Tales and thoughts from the coal face of writing and life from the agoraphobic and crime obsessed author of Vile City (Detective in a Coma book 1) Jennifer Lee Thomson. She also writes as Jenny Thomson.
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Royalties v flat fee
Today, I was asked by a writer friend,
who'd been offered the choice of a percentage of royalties or a flat fee for
his book what he should do.
So far I've had six books published, all a
mixture of advance and royalties and just flat fees.
The book that has sold the most copies,
took 2 weeks to write, but was my own concept. It has sold in the tens of
thousands and is still in print over a decade later and still selling.
I was paid one thousand pounds to write it
and it's made the publishers many times that amount.
There are days when I regret not pushing more
for royalties (the publisher commission most of their books on a flat fee
basis), but I estimate that in total, including the fee, I've made three
thousand pounds from this book. This extra two grand came from articles I sold
to magazines and newspapers on the back of the book.
I was paid an advance of 500 pounds for my
second book and given royalties. The book took months to write and was very
stressful. The topic gave me nightmares.
So far, I estimate I have made round about
4 thousand pounds from the book. I've had to do a lot to promote it and a huge
chunk of that money has come from the PLR and ALCS.
Without that money the reward for so much
work would be an insult. Well, at an income of four thousand, I estimate I made
less than a pound an hour. Only a writer would work for that!
So, what would my advice be -
If you want a guaranteed fee, opt for the
flat fee. But, only if it's FAIR.
I would still always try and get royalties
and an advance. Your book might sell well, like my flat fee one did. But,
remember, with royalties you will be relying on the publisher to actually sell
your book. Of course, you need to be proactive there too.