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sgunelius
08-13-2007, 06:10 PM
I was contacted by Palgrave MacMillan to author a business nonfiction book for them. Since this book would beat my other business nonfiction book to the market, they would still consider me an unpublished author during the contracting. Therefore, they would pay me their standard royalties for an unpublished author which is 8% of net receipts. They did say this is negotiable. Also, they said they rarely offer an advance against royalties, but this could be negotiable, too.

My question is: what would be reasonable for me to try to negotiate in terms of a percentage and advance? The book is on a very popular topic, so I'm sure it will sell a lot of copies. I think the exposure would be worth taking on the project, but of course, I want to try to negotiate for as much as I can. I'd appreciate any tips or advice! Thank you!

stormy
08-13-2007, 06:57 PM
How does this offer compare to your first?

sgunelius
08-13-2007, 07:32 PM
This is actually a completely new project unrelated to my nonfiction book that I've been querying agents about. Palgrave MacMillan sought me out to write this new book.

badducky
08-13-2007, 08:05 PM
They are going to make every excuse to pay you less money, and to give you lower royalties. Because they are a business. Nothing wrong with that. If they are open to negotiations they are going to open low. This smells like their standard offer to first-time writers, but negotiations probably and usually throw all "standards" out the window.

Have you considered reaching out to a contract negotiation specialist?

sgunelius
08-13-2007, 08:07 PM
Where would I look to find a reputable contract negotiations specialist or publishing attorney?

I assumed their offer was low, so I guess I need advice on what I should ask for and accept that is reasonable.

badducky
08-13-2007, 08:42 PM
I know of one, but I don't know if this person handles non-fiction, low advance stuff.

Still, no harm in asking.

E-mail me or PM me, and I'll give you the e-mail address.

johnrobison
08-14-2007, 12:49 AM
I was contacted by Palgrave MacMillan to author a business nonfiction book for them. Since this book would beat my other business nonfiction book to the market, they would still consider me an unpublished author during the contracting. Therefore, they would pay me their standard royalties for an unpublished author which is 8% of net receipts. They did say this is negotiable. Also, they said they rarely offer an advance against royalties, but this could be negotiable, too.



Not to be cynical, but 8% of net is nothing, with many accounting systems. Royalty should be on the list price of the book.

Cathy C
08-14-2007, 01:11 AM
Yeah, I'm not real happy with the "net receipts" bit either, unless they're very clear on what fees/costs are deducted from the list price . . . or if the price is fixed to a percentage (like "but not to exceed 5% of the list price" or some such.) Definitely time to talk to an entertainment attorney about this one. Good luck!

JAG4584
08-15-2007, 02:19 AM
I am working on my NF book proposal and many say that these are low usually in the advance category. Is this always true? Also 8% is not good what is a normal royalty figure? Its all a dream until its a reality but at least if I have the dream figures I can keep going!

kimmer
08-15-2007, 07:55 AM
My advice is that if they sought you out, you have some negotiating power.

Here's my story: I just signed a nonfiction book deal with a 17.5% royalty on net receipts for the first 15,000 copies and 20% of net after that. I now understand that this is higher than normal. I also got a modest advance (less than $10k). My agent pointed out the difference to me between net and selling price but as a first time author, I think I got an average deal. A guesstimate is that I will make a buck a book. With a company as big as Palgrave, I think it's manure if they are telling you that they can't pay any advance. Negotiate for something. You obviously have something they want.

Many of these negotiations are very personal and need to be aligned with your goals. I was willing to take the deal because there is an urgency about my topic and another big publisher, who I thought was a shoe-in, passed on it. I had one of my mentors tell me "don't settle for less than $20,000 advance" but that wasn't anywhere in the cards. I took the deal and I am happy with it. I continue to work my "day job" to pay the bills but it's flexible enough that I can devote ample time to the book.

Hope this example helps.-kimmer

JAG4584
08-15-2007, 08:11 PM
Thanks Kimmer for pointing out the most important part of any deal.. if it is right for the autor the person this seems to be the most important part. I am in the early stages with agents and after reading these posts it is helping me also remember that agents and the puplishers are operated and managed by people so communication is the key.

I don't like contract negotiations much when its my personal situation I like to have help I feel better so I have looked in to attorneys to help me as often these matters a novice will be taken advantage of. Likewise communication and honesty here work wonders.

great points.

Stijn Hommes
08-16-2007, 12:35 PM
Unless that royalty is against the list price, it seems pretty low. I'd either try for a higher royalty or try to get some advance out of them. They obviously want your writing, so you have some leverage. It doesn't hurt to try to use it.