Book Publishing Royalties, Contracts and Career Advice
Book Publishing is a big market so make sure you read these important tips before you write your book. Things we will cover today include:
- Publishing Advances
- Publishing as Career
- Publishing Contracts
- Publishing Royalties
About Publishing Advances
Publishing advances are payments a publisher pays to an author when it agrees to publish a book. In most cases advances are only made to established authors though new authors may receive a small advance if they have a book that really seems to be destined for stardom. The amount of advances a publisher will pay is based upon the author and the book’s potential thus the reason established authors can receive a contract and advance based solely on a book proposal.
Publishing advances can be a bad thing in the event that the book turns out to be less popular than the publisher expected. If you are paid an advance of $10,000 and the book doesn’t generate royalties that come even close to the amount of the advance, the author will not receive any royalties until the advance is utilized. In some severe cases the author may be asked to return the advance if sales turn out to be severely less than original projections. Unfortunately there is no way for a publisher to know how well a book is going to sell; all he has to form an opinion is previous sales by the same author and previous sales of books in the same genre.
Readers are very fickle and what they make enjoy one day they may abhor the next. For that reason it can sometimes be difficult for a publisher to project accurately how well each book it contracts will do. All they have to utilize is past experience, but if the market changes that means next to nothing. Market trends are very changeable and even volatile, so authors have to be on the lookout for sagging sales even in genres where they have previously done extremely well.
The print market is becoming changeable and volatile, too, because of the use of both eBooks and POD publishing methods. Though it is doubtful the print book will ever become obsolete, more people are turning to eBooks and buying from publishers using POD that the bookstores are often forced to carry less inventory than they did in the past. For the author that means less chance of seeing their books in bookstores but more of an opportunity to sell online. Some publishers are even adding CD versions of books to give readers an opportunity to listen to audio versions of popular books as they drive.
Will the changing technology eliminate the need for publishing advances? It is too early in the century to know for sure, but most people believe there will always be a demand for the printed book. After all, not everyone is interested in eBooks though few would dispute the feasibility of the POD publishing industry. As long as there are printed books, there will be a need for publishing advances. Indeed printed books have been in existence for centuries and will not likely diminish any time soon. As long as authors are still seeking publication publishing advances will remain a part of their contracts.
Publishing as Career
Your goal is to make money by publishing books. Can publishing as a career happen? There is a large number of people who do make a living publishing their books. To do so, you will need to be able to write well, write what people want to read and what people will buy to read. You can use self publishing as a way of extending your profits and not having to rely on a publisher to approve each of your books before they can be sold. Making a living as an author is a process that often requires a lot of hard work and dedication.
How To Use A Self Publisher
A self publisher, or any publisher willing to publish books for you, will cost you some money to use. There are benefits to using their services, though. For example, you only need to invest in the features and services they offer that you need, allowing you to pay less. Additionally, you do not have to take a pay cut in the books you sell. Instead, you will be able to take all of the rewards for yourself. A traditional publisher or publishing house will be more specific in the books they select to publish. Those that do get accepted must go through a rigorous process of approval and editing. When they finally are produced, the author is paid a royalty for sales, not full price for those books sold.
In order to make money publishing books, you will need to first choose books that fit two criteria. First, they must be on topics that you are an authority on or ones that you have some other foundational experience with, otherwise, you will not be the expert that people are often looking for. For fiction, you may not need this background. Secondly, you need to have a story to tell that will sell. Consumers must buy your book for you to make a career out of publishing. You may wish to look for something that is unique that will relate to the reader in some way.
To sell your books, you will want to consider every avenue possible. One of the best ways to sell books is through the Internet. There has been an increase in the success of books sold online. Even large retailers such as Amazon are selling e-books, or electronic versions of books. Consumers are able to buy and download the books to their handheld devices and read the books as they normally would. There are others who will sell their books online, through their website. This can be an ideal way to make money especially considering the range of niche markets doing well.
If you wish to make a career out of publishing your books, invest the time in finding a quality publisher to work with. Then, determine which areas are selling, including nonfiction and fiction genres. Write your book and promote it. You can make a good amount of money out of your books this way.
Publishing contracts are one of the legal steps in having your book published. You, perhaps the first time author, must consider what this contract includes and does not include prior to signing it. A variety of contracts may be given to you, some will be in your favor while others will be leaning towards the favor of the publisher. There is a need for an attorney to look over any contract you receive from a publisher, especially when the payout is significant. This will allow your attorney the ability to insure your rights are upheld within the contract.
Things Have Changed
In the earlier years of publishing, the publisher worked for the author, getting the work out there and making sure that it did well. In recent society, things have changed. Now, publishing agents are looking for virtually any way they can get money out of the book, which often leaves the author in the most vulnerable of positions. Those who do go on to fame and fortune, such as bestselling authors, are generally receive good treatment by the publishing houses, but the everyday author must take the time to insure their rights are being met first.
The standard publishing contract will outline the rights of both the publisher and the author. If you have selected to work with a third party agent, then they will insure that the contract is the best it can be for you, though you should have some type of negotiation within it. One of the key areas for this is the royalties paid to the author. Some publishing contracts may place some content within the contract to limit the author from publishing their work elsewhere even if the first company determines that they do not want to publish the book.
Your best course of action with a publishing contract is to take it from the company and read it as an author. Ask questions if you have them. For most books, you will want to talk with your lawyer to determine if the contract is legal and in the best of your interests to sign. There may be some discussion between the attorneys for the publisher and your attorney, but this is normal and necessary. Once your attorney is satisfied with it, ask them questions. Be sure you understand and agree to the final contract before signing it.
By far, most publishing companies are on the up and up and their publishing contracts are just as well outlined for the author. Nevertheless, you should know what is included and what it means to you. Having an agent to help you through the process can be very helpful here, especially when dealing with several publishers of the book.
Contract should contain information on all relevant matter including royalties, editing, copyright, and liability. It can take some time to get that first contract for your first book. Yet, once you do, you will find that careful examination can help you understand the next steps in the publishing process.
Royalties are the bread and butter of an author’s publishing career. Unlike many careers where you get a paycheck routinely, the career of a writer relies predominantly on royalties. The amount an author can expect to collect depends upon how well the book sells and how much of an advance the publisher gave the author at the time the contract was signed. The royalties the author collects will also depend upon the books retail value compared to the amount of the initial advance.
Though it might be reasonable to assume there is an industry standard or minimum royalty percentage such is not the case. The percentage you earn in royalties will differ from publisher to publisher even within the same region, so it’s difficult to tell an author they can expect to receive ten per cent or even eight per cent. Some of the bigger publishers may even pay up to thirty or forty per cent and the lower the advance, the higher the royalties will be. In some cases you may want to accept a lower advance in order to receive higher royalties. Remember, an advance is only one time while royalties are ongoing. Of course, you also have to look at the book’s potential future sales.
How do you know whether you are getting a fair percentage in royalties? You have to look at the industry as a whole, the location of your publisher, your target audience and what other publishers are paying. This is an area where it’s good to have an agent because he or she will be able to negotiate royalties and make certain you are receiving the highest possible percentage based upon your publishing experience and the potential sales of your book.
In some cases a publisher may choose to forego an advance and only pay royalties. This is something your agent will discuss with you and help you decide. In some cases it may be better to wait for royalties while in other cases it may be preferable to take an advance plus royalties. Authors that are already established and have royalties coming in from other sources may choose to forego an advance for higher royalties while new authors may prefer a higher advance and smaller royalties. The thing to consider is that if you take an advance and your book doesn’t sell as well as the publisher anticipated, you may not receive any royalties until the advance is used up.
One thing to keep in mind is that royalties are paid based on projected sales of your book. In the event the publisher underestimates your book’s potential, any advance payments will be applied to the future royalty payments. You want to think of these things when you and your agent negotiate the contract with your publisher. You want a fair contract but you don’t want to take a chance of having to return any portion of the advance to the publisher because sales are not up to the publisher’s expectations.