November 10, 2005

Romance Royalties Revealed

I think it's smart to put any snobbery aside (you know who you are) and recognize that lots and lots of readers are out there, choosing romances -- because these books give them something. And I predict that sales of romances are going to continue to increase, maybe even skyrocket, as the economy gets tighter and tighter, and the media keeps up its Fear Campaign (It's Y2K, the end of the world! It's Global Warming, the end of the world! It's terrorist attacks, the end of the world! And, now, currently -- it's the avian flu, the end of the world! The sky is falling!)

So, let's talk numbers here. Romance writers are a helpful, friendly bunch (see PBW, for example). Two successful authors (read that: earns living by writing, no day job) have both shared the wealth, so to speak, in recent postings.

First, Brenda Hiatt keeps track of the bottom line over at her website, under the tagline "Show Me the Money!" And, as of the date of this posting, her survey showed:

Publishing House/# of titles included

Avalon.............................................................................................................17
Average advance (first book): $1000
Average advance (subsequent books): $1000
Advance range: $1000 - $1200
Standard royalty percentage: 10%
Average earn-out: $1200 Range: $1000 - $2100

Avon/HarperCollins ...........................................................................................55
Average advance (first book): $13,500
Average advance (subsequent books): $26,500
Advance range: $3500 - $100,000
Standard royalty percentage: 8%
Average earn-out: $26,000 Range: $7000 - $100,000

Baker/Revell.....................................................................................................3
Average advance: $10,000
Standard royalty percentage: 8% (of net)
Average earn-out: n/a

Bantam/Dell....................................................................................................10
Average advance (first book): $7500
Average advance (subsequent books): $13,500
Advance range: $7500 - $25,000
Standard royalty percentage: 8%
Average earn-out: n/a

Barbour & Co. (Heartsong Presents).......................................................................7
Average advance (first book): $2600
Average advance (subsequent books): $2700
Advance range: $2500 - $2800
Standard royalty percentage: 8%
Average earn-out: $2750 Range: $2500 - $3600

Barbour & Co. (Novellas).....................................................................................7
Average advance (first book): $1000
Average advance (subsequent books): $1000
Standard royalty percentage: 2.5%
Average earn-out: n/a

Berkley/Jove "line" books...................................................................................33
Average advance (first book): $4600
Average advance (subsequent books): $5875
Advance range: $3,200 - $8,500
Standard royalty percentage: 4% - 8%
Average earn-out: $6,500 Range: $3,200 - $10,000

Berkley/Jove (single title)..................................................................................7
Average advance (first book): $7000
Average advance (subsequent books): $12,500
Advance range: $6000 - $30,000
Standard royalty percentage: 6% - 8%
Average earn-out: n/a

BET..............................................................................................................6
Average advance (first book): $2500
Average advance (subsequent books): $7600
Advance range: $2500 - $15,000
Standard royalty percentage: 4% - 6%
Average earn-out: n/a

DiskUs...........................................................................................................18
Average advance: none standard royalty percentage: 40%
Average earn-out: $25 Range: $0 - $130

Dorchester/Leisure.........................................................................................42
Average advance (first book): $1950
Average advance (subsequent books): $9600
Advance range: $1000 - $60,000
Standard royalty percentage: 4% - 6%
Average earn-out: $7,500 Range: $2,000 - $15,000

Dutton/Signet/NAL (single title)...........................................................................14
Average advance (first book): $8750
Average advance (subsequent books): $37,000
Advance range: $7500 - $85,000
Standard royalty percentage: 8%
Average earn-out: n/a

Dutton/Signet (Regency)....................................................................................12
Average advance (first book): $3500
Average advance (subsequent books): $4000
Advance range: $3000 - $5000
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: $6000 Range: $3000 - $7500

Ellora's Cave ..................................................................................................95
Average advance: none
Standard royalty percentage: 40% of net / 37.5% digital / 7.5% print
Average earn-out: $2340 Range: $350 - $9000

Ellora's Cave (anthologies/novellas)......................................................................19
Average advance: none
Standard royalty percentage: varies by number of authors
Average earn-out: $940 Range: $300 - $2300

Fiction Works....................................................................................................5
Average advance: none
Standard royalty percentage: 30%
Average earn-out: $150 Range: $0 - $350

Five Star/Thorndike (hardcover)...........................................................................6
Average advance: $1200
Standard royalty percentage: 10%
Average earn-out: $1275

Genesis...........................................................................................................6
Average advance (first book): $650
Average advance (subsequent books): $2000
Advance range: $500 - $2500
Standard royalty percentage: 6% ("of invoice")
Average earn-out: n/a

HardShell Word Factory.......................................................................................21
Average advance: none
Standard royalty percentage: 30%
Average earn-out: $185 Range: $25 - $475

Harlequin American..............................................................................................23
Average advance (first book): $4200
Average advance (subsequent books): $4800
Advance range: $4000 - $5500
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: $10,000 Range: $7300 - $16,000

Harlequin Blaze......................................................................................................20
Average advance (first book): n/a
Average advance (subsequent books): $6200
Advance range: $4500 - $10,500
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: $12,200

Harlequin Historical..............................................................................................42
Average advance (first book): $5000
Average advance (subsequent books): $6800
Advance range: $5000 - $15,000
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: $13,700 Range: $6500 - $24,000

Harlequin Intrigue..................................................................................................24
Average advance (first book): $4000
Average advance (subsequent books): $6000
Advance range: $3500 - $7000
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: $17,000 Range: $11,000 - $18,000


Harlequin Mills & Boon........................................................................................3
Average advance (first book): $2500
Average advance (subsequent books): $2500
Standard royalty percentage: 4-6%
Average earn-out: n/a

Harlequin Romance ...............................................................................................8
Average advance (first book): $2600
Average advance (subsequent books): $2800
Advance range: $2600 - $3000
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: n/a

Harlequin Superromance......................................................................................43
Average advance (first book): $5000
Average advance (subsequent books): $5400
Advance range: $5000 - $6000
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: $24,300 Range: $10,000 - $58,000

Harlequin Temptation...........................................................................................51
Average advance (first book): $4100
Average advance (subsequent books): $5000
Advance range: $4000 - $10,000
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: $13,700 Range: $11,000 - $18,000

HQN...........................................................................................................................2
Average advance (first book): $8500
Average advance (subsequent books): $10,000
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: n/a

Imajinn......................................................................................................................5
Average advance (first book): $25
Average advance (subsequent books): $85
Standard royalty percentage: 8 -10%
Average earn-out: $180

Kensington/Zebra..................................................................................................123
Average advance (first book): $3500
Average advance (subsequent books): $5500
Advance range: $1750 - $17,500
Standard royalty percentage: 6 - 8.5%
Average earn-out: $5200 Range: $2500 - $17,500

Kensington (novellas)............................................................................................14
Average advance: $4050
Advance range: $1000 - $9000
Standard royalty percentage: 2 - 2.5%
Average earn-out: n/a

Mira............................................................................................................................9
Average advance (first book): n/a
Average advance (subsequent books): $105,000
Advance range: $15,000 - $450,000
Standard royalty percentage: 8%
Average earn-out: n/a

New Concepts Publishing.......................................................................................13
Average advance: none
Standard royalty percentage: 9.5% - 40% elec. 4% - 11% print
Average earn-out: $340 Range: $50 - $1100

Pocket.........................................................................................................................14
Average advance (first book): $16,000
Average advance (subsequent books): $24,500
Advance range: $7000 - $50,000
Standard royalty percentage: 8%
Average earn-out: n/a

Red Dress Ink.............................................................................................................3
Average advance (first book): $12,000
Average advance (subsequent books): $15,000
Standard royalty percentage: 7 - 7.5%
Average earn-out: n/a

Renaissance E-books.................................................................................................4
Average advance: none
Standard royalty percentage: 27 - 40%
Average earn-out: $1300 Range: $400 - $4000

St. Martin's Press......................................................................................................23
Average advance (first book): $6300
Average advance (subsequent books): $14,700
Advance range: $4500 - $150,000
Standard royalty percentage: 8%
Average earn-out: $25,600 Range: $6800 - $51,000

Silhouette Bombshell................................................................................................11
Average advance (first book): $4000
Average advance (subsequent books): $8750
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: n/a

Silhouette Desire.......................................................................................................13
Average advance (first book): $4000
Average advance (subsequent books): $9850
Advance range: $4000 - $15,000
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: $21,100 Range: $17,000 - $28,000

Silhouette Intimate Moments..................................................................................14
Average advance (first book): n/a
Average advance (subsequent books): $5900
Advance range: $4000 - $7500
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: $12,000 Range: $10,000 - $16,000

Silhouette Romance...............................................................................................56
Average advance (first book): $3750
Average advance (subsequent books): $4900
Advance range: $3,500 - $10,000
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: $10,300 Range: $6,000 - $18,000

Silhouette Special Edition....................................................................................44
Average advance (first book): $4000
Average advance (subsequent books): $8200
Advance range: $4000 - $12,000
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: $21,500 Range: $12,000 - $37,000

Steeple Hill (Love Inspired)..................................................................................61
Average advance (first book): $3400
Average advance (subsequent books): $4900
Advance range: $3000 - $7000
Standard royalty percentage: 6%
Average earn-out: $7700 Range: $5,000 - $18,000

Tor/Forge.................................................................................................................8
Average advance (first book): $13,300
Average advance (subsequent books): $17,250
Advance range: $8000 - $20,000
Standard royalty percentage: 8%
Average earn-out: n/a

Treble Heart Books.................................................................................................6
Average advance: none
Standard royalty percentage: 15 - 35% print, 40% elec.
Average earn-out: $65 Range: $5 - $110

Warner.....................................................................................................................19
Average advance (first book): $7150
Average advance (subsequent books): $12,200
Advance range: $5000 - $34,000
Standard royalty percentage: 8%
Average earn-out: n/a

Zebra Regency.........................................................................................................14
Average advance (first book): $2000
Average advance (subsequent books): $2850
Advance range: $2000 - $4000
Standard royalty percentage: 4% - 6%
Average earn-out: $2500 Range: $2000 - $4000

And, from Alison Kent, a candid explanation of her personal experience and a brief education on royalties at her blog:

"The only books I get royalties on straight from the home office are my five Temptations published between 1996 and 1999. I signed with my agent in 1998 while she was at Writers House. That means I still get a statement through them covering my first three Blazes and my two Bouquets written as Michaila Callan. Everything else comes through Spencerhill Associates, the agency Karen established when she left Writers House.

"Harlequin releases all reserves against returns by the fourth royalty statement on a book, meaning by that time - two years or so after a book’s release (aka 4 six-month periods) - a book has pretty much earned out all of its North American sales. Many foreign sales $$ have come in by then, too. If there is no activity for a period, then there is no statement issued. Reissues and foreign sales are what keep a book alive.

"The only statements I received in this packet were for my first and fifth Temptations as they were the only ones with any activity in this period (Jan 2005 - June 2005). I thought the differences in the earn-outs were interesting.

"FOUR MEN & A LADY, published in October 1999, has earned $13,109.88 to date - and I happen to know it was the #1 bestselling Temptation that month. That number includes North American (US and Canadian) sales, as well as sales in the UK, Australia, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, Brazil, Latin America, and Korea. This royalty period, believe it or not, I sold 795 copies in Spain for royalties of $34.15. *gg*

"CALL ME (7/96) is a different story. The royalties this period were for the reserves of the mail order reissue in May 2003 - 2850 copies for royalties of $346.12. The foreign sales on this book were to the UK, Australia, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Greece, Argentina, Spain, Brazil, and Latin America. The book has earned a total of $21,495.09. (Note: It’s taken 9 years to earn that amount, while the advance on my fourth single title (not #’s 1 - 3!) was more than that.)

"I hate to be all about the $$$$, but when this is my only real income, I have to be. But what I wanted to point out was the decline in individual book income from 1996 to 1999 to the tune of $8300+. Yes, I know. Not all books will perform the same, except when those books are in a category line, they tend to be a lot closer than that! If authors across the board experienced the same, I have to say the signs for Temptation’s demise were there for quite awhile.

"Now I’m anxiously waiting for the money from both agencies to arrive, (and for Kensington royalties which I think arrive around year’s end)! Of course, I’m not expecting much this go round from HQ. This royalty period cut off in June, and KISS & MAKEUP wasn’t released until August. My last HQ publication was MOTHER, PLEASE! in May 2004. Next year should be better!"
Post a Comment