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Dreaming
10-05-2012, 10:16 AM
So, I'm trying to assess where I'm at in the line up. People say one should never try to measure self through others, but alas, I can't help myself.

Here's the scenario. If you rec'd an advance of $7,500 for your book, earned out, and made an extra $1000...what percentage of authors manage this? I ask because it took years to get to this point. So for example, I'm looking to find out if let's say 50% of authors earn out their advance, or 80% - over a longer period of time? I'm not the best at math, so I don't know how to put this question succinctly.

I'm also curious how a publisher determines to let a book go out of print. I ask because I'm sure there were only about 10,000 copies of my book printed, so I'm wondering why my royalty statement shows me as selling more than that.

Color me confused. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! :)

WeaselFire
10-05-2012, 04:43 PM
I ask because I'm sure there were only about 10,000 copies of my book printed, so I'm wondering why my royalty statement shows me as selling more than that.
Did you ask the publisher?

Jeff

Cyia
10-05-2012, 06:39 PM
How many apples does it take to make an orange tree?

You literally can't compare the success of one book to another because there's no two books created equally in terms of plot, audience, publisher investment, and reader appeal. There are too many variables from advance to publicity to timing.

Not all books earn out, so if yours did, and went on to earn a significant royalty (I'm guessing we'd all call $1000 significant), you're in good shape. That means the book sold better than the publisher expected.

Sage
10-05-2012, 06:43 PM
I ask because I'm sure there were only about 10,000 copies of my book printed, so I'm wondering why my royalty statement shows me as selling more than that.
Maybe you did well as an e-book

Jamesaritchie
10-05-2012, 07:50 PM
Publishers let a book go out of print when they think most of the sales have been exhausted. Books generally do not stay in print long unless the sales numbers are well above average or rising.

Publishers hedge a bit on advances, and most often offer somewhat less than they hope the book will earn. The only books yours can be measured against are other books in the same genre, by writers of equal experience, by the same publisher, or books of the same kind by other publishers of similar size, reputation, and market presence.

victoriastrauss
10-05-2012, 09:45 PM
I ask because I'm sure there were only about 10,000 copies of my book printed, so I'm wondering why my royalty statement shows me as selling more than that.
They may have gone back to press for additional print runs. They don't necessarily tell the author when they do that.

- Victoria

Dreaming
10-06-2012, 06:26 AM
Thanks for all of your feedback!

I didn't ask my publisher because I'm too ashamed. My second book isn't doing so well, and I kinda want to turn my back on both books - but then I rec'd the royalty check and thought I may still have a chance.

I could go into more details, but I'm a bit wary about providing too much information.

In any case, I really appreciate all of your input. :)

shaldna
10-06-2012, 11:03 AM
Here's the scenario. If you rec'd an advance of $7,500 for your book, earned out, and made an extra $1000...what percentage of authors manage this? I ask because it took years to get to this point. So for example, I'm looking to find out if let's say 50% of authors earn out their advance, or 80% - over a longer period of time? I'm not the best at math, so I don't know how to put this question succinctly.

I'm also curious how a publisher determines to let a book go out of print. I ask because I'm sure there were only about 10,000 copies of my book printed, so I'm wondering why my royalty statement shows me as selling more than that.

Color me confused. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! :)

When a book earns out it's advance, this is the stage that an author will start to recieve royalties - the percentage is determined by the authors contract.

In terms of going out of print - again, this can vary from publisher to publisher, contract to contract, but sometimes it's a timed thing - I've known folks to have a contract that lasts for a set number of years, after which there is the option to renew or quit. If they choose not to renew then the book goes out of print. I've seen other contracts which state that if sales fall below a certain number then the book will go out of print.

Basically, once a book is no longer profitable then it's likely that any future print runs will be incredibly small or may not happen at all.

WeaselFire
10-06-2012, 08:14 PM
As far as "out-of-print" goes now, most of the publishers I deal with don't actually go out of print. They always have electronic versions available, and one does POD so you can order anything whenever.

On the flip side, I do technical books that have a natural expiration date. When the next software revision comes out, the old book is effectively dead. Unless I do an updated version, which, depending on sales of the previous version, happens regularly.

I also have a book that's about 5 years out of date, never sold out and still sells a few books a quarter overseas. At the current rate, I only have 31 more years of sales until I get a royalty! :)

Jeff

Jamesaritchie
10-06-2012, 09:17 PM
Thanks for all of your feedback!

I didn't ask my publisher because I'm too ashamed. My second book isn't doing so well, and I kinda want to turn my back on both books - but then I rec'd the royalty check and thought I may still have a chance.

I could go into more details, but I'm a bit wary about providing too much information.

In any case, I really appreciate all of your input. :)

My second novel sold worse than anything else I've ever written. It happens. The blow was softened by the fact that I didn't want to write that particular novel, and I told the publisher in advance that I didn't think it would sell well, but they still wanted it, and I was too inexperienced to say no.

Anyway, few writers get a hit with every at bat. Sometimes you just have to move on. And who knows, when you write a novel that doe shit it big, those first two novels might still turn into home runs.

Dreaming
10-08-2012, 02:50 PM
Hey Weasel and JameRitchie!

Thanks for sharing your hardships. Makes me feel like I'm not rowing alone. (Not that misery loves company!) lol

In any case, I am moving on because I suck at selling myself, and can truly say I tried. And hey, at least I'm still in the game. However, book three has to hit for me, or I'm hitting the road, jack!

Torgo
10-08-2012, 03:01 PM
When a book isn't available - because, say, it's sold out of its print run and hasn't yet been reprinted - the publisher will still take orders for it. In the UK these are called 'dues' (in the US I think they're 'back orders'.)

When we're trying to make a decision about whether to reprint a book or to let it go out of print, the number of dues is a factor, as it helps to gauge current demand. There's also the sales history - v important - and the possible reversion clauses in the contract (do we need to print a few to keep the rights? Ebooks don't count.)

Interesting that your royalty statement shows more sales than the print run. How much is it off by? It's worth pointing out that if the publisher orders 10,000 copies, they'll probably get more than that (as I understand it, and kind of amazingly, it's hard to print exact numbers. You switch the press off and it might keep rolling for a bit and you end up with a few extra.)

You might also have had a short reprint at some point, as Victoria suggests? I like to tell my authors when we reprint them the first couple of times, but not everyone does.

Dreaming
10-11-2012, 09:56 AM
Thanks Torgo. Your wisdom and insider knowledge is always appreciated.

I wish I could say more about this because there are other puzzling things going on, but again, the small world factor. Alas.

Back to book #3, I go.

Rhymes with Clue
10-11-2012, 10:34 AM
Thanks for all of your feedback!

I didn't ask my publisher because I'm too ashamed. My second book isn't doing so well, and I kinda want to turn my back on both books - but then I rec'd the royalty check and thought I may still have a chance.

I could go into more details, but I'm a bit wary about providing too much information.

In any case, I really appreciate all of your input. :)

I know what you mean about being afraid to go back and ask your publisher.

For one of my books, somebody somewhere down the line listed a print run of 60,000 (I think at the time that was the threshold for a mass-market PB to get reviewed in Publisher's Weekly) and that got on my royalty statement, when in reality the number of books was more like 29,000. So my numbers looked horrible, and then people couldn't get my books, but they were not considered "out-of-print" because there were these many copies allegedly somewhere. (Oh, and along the way there was a B&N signing at which no box of books appeared, so none were sold; meanwhile the box of books went to another B&N where it sat unopened as there was no signing, and no books were sold there either, and they were sent back, arghh!).

Eventually the publisher did a second printing, and the numbers of the second printing were added to that first bogus number. It took FOUR YEARS to get that wrong number off the statements for no reason I could see.

You are doing good to get a royalty check. I didn't see a check until some foreign sales, and they weren't very big checks even then.