Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Agenting 101 (Royalties--part six--continued)

STATUS: Busy. Busy. And then I was busy. I’m trying to get submissions out and finalize everything for my trip to New York next week.

What song is playing on the iPod right now? TIME The Alan Parsons Project

I’m talking about royalties, right?

Okay. Dig right in. I’m not going to go into details on these but you will have royalty clauses in your contract for all kinds of specialty things—like on copies sold for export to third parties. Mail order and direct response. Special discount sales. Copies sold to book clubs. Remainder-in-Place.

And then there is a whole clause on when the Publisher won’t give you a royalty such as on damaged copies or for the blind or for promotional use.

Royalties based on Cover price will look like this:

From yesterday, Hardcover:
10% to 5000
12.5% 5001-10,000
15% thereafter

Unless you are Stephen, Nora, or John. Chances are good you’ll have some better royalty percentages.

Trade Paperback is usually 7.5% flat rate but if you can get an escalation to 10% after 25,000 or 30,000 copies, great!

Mass Market
8% to 150,000 copies
10% thereafter

There are still some houses trying to squeeze a 6% royalty (and I’ve even heard of lower) but that’s so not standard so don’t let them convince you otherwise.

Standard Subsidiary rights splits:
They are usually 50/50 with these exceptions:
90/10 first serial (and, for clarification, the first number before the slash is to the author)
80/20 UK
75/25 Translation
66 2/3 Canadian

But as I mentioned before, I’ve seen all kinds of other splits and usually with the small or independent houses.

As you can tell, in contract negotiation, there is a lot of attention to detail. Random House also just revised their boilerplate contract and want to stick in a bunch of new clauses that aren’t particularly favorable to authors.

That’s why my contracts manager can be so valuable.