This Writing Life
Writer and psychologist.
View all posts by Ian Hocking
I’m flattered to have stimulated such a thoughtful blog! Alas my play has finished its run by now, but there’s always the film: see Pinter & Martin for details.
Great piece, Ian. It made me think, for no good reason, of this sketch by Mitchell and Webb.
Hope things are going well with you.
did that url work???
Thanks for your comment, Martin. Nay, sir, my thoughtfulness pales in comparison with the original article. Hope the film is a success!
Thanks, Roger. How’s it going with you? Six minutes of battery life remaining in this pub, unfortunately. Will check out the sketch anon. Love Mitchell and Webb, particularly their smug web adverts…
Ah well, you being a mac-lover, you would like them!
Interesting piece. I’m currently getting close to finishing polishing my first novel and am pondering whether to send it out to bricks and mortar publishers, agents or do it myself.
Lots to think about.
“publishers only cough up on royalties once the publisher’s own outlay has been recouped; this includes all sorts of little charges, including publicity.”
I’ve not heard of that before.
Royalties are a fixed amount per book, and they’re payable as soon as copies sold * royalty is greater than the author’s advance. (Leaving aside amounts held back for returns, reduced royalties for certain kinds of sales, several books on the same contract and so on.)
An an example, if an author gets a $5000 advance and royalty is (for the sake of round numbers) $1 per book, after 5000 copies have sold the author is entitled to royalties of $1 per copy on any further sales. No expenses are deducted from this by the publisher.
Obviously, if I’m wrong about this I’m keen to hear about it.
I guess it’s an empirical point, Simon, and the more counterexamples the better. My contract with my first publisher certainly included this, though that might be because the publicity was quite limited (probably less than one-hundred quid, but that’s a large number of copies I’d need to shift). Also included were ARPs, I think. I’ve heard other authors talking about this and they’ve stated that their royalties kick in once the publisher’s costs (including various publicity things) are recouped, not before. I’m more certain of this practice happening in the music industry. If it is limited with regards the book industry, well, that would be great.
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