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What's a typical YA NF library binding book advance/royalty %?

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I recently got my first contract to do a YA NF library binding book on an overall topic. (It's a specific micro-area of science.) I sought advice from the Author's Guild on the contract, and they pointed out that the advance and royalty percentages were "abysmally low." However, it's a library binding book that will likely only have a shelf life of about 5 years, and most purchasers will be schools, libraries, etc. So I don't know if AG was thinking of it that way. Now I'm wondering what *is* typical for this type of book. What I was offered was the following choice:  $3.5K flat fee, copyright in publisher's name OR $2.5k advance with royalties (6% hardback, 3% paperback, 10% ebook and audio), copyright in my name. However, the e-book is actually pdf, not a typical Kindle-type book, and there won't be a paperback. I calculated how many needed to be sold to earn out my advance on the latter option, and it seemed that was the better bet, plus I would keep my copyright, which is extremely important. However, should I be trying to negotiate for something different than this? How does this compare to other arrangements? (Re: my own experience: I have one adult NF book coming out April 5 with a major publishing house in NY, and I have four NF MG work-for-hire books, two of which are out and two of which come out next year.)
#1 - March 03, 2016, 06:57 PM

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Congratulations Tara! Offers vary wildly depending on publisher and writer. Your offer sounds on the lower end but if it's a smaller house, they probably can't offer more. Is there room for negotiation? If they are, I'd ask for a higher royalty, escalation clause, and more author copies. The worst that they can say is no to everything (but they might not) and then you'll have to decide whether this is fair, or if you could better with another house. Given that it's a niche market, I don't know.

Good luck and please let us know how this turns out.

Vijaya


#2 - March 04, 2016, 08:56 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Thank you! That's helpful to know. I think there is room for negotiation, so I think I'll ask for $3K advance and to bump the hardcover royalties to 10%. I'll also ask for more author copies. I'm not sure if an escalation clause will be relevant because I don't think sales get too high, but I suppose I could ask just in case. What is the typical first "step" in an escalation clause? Is it 10,000 books or something similar?
#3 - March 05, 2016, 12:49 PM

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