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  1. eustace
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    eustace New Member

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    Two Contracts Offered - which one is best?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by eustace, Feb 9, 2009.

    Hi - I am a first time author and have been given the choice of two contracts for a book to be published soon.

    The first, is a sort of standard one offering 10% of Net Receipts going up to 12.5% if volumes achieve 40,000. Net receipts are net of returns.

    The second contract, is a litte more unusual. It is a profit sharing scheme which goes something like this.
    The publisher and myself will split the profit 50:50. The profit is the value of net receipts minus any costs associated with the book. Costs are things such as production, distribution, marketing and promotion. They have given me a loose breakdown with this system which goes something like:

    Sell 2,500 copes at RRP of 7.99 and after discounts/returns/costs I get a profit of £546


    Does anyone have any thoughts on these, especially the latter contract, or any related experiences.

    All comments gratefully received
     
  2. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Which contract does your agent recommend?
     
  3. eustace
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    eustace New Member

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    I haven't got an agent is the simple answer
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You should consult a literary lawyer, or get an agent. If you don't have sufficient knowledge about poblicationb contracts to know which contract is better from a summary standpoint, how will you be sure there are not provisions in the contract that will leave you at a serious disadvantage?
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    do NOT take any advice given here, or on any other website! [other than cog's or my 'non-advice']... hie thee to a literary attorney asap!

    will either of those publishers expect you to contribute even a single penny?... if they do, they're scammers, so run, don't walk!
     
  6. eustace
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    eustace New Member

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    hi -thanks for the replies. The two contracts are BOTH from the one publisher. As I said the first 1 is fairly standard, the 'profits' one is a new thing they are trying. The publication process is well down the road. The publisher isn't a scammer...it's one of the largest publishers in the UK and US
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are so many potential variables that it would be impossible except in the most broad terms to give adivce on which contract is best, and even then...

    Standard is normally a % of the retail price for each book sold. (for hardcover that tends to be 10-15%. For trade, roughly the same. For mass market, 7-10%...and it may be neogitated even higher) That said, there are so many other variables--returns, increases in royalties after a certain number sold, what constitutes out of print, right sold, to name a few. A contract is more than how (and how much) one is paid for each book sold.

    Net reciepts 'appears' to be what the publisher gets for the wholesale price, as opposed to the retail price. If so, wouldn't you want to earn a higher % than based on the retail price. I say 'appears' because I don't know for sure. Do you know for sure?--maybe you do.

    Profit sharing, while I have read recently some publishers are looking to go that direction, it is hard to tell. A contract should be written so that the 'profit' can be legitimately determined. What qualifies as an expense...a portion of the utility costs the publisher incurs to run the offices where the editors work?

    That is why, if not an agent, then a literary attorney would be a very good idea.

    Just my thoughts on the question. Beyond that, it is great to hear of your manuscript's acceptance.

    Terry
     
  8. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    If so, all the more reason to have a good literary agent and attorney to look after your interests.
     
  9. eustace
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    eustace New Member

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    thanks for all your responses so far.. The first contract definately says 'Net REceipts' I didn't even realise that was 10% of wholesale - I thought it was of RRP. I'm a bit green. I'm not sure I'm in a position to start negotiating though - I think what the first contract is offering is the standard they give all their authors.

    Where do I find a nice friendly literary attorney?
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could start with: AAR and Preditors & Editors: Agents and Attorneys.

    You might also look at some of the novels recently published by the house you're considering, read the the dedication/acknowledgment pages, often where editors and agents are mentioned/thanked.

    Terry
     
  11. Fire of a Rose
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    Fire of a Rose Member

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    If you haven't already, I suggest you get a more in depth explanation of each contract option. And share the information with your help. This is an important decision, so choose wisely. Good luck! ;)
     
  12. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    They are necessarily scammers. From the way the OP described it, it's a type of publishing that is a cross between traditional and and self-publishing. But they should be upfront about that being how they do things. If you didn't know that was how they worked before you submitted, I wouldn't trust them.
     
  13. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is a new breed of "hybrid" publishing companies that claim to "pay" the author a straight "royalty" as a percentage of the "net" receipts on books sold. Sounds like a traditional deal. The devil, however, is in the details. To protect themselves from financial losses, they employ POD printing practices...i.e. they only spend money as purchases come in. They have no inventory, no marketing expenses, no shipping costs. Accepting your manuscript electronically and placing it in a printer book-formatting-program costs almost nothing for the "publisher". And if it sells, both you and the publisher make money. So, what's wrong with that?

    Two problems come to mind: 1) POD produced books are usually far more expensive than traditional books in the same genre. 2) Book purchases ONLY come from marketing, not from good intentions.

    The consequences of the above are that a POD book is unlikely to "sell" because it is overpriced. It is even more unlikely to sell because POD books are not accepted by main stream bookstores, so market access is limited to internet outlets like Amazon. It doesn't matter how "profitable" the contract appears, if this hybrid company fails to obtain sales for you, then your "percentage" results in zero dollars.

    Before you hire a literary attorney, do your homework on the publisher. Find out why you did NOT need a literary agent to access the company...that makes me very suspicious. I'll bet you will find it's nothing more than a variation of the newest version of a POD company. In this iteration, instead of charging you "fees", they just take in huge numbers of manuscripts in belief that one or two of them will capture public interest and make them money. It's called "throw enough against the wall and a few will stick" theory. And...as I said...it costs them nothing to add manuscripts to their database while throwing a brief "summary" and "generic" cover design on Amazon. I'll bet a POD book with the right title WILL sell...something controversial like Obama: The Amateur President. Give it a good cover and a controversial synopsis...lots of people would buy it, even if it is crap. And, both the POD company and author would be happy.

    You might wonder, if it doesn't cost me anything, why not give it a try? Go ahead! Just remember, once you give your manuscript to that POD company, it's GONE...you can't sell it to some other company. Your years of effort are now committed to a program with almost assured failure. Well, unless it's a nonfiction with a snappy title like, "Elvis: My Secret Marriage to a Legend".
     
  14. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just as all contracts are not equal, not all Small Publishers (many of which use POD technology) are equal. Some are better than others: The manuscripts they select, the marketing that they can provide, the quality of editing, quality of cover art, etc.--including the contract that they offer.

    Some small publishers keep their cover prices close to what the major houses produce (with trade paperbacks, within a dollar or two). Others do not (sometimes double the price). Some small publishers do small print runs and/or print on demand, others do nothing other than POD. Some small publishers have distribution, others are hardly more than a printer like Lulu.com and only sell through their storefront website and maybe through other online markets, with no access to brick and mortar stores--even for special orders.

    However, Eustace did not mention what the publisher is that was submitted to and accepted...only that it is a major one in the USA and UK--which would indicate (or implies) that it is not a small publisher--one likely to use primarily POD technology for its titles.

    Eustace, what publisher is it that has offered two versions of the contract to consider?

    Terry
     
  15. biggergib
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    biggergib Member

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    Is there some rule against telling us who exactly the publisher is? It seems that would negate the need for much of the speculation on this issue.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Why resurrect this now?
     
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