How Do Book Royalties Really Work

How Do Book Royalties Really Work

Are you a writer? Have you ever written your very own book? If you have, the question of how do book royalties really work usually pop out? First things first though let’s define what book royalties are. Book Royalties are the payments that a publishing company pays the author for rights to his or her book.

Book royalty payments usually occurs when the book publisher contacts an author to grant the publisher the right to publish the work for agreed upon amount of money. The royalty is predominantly expressed in as a percentage of sales. The usual practice of most book publishers is to pay a royalty on the list price of a book.

How are Book Royalties calculated?

When it comes to calculating book royalties, the most basic concept is that the author receives a percentage of the revenue for each book sold. But this is merely an oversimplification of how book royalties are calculated. The exact calculations and percentage cannot really be generalized because it depends on a variety of factors.

These factors are the size of the publisher, the author’s platform and the author’s marketability and criteria. It also depends on what type of book the author is selling and in what format it is made?

How do writers make money on their books?

Authors are paid in three ways by their publishers.

  1. Flat fee: The flat fee is a set amount of money that is agreed upon by the author with the publisher. This pay scheme has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of this pay scheme is that it is given up-front and is usually a big amount of money for a first payment. The only disadvantage is that it is a set amount, thus even though your book may make a good amount of money in the future, your royalties will still stay the same.
  2. Royalties: The royalty is a small payment paid to the author for each one of his books sold. The payments are sent on a regular basis as long as the book is in print and still selling. They are sent on a regular schedule which is usually twice a year. The check is usually sent through the publishing agent.
  3. Advance: The advance is a larger amount of money compared to the It is technically a promise of more payments if the book does well. The approximate amount of the advance against royalties is based on certain factors, these are the size of the publisher, the historic performance of similar books in the marketplace and the author’s track record.

How much are authors expected to earn from their book?

How much money you get for your book really depends on the terms you have with your publisher. It also depends on which pay scheme and how many books you sell. If the pay scheme is a flat fee it is usually a bigger amount because it is technically a payout for rights to the book. One example would be getting a large payout of $20,000 for rights to your book.

One reason why publishers would pay such a large sum is because publishers see a lot of potential in the book, thus they are willing to pay a good amount for the rights.

If the pay scheme is in royalties, the amount of money that the author would receive would really depend on the number of books sold. When it comes to Advance payments the author makes money by being given an advance for the rights to the book and receives smaller payments afterwards.

Which pay scheme is the best choice for writers?

It all really depends on the author. If you want to get paid a large payout once you should take a flat payout, but do not expect to get paid any further.

If you want to get paid at intervals (mostly two times a year) you should take the Royalty payments. With royalty payments you are given a steady pay-check as long as your books are selling. The only setback to this, is that the payments really depends on how many books are sold. So should the book stop selling, you are technically out of a paycheck.

Should you choose to go with advance payments, please take note that this payment scheme is given upfront by the publisher. The payments are not as big as the flat-out payments but is still substantially larger than the royalty payments.

This pay scheme is the most popular nowadays because the author is not only given a substantial amount of money but there is also the promise that the author will be paid payments once the book starts selling. All in all the main decision is all up to the author and how he or she wants to earn.

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