novel (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=246928)--not "fiction novel", ever--is one to be avoided.

I'm concerned that the publisher you've found for your textbook is of the same calibre.


There are two tasks: 1) the textbook draft to be proofread (in itself, a lot of work) and 2) the ancillary material (which is big)

Much depends here on whether you're approaching a trade publisher or an academic publisher. My comments come mostly from the viewpoint of the former.

Books need more than just proof reading: they also need editing and copy editing. These are all things that publishers do for their authors at no charge. If they're asking you to arrange this work, or to contribute to the cost of it in any way, I would walk away from the deal.


This engineering book will also be a 3D book (using webGL). This is a job.

The publisher wants me to develop the instructor powerpoints to teach from. This is a job.

The publisher wants me to include assessment and evaluation of learning. This is a job.

But they really want this new method. And they want it as an e-text.

So... I intend to separate out the job from the revision of the book.

I don't understand what you're trying to say here. Are you saying that you're going to negotiate a separate rate for doing the "jobs" and the revision of the text? Because as I said earlier, the publisher should take care of the editing (once you've adequately revised your book, of course).

The powerpoint presentations are something that as an editor I'd expect the author to provide but I'd also assume that the book's designer (paid for by the publisher, not the author) to work on too. The learning assessments are going to require specific skills: are you a qualified educator? If not, I'm not sure of the value of you producing these.


Setting aside the JOB mentioned above - can negotiate that separately - what are the general royalties from a textbook in which publisher interest is high.

Much depends on who the publisher is.

If you're working with a trade publisher then they should issue you with a contract, which you can then negotiate (or not).

If you're working with a trade publisher, royalties will vary depending on format, print run, and several other factors: it's very difficult to say.


Yes, I will get a lawyer, but only after we pass this phase right now.

An agent would do a better job for you than a lawyer but if you're determined to use a lawyer, make sure they specialise in IP law and that they know about pubilshing contracts, or you will be wasting your money.


For now, I just need a general idea. And I do not care if I am off by some as I think the book will make money.

10 percent of profit or gross?
20 percent
25? 30?
Or do they go as high as 50?
I just need a general idea to start negotiating.

thank you

The publisher should offer you a contract first. Then you negotiate against it. It's not up to you to open the bidding here. But generally, and with the warning that I'm not a lawyer and you'll need to know a lot more than this before you start your negotiations:

Ask for a royalty based on cover price, not on net, and certainly not on profit.

Assuming this is a trade deal and not an academic one, for print books I've seen royalties of anything from 6% to 18% on cover price, depending on the format of the book.

E-books tend to enjoy higher royalties.

Please remember that there is much more to a good contract than the royalties it specifies. And please make sure that this is a good publisher before you go any further.

3Dynamic
07-07-2012, 01:34 PM
Thank you for the advice. Just wanted to add...

The publisher for the textbook is the best in the world. The top. I don't mess with the professional stuff. I won't stay the name... I would rather not. But they are the top.

3Dynamic
07-07-2012, 01:37 PM
Just a bit more information. There are about ten textbooks in this area. But we have developed a way to make this discipline easier. It requires professors to change their notes. Once this does take hold, it will become the standard method (for the sake of my queries, I humbly ask that you simply accept that). But there will be that challenge - that obstacle to overcome.

James D. Macdonald
07-07-2012, 10:17 PM
Thank you for the advice. Just wanted to add...

The publisher for the textbook is the best in the world. The top. I don't mess with the professional stuff. I won't stay the name... I would rather not. But they are the top.

My best advice:

With an offer on the table from a top publisher you can get an agent right now. You can get agents for single deals. If the publisher is the very top of the field, you can get a top-of-the-field agent.

Your agent will know what is and is not possible in regard to royalties. Your agent will know where the land mines are buried in the contract. Random strangers on the Internet won't. Most lawyers (even those well-versed in contract law) won't.

Yes, an agent will get 15% of your income from this project. A good agent, however, will get you enough higher advance/royalties to more than make up the difference, along with giving you a lower over-all aggravation level.

Filigree
07-07-2012, 11:31 PM
Seconded. If the publisher is that big, you need an agent immediately.