Looking for the money

The ever insane but adorable Inspector Karamazov brings up an interesting point with this whole looking for print:

also, waitwait.

you only get paid 2 bucks a hardback? That’s…criminal.

Of course, I’m not doing this for money (by my estimation at that rate I should make… $10), but this does bring up the question of how does compensation work on these things?

The next on my list is Daw Books Inc (a member of Penguin Publishing).  Nothing listed on its site for rates but the handbook says “pays in royalties… negotiable on a book-by-book basis”.  Doesn’t tell us a lot, but I did find this handy (though mind boggling) guide to royalties.  One concrete example of royalties came out to $0.40 a book.

Next on the list let’s look at untreed reads publishing.  According to the guide, they pay 80% royalties for first-time author, 75% for unagented one.  So let’s assume worst case scenario across the board: 75% royalty and a $9.20 final discount on the book for a total of $6.90.  Pretty good but assuming they sell hardbacks, but it looks like the company is more inclined to paperbacks and ebooks.  To quote from the website:

  • The average full-length price is $5.99. Textbooks will be higher and certain special categories may have variable rates. Average price for short stories is approximately $1.50.
  • Royalties to authors are 50% of net earnings.

So we’re looking at about $3 per book.

Diversion Press I am recommending because they have tips for publishing.  The guide lists “75% of books from first-time authors, 95% from uagented writers.  Pays -10% royalty on wholesale price.”  I’m hoping that minus is a misprint.  Doesn’t seem fair that you have to pay them for wholesale price.  Glancing at their book section, looks like their prices range from $10 to $15.

The rest of my selection runs along similar lines.

So in the end, it looks like most every company runs around $2 a copy – sometimes more – sometimes less.  If anything, Archebooks is refreshingly simple in its standards, one won’t have to worry about accounting shenanigans cheating one out of their fair share (as Furious D talks about often in regards to Hollywood).


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