richard harland's writing tips

navbar writingtips US version navbar good writing habits elements navbar US version navbar characs US version navbar story USversion navbar language USversion navbar gettingpublished USversion

 

 
Getting Published
 

 

Other Getting Published Topics

 

1. Understanding Publishers

2.Submitting

4.The Writing Life

 


site map

index

 

3. Contracts, Production, Promotion

 

(i) CONTRACTS & ROYALTIES

 

champagneSo you finally land that contract! Pop the champers! But perhaps you’ve heard horror stories about shonky contracts? Don’t worry, no reputable publisher will try to do you over. As with any contract, though, you should go into it with your eyes open.

An author can't normally improve the royalty percentage as such, and it's not easy for an agent to do it either. But you can try for a clause specifying a higher percentage if sales reach a certain figure well above the breakeven point.

Advances on royalties are paid to you usually in three portions: on signature of contract, on delivery of finalized draft and on publication. They’re money in your pocket, but that’s not why they matter.

A small advance is easier to ‘earn out’, which makes you look good with your publisher. But a big advance guarantees that your publisher will make an effort to push your book—naturally, they’ll want to recoup that initial outlay. With so many books coming out all the time, any extra bit of push is invaluable.

A truly gi-normous advance becomes a selling point in itself, attracting media and retail interest. Ah, dreams! I read about such advances sometimes in the newspapers …

As for royalty statements: I know a great many professional writers, and not a single one can interpret their royalty statements. Some swear they’re on the brink of a dazzling revelation—but even ex-accountants never seem to achieve full understanding. The ultimate complication is that books are sold Sale or Return, which means that, after a period of months, a bookshop can return unsold copies and claim a refund. The publishing house has to hold back a part of the money from sales to cover the cost of refunds, and this part is also held back from an author’s royalties. It’s a mystery tangled in a perplexity submerged in a deep obscurity …

Publishing houses aren’t very fond of the Sale or Return system, because they’re giving refunds on thumbed-through copies that often can’t be sent out again for sale. New authors should probably approve, though, because the system gives an unknown more chance of making it onto the shelves. If bookshops had to sure of selling all their stock, they’d surely incline to play it safe and stick with established names.

 

OTHER CONTRACTS, PRODUCTION, PROMOTION TOPICS

 

(ii) EXTRA EARNINGS

(iii) EDITS

(iv) THE COVER

(v) HOW SALES WORK

(vi) ADVERTISING BOOKS

(vii) PUBLICISTS & JOURNALISTS

(viii) SELF-PROMOTION

(ix) SOMETHING TO GIVE AWAY

(x) PROMOTING ON THE WEB

 
 

 

next

   
 
 
 
Copyright note: all material on this website is (c) Richard Harland, 2009-10
 
 
Copyright note: all written material on this website is copyright
1997 - 2010 Richard Harland.