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standard royalty rates

Does anyone have any information on standard royalty rates across the industry for a first time author of a children's picture book? I just want to check I'd be getting the decent amount. They're offering 25% per sale.

It's with Austen Macauley and I'm still making my mind up whether to take the offer as it's a contributory contract. I have already sought advice on the contract itself and I've had a lot of mixed feedback. Some say it's getting to be pretty standard these days for previously unpublished writers, others say hard no (also publisher dependent). The main issue I've found is whether it would be better or worse value to self publish and with a publisher there would be more attention to detail- technically speaking.

Any good advice on this?

Thanks very much!

Asked by: Lucy Munday

  1. Adrian Sroka on November 28, 2019


    Do you intend to self-publish, or publish traditionally?

    The time to negotiate your rights is when your publisher offers you a contract. Do not sign a contract without taking expert legal advice. If you are foolish enough to do so, you will probably find that you have signed all your rights away, and that you're tied to a long book deal.
    You should avoid all types of publisher that want to charge you money to produce your book.
    The main things you should consider are agreed royalties on a rising scale, the more books you sell. Electronic rights, English rights, foreign writes, film writes.
    Royalties are usually agreed at between 8-12 per cent a copy for a would-be author. It's important to realise that royalties are not based on the jacket price of your book. Publishers give huge discounts of 50-65 per cent of the jacket price to wholesalers and book clubs.
    Say your book is priced at £5, with a 50 per cent discount to a wholesaler, you would receive 25p a copy. That's £250 for every thousand copies, £25.000 for a 100,000 copies, so don't pack up your day job.
    I hope this brief summary offers a basic understanding of the kind of rights which authors should be aware of, and the potential opportunities. The question is how can I, the author, be doing more to ensure I am best maximising these rights?

    I hope that helps.

    Adrian Sroka.

  2. Adrian Sroka on November 28, 2019

    Don't go near them. They are vanity publishers and you won't make a penny.

  3. Lucy Munday on October 30, 2019

    Thanks very much for your comments and warnings guys,
    I looked them up too and there seemed to be a few mixed stories. I've spoken to friends who either write or work in publishing and again there were mixed reviews.
    Someone also said that for the sake of attention to detail, promotion and percentage of costs covered, going with the contributory contract may be worth it?
    I work full time at the moment so I'm not really sure how to go about beginning self publishing. Has anyone got any tips on how I can get this off the ground? Or just another publisher without the same bad reviews?!

  4. Admin on October 24, 2019

    Hi Lucy,

    Do take a look at the Society of Author's groups which are free to join - depending what you're writing they have information within these groups on standard royalty rates etc.

    For example:

    Hope this helps.

    W&A Admin

  5. Jeremy Gavins on October 24, 2019

    I'll second everything Neil says. Read the information on this website, it has all you need to know about what you need to know.

    I self-published and receive 100% of price of my book sales through my distributor, and 70% from Amazon.

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