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View Full Version : When to go for 'royalties only' deals



veinglory
02-09-2006, 11:20 PM
Here are a few of my thoughts about 'royalties only' deals, especially as offered by epublishers.

With short stories it seems to me that many anthologies will not meet their minimum payments levels (often $10-50) for years, if ever. My feeling is that it is often more honest for these comapnsies to make upfront payment and recoup their costs over time--ensuring the writer is paid within a reasonable period. I note that Torquere Press (a small-medium sized niche epublisher whose business practises I greatly respect) moved from roylaties to up-front payments for this very reason and they are now gradually increasing the size of the payments they make as their sales grow. $20-50 dollars payments may not look like much but they are better than royalites that may be much less, and greatly delayed.

With longer stories royalties-only deals are fine if, and this is a big if, the publisher has respectable sales. It is very hard to know how well epublishers sell but a private chat with one or more of their authors can be very informative. Or you might place one story with them and then wait to see how it does before investing more of your work. Epublisher sales vary wildly. It *may* be worth putting some of your work with a new, growing company but you want to ensure that you are also with at least one established, high sales publisher if you are depending upon a regular income from your work.

I would be interested in hearing other writers' thoughts on the issue of when to take royalties-only deals.

Maryn
02-10-2006, 01:39 AM
This brings up one of the many reasons I'm reluctant to e-publish. The lack of sales figures leads me to fear I can't possibly know which e-publisher is a good choice and will produce decent sales--or even what decent sales are.

The only erotica authors I know are either print--and absolutely scorn e-pubs--or you all right here, who all seem to do romance-style erotica, which is a different market.

I do agree that an outright sale is the way to go for a short story which will appear in an anthology--but if you can get it, a back-end deal with additional payment if the anthology sells over X number of copies would be sweet.

I'm not sure how "longer stories" compares to novels. Am I right in thinking that for e-pubs there's a market for novellas, novellettes, like that? In print, that mid-length stuff--too long to be a short story, but well short of a novel--is impossible to place.

Maryn, aware she's rambling now and promising to shut up

pepperlandgirl
02-10-2006, 10:56 PM
There is a market for novellas and novelettes in the e-market, but I had to chuckle when reading a post by my fellow LSB authors, and they all seemed SHOCKED that their short stuff didn't sell as well as their long stuff.

I always thought that was a given...

veinglory
02-10-2006, 11:10 PM
I think the anthology market is slumping a bit now, but there seem to be more and more epublishers offering single shorts and getting ok sales...

I think solo short stories are more novelties and 'taste tests'.

But often, especially with epublishers, I think writers go in with very little idea of what sales will be for any length.

Queries direct to publisher tend to get coy responses that sales depend on genre, promotion etc (hints that if you don't sell you didn't promo enough... which is not my experience. Publisher is a far bigger factor than the usual promo chats, items etc). If a publisher has never sold more than 50 copies of any title they could save their contributors some disappointment by giving some indiciation of this--especially if it is a royalties only deal.

MonicaBurns
02-11-2006, 04:30 AM
This brings up one of the many reasons I'm reluctant to e-publish. The lack of sales figures leads me to fear I can't possibly know which e-publisher is a good choice and will produce decent sales--or even what decent sales are.

Maryn, I thought I'd respond with some personal experience. I started out with New Concepts Publishing (NCP) a little over a year ago with my first novella, Rogue in Disguise. It did well enough in sales, that NCP put the story into a print anthology with another author Charlotte Featherstone.


The only erotica authors I know are either print--and absolutely scorn e-pubs--or you all right here, who all seem to do romance-style erotica, which is a different market.

I would say that the majority of erotica authors (if not all) started out in ePub, primarily because NY wasn't buying those type of works. Now NY can't get enough of them. As for the authors who scorn ePubs, in the beginning, there was good reason to scorn ePub. The quality of the writing was FAR from superior and even now there's the occasional story that maybe shouldn't see the screen, but then there are print books like that too. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

Now the scorn is derived I think from a few authors who see their royalities being eaten into by new authors, new ePubs and an ever increasing group of new eAuthors. There's always a little fear when people look at the upstarts. That's ok with me. My second print book just hit the shelves today, and I feel good about my decision to go ePub first.



I'm not sure how "longer stories" compares to novels. Am I right in thinking that for e-pubs there's a market for novellas, novellettes, like that? In print, that mid-length stuff--too long to be a short story, but well short of a novel--is impossible to place.

It depends on the type of story, subject, carnality and a host of other factors, including that the editor HAS to like it. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif NCP is always looking for new work, and while they like longer stories, they are willing to look at any length as far as I know.

Best, Monica

veinglory
02-11-2006, 05:01 AM
...so long as it's heterosexual, of course ;)