Authors try to promote themselves in ridiculous ways by writing on their websites how their acim is a “must read” and contains the answer to all the reader’s problems. If you have to tell readers that, they aren’t going to believe you. Go find some legitimate testimonials from reliable people who will say those things about your book. You are not qualified to judge your own book because you have a vested interest in it.

The worst example of authors showing their egos that I’ve seen is when they post book reviews for themselves on Amazon and other online bookstores, and of course, they give their books five stars and brag about how great their books are. When I see an author give himself a five-star review, I realize the author is clueless about what is legitimate as a review; he hasn’t done his homework about the publishing industry, and he is trying to use trickery to sell his book. Not only will I not buy the book, but if there’s an option to vote on the review, I will always vote that it was not helpful.

Being In Your Face and Violating Personal Space

No one likes to have his or her personal space violated. However, not everyone has yet learned that the Internet also contains personal space for people. It’s one thing to have your book for sale on your website, at online bookstores, to promote it at websites for book promotion, or to buy Internet ads. It’s another thing to invade other online users’ personal space.

When I signed my first book contract, the first two questions my husband asked me were 1) when will the book be published, and 2) when do you get paid? When it comes to doling out money for your hard work, publishers will handle royalties differently. I have heard from legacy authors (that is, writers signed to the Big 6) that they may receive a check once or twice a year, while those with smaller houses or primarily eBook imprints may get statements and checks monthly or quarterly. If writing is your sole source of income, this part of the contract bears scrutiny, and you will need to decide if publication is worth the wait on money.

You should check, too, to see if you will receive an advance on your book. If you have visited the website for Publishers Marketplace and read news of recent acquisitions, you may see that a certain author signed a three-book deal in a “nice deal” or “very nice deal” with a big publisher. These terms are assigned to various monetary advances – a nice deal could be anything from a thousand dollars to mid-five figures, while a very nice deal indicates the author’s advance could be anywhere from fifty thousand to ninety-nine thousand dollars. Now, not all publishers award advances in book deals. In fact, some may offer you a “token” deal of about a hundred dollars to show their enthusiasm for your book.

With larger advances, though, it’s expected that your book will earn out the money given to you, and hopefully exceed the amount. If you receive an advance, you will not receive any royalties until your book has “earned out.” Think of it as receiving a loan, and you are putting up your book as a means to pay back the loan. If your book doesn’t make enough in profits to satisfy your advance, you may be at risk for getting another contract.

Publishers will set the royalty rate that determines how much money you will receive per sale. I have spoken with authors who have received royalties from as low as 11% to as high as 50% – the higher rates tended to be connected to small, digital presses because eBook production doesn’t involve as much overhead as print. Royalties made be paid on the “gross” (what is earned without further deductions) or the “net” (earnings minus various deductions involved in distribution, etc.). For example, if your publisher vends digital versions of your book through an eCommerce site that charges ten dollars per listing, that ten dollars may come out of your royalties unless the publisher specifies that it will incur those costs.

It’s important to pay attention to all royalties and payment clauses in your contract, so you are not left at the end of a month or quarter wondering why you have not yet been paid.

Subsidiary Rights – These rights different from the rights mentioned in Part One of this series. Subsidiary rights in publishing refer to the different options available for your book that do not involve actual book production.

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