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Raw Deal For Authors?

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  • Raw Deal For Authors?

    I received a letter from the History Press (Sutton Publishing) on Monday inviting me to write another book for them. However on ringing them I was rather shocked to find that they had changed the terms they were offering to authors. In my last contract I was given 13% royalty, 12 complementary copies, a reasonable advance and a lump sum for photographs and illustrations.

    Their new terms are: royalties now 7.5%, 6 copies of the book and no advance!

    I cannot understand how they hope to get authors to write for them under these terms, unless they are banking on some people being so desperate to see their work in print they will be willing to practically self publish.

    I would be interested in hearing the viewpoints of board members on this point.

  • #2
    With Five Leaves, I was quite pleased with the terms I was given as a first-timer. 7.5% royalty, 12 complimentaries and a small advance. They also paid for the the archive photographs (about 400 worth)which was a weight off my mind.

    I have just finished a book which was considered by The History Press and it went to the committee twice before being pooh-poohed by the marketing and finance people.

    It is now in the hands of Amberley who are giving a sample the once-over. They got back to me within an hour of my e-mailed submission. Does anybody here know what their terms are?


    • #3
      Bob, could they simply be trying it on? Have you insisted on the old terms? Who knows, they might agree.


      • #4
        my advice... tell 'em to stick their terms where the sun don't shine.
        At this rate you boys are going to end up working for the Yankee Dollar.
        My last deal with an independent publisher was 50%, but that was the fiction market.


        • #5
          I think you'll find Bob, publishing is not the only industry effected like this at the moment. But I also sympathize...


          PS. What is to stop you setting up a website and marketing your book directly to the public? The hard thing is surely creating the publicity.
          Last edited by Jeff Leahy; 07-16-2009, 12:09 AM.


          • #6

            Originally posted by Pirate Jack View Post

            PS. What is to stop you setting up a website and marketing your book directly to the public? The hard thing is surely creating the publicity.
            But that's the galling thing. I don't have a book I want published at the moment. They came to me asking me to write a book for them - but wanting to pay me nothing for doing so!


            • #7
              I think authors are pretty much getting ripped off wherever we are. Seems publishers are taking more and more. However, I am with one pub that I'm happy with. 20% royalty on print books, seven author copies, 7.5% on ebooks. (no advance hardly anywhere) That is GOOD in America.


              • #8
                Good luck

                Good luck to Miss Mae with her book. You have now ceased being a writer and are now officially an author. Are you a member of any groups like the Crime Writers Association?


                • #9
                  Hi Bob,

                  I'm with Crime Space, a Ning social site. I usually avoid those groups that require an annual fee.

                  Do you have a website?

                  On another note, how does one include a signature to show with their posts? I just checked my CP, and didn't find anything about a signature, nor can one put up an avatar?

                  Just wondered how it's done here. I'm still new! lol


                  • #10
                    Those groups, if they are legitimate, can be very useful. Quite often they can reccomend agents or look over contracts for you.

                    My website is


                    • #11
                      What a website!
                      Last edited by Miss Mae; 05-31-2010, 03:08 PM.


                      • #12
                        Yes but..........

                        Originally posted by Miss Mae View Post
                        What a website!
                        Is that a "what a website" good, or "what a website" crap? If its the former I did it all myself, if the latter someone else did it!


                        • #13
                          Oh, hee hee...sorry! Yes, it was "what a website!" GOOD!!! You do excellent site work!


                          • #14
                            With my previous publisher, I got 10% royalty of the book price but no advance. They also paid for illustrations/photographs etc. Also 6 copies of my book free gratis.

                            With my current publisher, I get no advance and no help with photographs etc. I get 10 copies of my book and 10% of publishers income from book sales.

                            I think this is probably the standard in the industry just now, with so many small publishers going to the wall, or being even more selective in what they publish. Most is now print on demand (POD), so they do not hold boxes and boxes of books in stock.



                            • #15
                              I don’t know where you’re living, dmf, but UK publishers will beat down your door if you’ve slept with a footballer, conceived of a novel way in which to poach an egg, or knocked one out on Big Brother. Tick all three boxes and you’re guaranteed a TV series.

                              Garry Wroe.
                              Last edited by Garry Wroe; 06-01-2010, 04:10 AM.