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View Full Version : The gold at the end of the rainbow



MarkEsq
02-28-2005, 03:05 AM
First, an honest disclaimer: I do not write to be rich and famous, I write because I like it and feel compelled to. Right, now that's out of the way, I am curious about a couple of things related to the money side of being published.

First, how much of every book sold does the author get? Is this a negotiable part of a deal with an agent/publisher?
Second, what is an average advance for, say, a mystery writer, a first-timer.

I hope these questions are in the right place and don't seem too crass, I'm just trying to satisfy my curiosity.

Thanks!

victoriastrauss
03-01-2005, 04:32 AM
Jumping in once again, though I'm not an agent...

First, how much of every book sold does the author get? Is this a negotiable part of a deal with an agent/publisher? It depends on the publisher and the format of the book. Commercial publishers usually pay 6-8% on mass market paperbacks (some authors can get 10%, but that's not typical), around 10% on trade paperbacks, and between 12.5% and 15% on hardcovers, with the amount increasing based on sales. These percentages are calculated on the cover price.

Smaller publishers may pay slightly lower percentages, or base the percentages on the publisher's net (cover price less any discounts given to booksellers and distributors) rather than cover price.

Royalties are not usually an area where you can negotiate.

Second, what is an average advance for, say, a mystery writer, a first-timer. That's really hard to say. Advances are all over the place. Average from the large publishing houses is probably between $5,000 and $10,000, though I've seen advances as low as $1,000, and for certain lucky souls whom the publisher decides to push, the sky is the limit (though no author should hold his or her breath in anticipation of being one of these).

Smaller publishers pay less--sometimes just a few hundred dollars--and some pay nothing.

SF writer Tobias Buckell recently did an interesting survey (http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/archives/001423.html) of advances in science fiction and fantasy.

- Victoria

Daughter of Faulkner
03-04-2005, 05:47 AM
You are so smart!
:)