Supposedly I'm offered 16% royalty rate and the book store-price is 15$. How much would that be in royalty amount per sold copy?

Would that be just 16% out of 15$, or is 16% out of (15$ - reseller discount - whatever book tax - whatever publisher fees) ?

1 Answer 1


For a really certain answer, you'd need to look at the contract. 16% is a sort of unusual rate (at least for the fields I work in) - it's a little high to be a % of list, but quite low to be a % of net.

Are you working with an agent? One of their useful features is their familiarity with publishing terms (and scams), so they can explain the individual terms of your contract to you.

If you're working on your own, you REALLY need to read the contract, and to ask for clarification on exactly what's meant if the royalties are paid on net. (this might just be the deduction of the bookseller's discount, but it could also include printing costs, etc.) Some of the writers' associations have model contracts online for your to compare yours to. I like the one at EPIC for e-book contracts, and I know the SFWA has some up for their genre, as well, although I've never used that one.

Sorry it's not a more concrete answer, but I don't want to steer you wrong.

  • Kate, I've got a sample contract directly from the Publishing House, it says royalties are going to be paid in respect to the revenue attributable to the sales. So, I guess this would mean that's 16% of the revenue the publisher makes out of a sale right? So, you say quite low for a net ... ?
    – Ican Zilb
    Apr 5, 2011 at 11:27
  • 2
    What are you writing? Fiction or nonfiction? The two have vastly different royalty standards. Also, is it for ebook sales? Paperback? Hardcover? Audiobook? All of those have different royalty standards as well. Apr 5, 2011 at 17:00
  • 1
    I would ask your publisher to define "revenue attributable to the sales" - I don't really know what that means. And Ralph's right, the royalty rate is going to depend on a lot of different factors. I was assuming that you were writing fiction, but if you aren't, then I have NO idea what royalties are like, and even within fiction, there are other variables to consider, as Ralph outlined.
    – Kate S.
    Apr 5, 2011 at 22:35
  • It is a paperback non-fiction book, I really have hard time finding information on all this
    – Ican Zilb
    Apr 6, 2011 at 14:41
  • I know NOTHING about non-fiction. Sorry. Good luck with it...
    – Kate S.
    Apr 7, 2011 at 1:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.