1. mikeinseattle
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    mikeinseattle Member

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    Is anyone willing to cite real numbers from a recent book deal?

    Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by mikeinseattle, Oct 3, 2015.

    I keep hearing the money is terrible and no writer writes for money etc etc. But I'd still like to know how little a little amount is, in the eyes of these naysayers.

    Is anyone willing to share a recent experience (post 2010) about a book deal with a trade pub? Advance, run, royalty agreement, etc. (No offense but please no self-pub replies here.)

    Anyone?

    Yeah I know we are all broke, and you do it for love not money, but I'm just curious.

    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  2. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Don't know how many here have trade pub deals or would be willing to share. But in any case I suspect what you're looking for is ball park stuff, and that info simply isn't out there. However, there is some badly flawed data on professional authors average incomes.

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jul/08/authors-incomes-collapse-alcs-survey

    It's not good.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  3. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm

    This is going to be a bit biased because, it doesn't just count writing income. It's like median farm income, much of the income comes from outside employment. The other thing you need to consider is that this is for all writers, not just "creative writers."

    Most of my income comes from my "real" jobs, not writing. Writing is like any other addiction, you need to find a way to support your habit!
     
  4. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Khalie,

    Fraid that's data from an occupational class called writers. In essence it's people who are hired by various organisations to write stuff for them. That could be anything from screenwriters in movie companies and games, to advertising copywriters. It certainly won't include save at the periphery novelists etc.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  5. mikeinseattle
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    mikeinseattle Member

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    I find most authors aren't interested in divulging their real numbers. But I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask again.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Excellent link, thanks for posting.

    Is anybody else pleasantly surprised at these figures? I had a vague idea that if I was lucky enough to get published I might make a few thousand pounds from it.
     
  7. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Yes. However, these are self reported data and even though they are anonymised I suspect that many authors would not be so happy to report tiny advances as opposed to large ones. There is a bias, though of course there can be no data in this area that isn't biased.

    One thing that did strike me was the wide range, not just in advances given by publishers to authors, but between publishers themselves. We literally have some giving average advances in six figures, and others in the few hundred bucks. It suggests that if people want to persue a trade deal they need to pick the publishers they submit to carefully.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  8. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    I've never gotten an advance. All my money has come after the goods are delivered, and edited, and reviewed, and edited, and published.

    Honestly, IDK why so many people think they need an advance? Sure, well known and proven authors can get advances, but for the rest of us it's pretty much a cash on delivery basis. (In my world, cash one month after publication.)

    If you want to make money writing, I think it would be prudent to write something, submit it for publication, and hope it's worthy of being purchased.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  9. JBeckingham
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    JBeckingham Member

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    In my experience, I have earned a few thousand dollars per book, with a few hundred dollars more per year from library royalties (which is always an wonderful surprise when I get it, because I always forget it's coming, what with being busy writing / editing / living / etc)
    To be honest, earning anything is a plus, especially since I would do this for free just to have my books in the hands of likeminded people.
    :)
     
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  10. mikeinseattle
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    mikeinseattle Member

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    Thanks to all who responded here. Maybe more will.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  11. ADreamer
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    ADreamer Banned Sock-Puppet

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    Really if you don't have a developed reputation and as such readers willing to purchase your book regardless of how crappy the summary seems because it is written by Joe Smoe ..... it depends on what you write about, what genre / topic you cover, what viewpoint [is it typical, atypical] you take, and how good a writer you are. These are, after all, the factors that keep a book on the shelf amongst the other dime-a-dozens that aren't worth the paper they're printed on and the books people actually purchase / read.

    You can pay top dollar to some famous publishing company to sell your book - if it's not fit for lining a bird cage, it'll stay on the shelf regardless.


    I am like KhalieLa, I've never gotten an advance.

    The profit depends on what topic I am writing about - the book on bettas [siamese fighting fish] barely turned a profit at $4,000. The book on dogs from an unusual viewpoint and covering some sensitive topics fetched me well over $92,000 actually by year's end in English - and nearly the same amount [78,000ish] in one of the other languages I speak published the year after - when all was said & done [paper/hardcover & electronic]. The book itself wasn't some dime-a-dozen filled with mindless rambling but took 3 1/2 years to put together, interviewed a number of people - breeders, shelters, trainers - on some subjects and fetched more than $100 a piece @ 15% royalties for paper & 45% for electronic [which I had to fight the publisher to agree on because we both knew the book was going to sell]. If I had settled for true traditional - paper / hardcover only - I'd still have made well over $20,000. I probably drag in a few hundred to a few thousand yearly on this book with royalties and it's about 5 years old now. For the record, I also took shameless advantage of my twitter [32,000 followers], a friend's twitter [50,000+ followers] and the band website of my uncle [over 250,000 followers] to advertise.

    Keep in mind that dogs are a subject - like dieting & self-help - in a field that anyone with even a tiny fraction of knowledge can make money in if what you write is believable.


    On the other hand, the non-fiction book I am dragging my feet on now - probably won't even break even because it's on a subject most people would rather ignore. I know this, it's the reason why I am not even using my name but a pen-name to avoid any issues due to the sensitivity of the subject.

    http://brendahiatt.com/show-me-the-money/traditional-publisher-survey/
    Is interesting & biased because you have no way of telling if the writers are Jack & Jill who went up that hill.... or J. K. Rowling and other known authors.


    My writing though is a hobby - like my painting & photography is. It adds to my typical income. I am, after all, not crazy enough to think I'm Rowling or anyone else likewise famous.
     
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