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Alpo

Publishing question

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Let's say I write a book. Random House is going to publish it (only publisher I can think of for this question). They give me a $10,000 advance.

 

The book tanks. Sells a total of 411 copies. Doesn't even make enough money to pay for printing it.

 

Do I have to give them the $10,000 back?

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Alpo, at least you have a realistic view of your writing skills....  :D

 

NO, I dont believe you would have to refund the advance.  If the publishing company slipped up when doing their due diligence and risk analysis, then the loss is theirs not yours.

 

Of course depending on the state you are in, the publisher could always attempt to sue you for breach of contract for not writing something that would sell as well as expected...

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When I wrote my first book, Trailrider's Guide to Cowboy Action Shooting", I contacted and contracted with a small publishing house that was a subsidiary of a retailer that dealt primarily with firearms and parts.  The deal was that they would print and distribute the book, and I would get a royalty of (IIRC) $1.24 for each copy they sold, plus I could buy a minimum of seven copies at half-price to sell through my own company.  They printed 5,000 copies.  Over the years, I believe they sold slightly more than 3,000 copies, including what I bought for resale.  I think I made enough money to cover the cost of the photography I did for the book.  :rolleyes:   In another instance, a friend of mine and I had written a number of chapters for a book on Remington Double Derringers.  An acquaintance of ours offered to cut us in on publishing the book if we would invest $7,000 each! :o  We both declined, but allowed the gentleman to use our information and photos if he would give us billing as co-authors.  This he did.  Don't know how much it cost him, but he didn't sell enough copies to break even!  My friend and I, however, got the notoriety, so we came out "ahead".  I have written a book on my experiences in the Air Force.  So far, I have had copies printed at FedEx/Kinkos at a cost of about $34 apiece.  Have sold most to other Air Force missileers for less than it costs to print them.  Have not really explored self-publishing through outfits that do that.  Moral of the story:  Don't quit your day job if you plan to write for a "living"! 

Stay well, Pards!

 

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They wouldn't pay you that much of an advance unless they knew it would sell that many copies in a year or two unless there are special circumstances.

 

Three times  (years ago) I sold a StarTrek story for a yearly anthology. They paid an advance of 10 cents a word with a 7,500 word limit. I got my advance of $750 each time and every year I get a statement of earning against those advances. I will not live long enough to ever see another penny of royalties.

 

Now, if you said you had information about someone famous and were going to tell things that would make America's hair stand on end, and then couldn't deliver, they'd want their advance back. That has happened a couple of times in the past ten years.

 

In my experience self-publishing is a fool's game. If there's money to be made from a book, a publisher will contract for it. If the market isn't there, the publishers know it and reject the work. The self-publishing printer's make you think money can be made. They make the money, not you. I know of a few writer's that self-published. Not a one made back their investment. I am sure there are exceptions but I haven't seen it.

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One of my friends has published two books.  In both cases, they didn't give him any advance.  On the contrary, HE PAID THEM the publishing costs and then had to go around the country doing book signings and contacting book sellers to carry them.  He made a little money, but not much. 

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Ask Hillary if she gave the money back,:P

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smilie, thumbsup.gif

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“It was a dark and stormy night.......”

:o  :mellow:

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It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents—except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness....

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I always assumed that people who self publish aren't expecting to make money.  They just want to get their book out there for the love of writing. 

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3 hours ago, Ramblin Gambler said:

I always assumed that people who self publish aren't expecting to make money.  They just want to get their book out there for the love of writing. 

My last royalty check for "Passing Through Kansas" was $3.23.  :)

 

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