Self-published novel blew up. Traditional publishers now approaching. Financial dilemma ensues

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Blackwell

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My self-published horror novel has become quite popular, and now I'm making upwards of $2000 / month in royalties from it. I've been approached by a few publishers, and one of them is adamant that a proper re-release would be quite successful. The catch is that they want me to pull the book off the market - effectively ending my revenue - until re-release in a year with a major marketing campaign.

I have no idea what to do. I'm in over my head and I know nothing about traditional publishing houses. They're also insistent that nobody really gets advances anymore, and thus they are not going to offer an advance. But their royalty rate is allegedly higher than the industry standard (I haven't seen the contract yet).

What would you do?
 

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$2K/month? I wouldn't change a thing.

Write a follow-up and sell that to a trade publisher.

ETA: Helix has the right idea. Also, I wouldn't consider an advance less than one that'd compensate you equivalently for the time the book was off the market.
 

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They're also insistent that nobody really gets advances anymore, and thus they are not going to offer an advance. But their royalty rate is allegedly higher than the industry standard (I haven't seen the contract yet).
Run. They're lying. Respectable SF / F and Horror houses do pay advances AND royalties. And you are already making money. Bad deal. At a minimum the advance should be morer than you are making now, each month from now until release.

If one publisher is interested another will be as well.

Start shopping for an agent. Look at who reps authors in your genre, authors whose names you know.

NEVER sign a contract until a qualified, respectable, experienced agent who reps authors you recognize, looks at the contract.
 
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KingM

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The not paying an advance part is BS. There's nothing wrong with trying to seek trad pub if that's what you want, but if someone has no skin in the game, why would you trust them with a proven money maker. Personally, I don't submit to non-advance paying publishers; I've never once had one of my writers make any decent money out of such a deal.

My advice: go big or stay indie.
 

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They're also insistent that nobody really gets advances anymore, and thus they are not going to offer an advance. But their royalty rate is allegedly higher than the industry standard (I haven't seen the contract yet).

What would you do?

Oh god, RUUUNNNNN. They are LYING through their teeth!

If your goal is trade publishing, then get a literary agent. Don't accept any publishing offer without an agent negotiating it on your behalf. Your agent will not only push the advance higher, they will also argue for more rights. If you're not interested in trade publishing, then keep doing what you're doing because you clearly know how to do it. Congratulations on your success!
 

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I have no idea what to do. I'm in over my head and I know nothing about traditional publishing houses. They're also insistent that nobody really gets advances anymore, and thus they are not going to offer an advance. But their royalty rate is allegedly higher than the industry standard (I haven't seen the contract yet).

What would you do?

The bolded part set off all kinds of alarm bells, as it did for the others. When someone who stands to make money off my work tells me how the industry operates it just reeks of scammer. Check them out at the link Mccardey provided, and elsewhere. If our forum here doesn't have a thread for this publisher, start one and see who here has dealt with these folks.

Others here are waaaay more experienced with publishing than I am, but a few questions come to mind immediately. Have you heard of them before, or read any books they've published? (If not, that might be something to look into.) Who else is published by them? (If nobody you've heard of, that might be something to consider.) How do their books' sales rankings look on Amazon? (If their rankings are over one million, they've probably sold very, very few, if any, copies.) Oh, are they on Amazon? How about Barnes and Noble? Or, where, exactly, can you find their books if not there? (If you can't find their books, readers won't find yours.) An interesting situation I encountered some time ago: The publisher's website listed a book, and on Amazon it was listed as having a different publisher. I don't know what it's called (other than a scam) but some "publishers" are actually "self-publishers for hire" and just post their client's book up on Amazon and aren't actually publishers at all; they are doing nothing the authors couldn't do themselves. Have they said they will ask you to submit a marketing plan? If so, that should concern you; it's likely they will ask you to do all of the marketing, in which case you might as well keep self-publishing since you're already doing it and making it work. Participating in marketing is fine, but having it all fall on you is another matter.
 

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Oh god, RUUUNNNNN. They are LYING through their teeth!

If your goal is trade publishing, then get a literary agent. Don't accept any publishing offer without an agent negotiating it on your behalf. Your agent will not only push the advance higher, they will also argue for more rights. If you're not interested in trade publishing, then keep doing what you're doing because you clearly know how to do it. Congratulations on your success!
Sadly I can't like this twentysevenmillionbajillion times, but THIS. THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS.
 
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frimble3

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What's the dilemma? You're making $2000 a month now.
This unnamed publisher doesn't seem to be offering anything except big talk.
Stick with what's currently working, get an agent and have them shop your book (and it's sales record) around.

In the meantime, do you have a sequel, or another book that you're working on? If the first one is doing well, you're building a readership for the next. Give the people what they obviously want.
 

waylander

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$2k/month is very good money! This level of success should get you interest from top level agents. Do not sign anything until you have one.
 
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Laelia

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Woo! Congrats, that's huge! I can offer no advice of my own because I'm a mere amateur but I do know that others on here know a heck of a lot and their advice is solid. So, follow their guidance - they know their onions.
 

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Congratulations. And unless someone comes to you with a very large hat in their hands, I'd run. I'd have laughed this offer off and deleted it without a second thought when I got to the part about giving up $24,000 so I can give them some portion of it. If anything, it's one more bit of validation that you've written Good Stuff(tm) and that you should keep doing what you're doing. 2k/month is now in the territory that you can afford to farm out some of the stuff that you hate or aren't good at to a virtual assistant while you keep writing.
 

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Yeah, advances are definitely still a thing, and if you want to sell rights to a publisher, I agree on getting an agent.

I would spend a little time thinking about what YOU want from a publishing career. What is your ideal scenario? How much do you see yourself writing, do you like self-publishing, etc. I've self-published many books, but I have a trade deal as well (the book will be out this fall)...personally, I like having both, but everyone is different.
 

Blackwell

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$2K/month? I wouldn't change a thing.

Write a follow-up and sell that to a trade publisher.

ETA: Helix has the right idea. Also, I wouldn't consider an advance less than one that'd compensate you equivalently for the time the book was off the market.
I 100% agree with this. It makes no financial sense to do anything else.
 

Blackwell

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Run. They're lying. Respectable SF / F and Horror houses do pay advances AND royalties. And you are already making money. Bad deal. At a minimum the advance should be morer than you are making now, each month from now until release.

If one publisher is interested another will be as well.

Start shopping for an agent. Look at who reps authors in your genre, authors whose names you know.

NEVER sign a contract until a qualified, respectable, experienced agent who reps authors you recognize, looks at the contract.
Thank you very much for this advice.
 

Blackwell

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What's the dilemma? You're making $2000 a month now.
This unnamed publisher doesn't seem to be offering anything except big talk.
Stick with what's currently working, get an agent and have them shop your book (and it's sales record) around.

In the meantime, do you have a sequel, or another book that you're working on? If the first one is doing well, you're building a readership for the next. Give the people what they obviously want.
I do have a prequel in the works, and I will definitely shop this around to publishers who give advances... thank you for the advice!
 
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Undercover

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I would agree with the others, that is total bs about the no advance. As others have said, that is definitely still a thing.

I wouldn't submit to publishers first for your new work. I would try an agent first. Let them know of your self publishing success. That should definitely help get you some bites.
 

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I don't know if this question is allowed here, but can I ask where you've posted/distributed your novel that you're receiving such readership? Amazon and/or elsewhere?

And I agree with the rest. Run. There are other publishers.
 

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