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Q: What percentage of profits are shared between authors and publishers? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Subject: What percentage of profits are shared between authors and publishers?
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: dho1115-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 06 May 2006 14:54 PDT
Expires: 05 Jun 2006 14:54 PDT
Question ID: 726138
When a writer submits a book, such as a novel or non-fiction book to a
publishing company and the publishing company decides to publish the
book, what percentage of the profits does the author himself get? How
are the profits split between the author and publisher?
Subject: Re: What percentage of profits are shared between authors and publishers?
Answered By: belindalevez-ga on 07 May 2006 05:27 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
<There are two main ways that the publisher pays an author ? flat fee
and royalties.

Flat fee.
The author will be offered a sum of money for the copyright. For
example $5,000 may be offered. No further payment will be made to the
author. The book may sell few copies in which case the publisher will
lose money on the deal. Alternatively the book maybe a best seller and
sell millions of copies. The publisher will earn a lot of money but
the author will earn just $5,000.

The author grants a licence to the publisher to publish the book in
return for a royalty on all copies sold. There is no standard royalty
agreement. It is up to the author to negotiate the best deal possible.

Royalties are paid either as a percentage of the price of the book or
as a percentage of publishers net receipts and vary from publisher to
publisher. There are numerous different types of royalties that may be
paid at different rates. Royalties may be paid at a lower rate on
remainders (the publisher decides that it will no longer publish the
book and sells off any remaining copies in stock). There are
royalities for quotation, newspaper and book club and many other
subsidiary rights.

The type of book published will affect the royalties. Highly
illustrated books command a lower percentage. Hardcover books
generally pay a higher percentage than paper back books. Due to high
discounts offered by publishers to high volume booksellers, many
publishers are nowadays basing the royalties on their net receipts.

As a guide
Hardback books ? 10% to 15% of the published price.
Paperback books ? 7.5% to 12.5% of the published price or of
publishers net receipts.

Authors are usually paid their first year?s royalties in advance. For
a first book the royalty paid may be very low. Authors can usually
negotitate a higher royalty for their second and subsequent books.

Advances are generally paid in two instalments. The first half on
signature of the publishing contract and the balance on delivery of
the manuscript.

The Authors Guild
This is an organisation that advocates writers? interests.
According to the Authors Guild, you should earn royalties for sales of
your book that are in line with industry standards. For example, many
authors are paid 10% of the retail price of the book on the first
5,000 copies sold, 12.5% of the retail price on the next 5,000 copies
sold, and 15% of the retail price on all copies sold thereafter.

The Writer?s Guild of Great Britain.

Inside Publishing ? advances and royalties.
This article gives an explanation of the amount paid in advances and royalties.

<Search strategy :>

<writers guild>

<Hope this helps.>
dho1115-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.00
Excellent answer. Thanks!

Subject: Re: What percentage of profits are shared between authors and publishers?
From: gfs-ga on 06 May 2006 18:37 PDT
Here is the quick answer: An author should get 10 % of the list
(going) price of the book and no advance. In other words, the author
receives 10 % of the reveneu, the publisher gets 90 % of the revenue.
Under no circumstances will a legitimate publisher expect the author
to PAY for getting published. Again, authors get a percentage of the
revenue and do NOT pay for getting published.

Here is the more detailed answer:

And here are two links that will discuss publishing even in more detail:

Good luck!
Subject: Re: What percentage of profits are shared between authors and publishers?
From: atk-ga on 06 May 2006 19:38 PDT
Adding to the previous comment, I'd just say that it's probably not
helpful to think of (as phrased in the initial question) of the
author's share of the *profits* of the book. That is, in the sense
that profit is usually defined in some sort of
revenue-received-minus-costs way, the author should be paid whatever
the author is paid regardless of whether the book is "profitable" or
not from the publisher's point of view.

Also with regard to the previous comment, I'd say that I wouldn't
necessarily agree that the author should get *no* advance against
earned royalties. Certainly, an advance can be a legitimate part of an
author's compensation. Also, the 10% of list price figure, while
fairly typical, should not be taken as written in stone; for certain
kinds of books, or for certain categories, (or even for certain kinds
of sales made by a publisher) an author may well accept a lesser
royalty percentage, or a royalty percentage calculated on something
other than the book's list price. The important thing is that (1) the
author is agreeable to and fully understands the royalty terms and (2)
that, as said in the previous comment, that the money flows to the
author--i.e. that the author does not pay to get published.  (That
said, there are co-venture arrangments between publisher and author
where an author takes more of a financial risk, but reaps a greater
revenue than a typical royalty, but those are not likely to be of
interest or available to a typical author...)
Subject: Re: What percentage of profits are shared between authors and publishers?
From: probonopublico-ga on 06 May 2006 22:57 PDT
With my first book (which was published by mainstream publishers) I
got the usual 10%, although I did lots of promotional stuff at my own

With my second book, I did a deal with a specialist publisher and got
a third of the revenues. This was much more rewarding.

I now have my own publishing company and so I get all the profits.
This is by far the greatest fun.
Subject: Re: What percentage of profits are shared between authors and publishers?
From: myoarin-ga on 07 May 2006 01:56 PDT
In some cases, publishers will commission an author and pay a flat
amount to write a non-fiction book that they want for a series of some
type, e.g., a series on hobbies or cars, etc.
Subject: Re: What percentage of profits are shared between authors and publishers?
From: atk-ga on 07 May 2006 07:37 PDT
If I can add one point of clarification to the answer and some of the
comments with regard to instances when an author is paid a flat fee...

It is true that many cases where an author is paid a flat fee are
cases where the author does not own (and/or cedes to another party)
the copyright of the work--a "work made for hire" situation--it's not
a prerequisite. Who owns the copyright to the work is one issue. How
the author of the work is paid is another issue. And they're not
necessarily connected.

That is, it's possible that an author who own the copyright of his/her
own work may accept payment as a flat fee. It's also possible that an
author of a work where someone else owns the copyright is nonetheless
paid by some sort of royalty. (For example, the author of a movie
tie-in novelization may indeed earn some modest royalty on copies of
the book sold even the though the copyright is owned by the movie

Just a nitpick, but it's worth keeping in mind when keeping in mind
all the various permutations by which books are written and authors
are paid.

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