How much can you make Publishing a Children's BookWhat can you make out of a children's book?
These episodes are from issues I have received from several members of my course and the Facebook group - is it really possible to make a living as a self-published children's writer? What are we talkin' about here? As a self-released children's writer, making a living is completely different from what one earns as a traditional writer, which is why I thought it was important to get to grips with the money-making side of the game.
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Paying publishing houses like us writers and illustrated artists (for beginners)
Publishing houses are paying writers and illuminators in different ways. However, here is the way we are paying (with a small number of exemptions ) for a book.... and it is quite common for publishing houses that are publishing for the general population, regardless of its volume. If you are an author/illustrator, we undertake to make an advanced payment against license fees.
Part of this is payable when we conclude the agreement with the author/illustrator; part is payable upon shipment of the work you have consented to; and part is payable upon the book's release. That is something like a "debt" owed to us by the author/illustrator - a kind of "pit" that must be replenished, so the "debt" is repayed.
The " mine " is filled with emoluments. There is a fee for authors/illustrators as a percent of the amount of cash we receive from each dealer (bricks and mortars and/or online). This figure includes all the other things we spend on publishing in printed or electronic form - editing, advertising, promotion, advertising, marketing, designing, financeing ( "people hunting for money") - and the particular expenses associated with the book being printed and bound (the book being printed and stored, the transport and handling expenses - and often the dissolution of returned copies).
For example, if a publishers acquires the right to publication of the book in German, the author's stake goes to the "pit", but not between the emoluments and the income from the permissions we paid to one writer and the emoluments and income from the permissions we paid to another writer.... and not really big differences between the emoluments we would have paid to one writer and any other publishers who would have paid a writer).
Meanwhile, we need to make the most of all the accounts on our little new lists, no matter how much advances we have made, and we also pay for different types of advertising, no matter how much advances we have made. Once the "pit" is full, the excess income is passed on to the authors/illustrators, usually twice a year.
In some cases the royalty or royalty income is not enough to fill the mine, but the advances are non-refundable, so the difference between the advances and what the author/illustrator actually makes is our issue as a publisher, not that of the author/illustrator. We purchase some of our bestselling writers' literature directly from authors/illustrators (we do this from some of our bestselling authors/illustrators), and we buy other writers' literature through agent.
Theoretically, we could offer writers, especially first writers, much lower license fees than writers representing by hard workers. Writers and graphic designers are now talking to each other more than ever, as they have the opportunity to network through various forms of information and consulting such as the Society of authors.
So, you would quickly find out, and an author/illustrator who is feeling betrayed by his editor is not a lucky writer. It is of course a good idea to say that agencies take a share (10% - 15% of author/illustrator revenues from publishing houses as a general rule). So, you need to be reasonably certain that you are going to be getting more cash going over a compound before it is worth having a compound financially, even though compounds also provide counsel and expertise as well as managerial assistance so you might want to be aware of that.
But as I said before, there are actually no major differences in the emoluments or revenues from privileges that we have. Progress is what differs more: establish authors/illustrators who are also placed in some cases often end up with greater progress than newer and non-mediated author. That means they have more cash in advance..... but to fill a greater mines!
A number of authors/illustrators and their agent believe that a high prepayment on a first book will guarantee that a book will be sold by a book company that tries particularly harshly to recover the upfront. However, I know of bestselling titles due to a small deposit, such as The Gruffalo or the first Harry Potter book, and there are other titles that have chosen what media reports call "a considerable six-figure sum" that have sold nothing that resembles a proportional number of prints.... the publishing houses (any publisher) can do,
and we can see what the sale is like when we are hesitant to come across the following titles by the writer. For this year (and remember that we are writing some of our titles in house) we plan to use 15% of our book revenues for authors/illustrators royalties/rights, but we also have to take the hit on any strides we assess do not acquire out - i.e. where the mines are unlikely to be full at all.
As a publisher (still in the shop because of the way the remainder of their trading models work) I know of people who have overexpected the value of a book when they make an advance payment, to the point that in a few years the costs of depreciation will be as high or almost as high as the costs of author/illustrator royalties/property income.
In some cases, a really strong drive in combination with very low turnover can drive a publishing house into the red. However, even if editors do not play this kind of publishing play - and we do not - then I do not know of any editor whose total authors/illustrators' expenses are no higher than the emoluments and royalty and royalty share because of the depreciated advances.
Some publishing houses charge writers and illustrations on a royalty free base - so they prepay an amount, but it's not a royalty-forward. However, it keeps an author/illustrator from taking part in a book's continued popularity, and we think they should, so it's something we generally do not.
A number of publishing houses are trying out different ways of payment for authors/illustrators: not with an advanced payment, but in exchange with higher bonuses; or with a profit-sharing scheme, for example (but as an editor you would probably want to see exactly what the publishing house counts as "profit", i.e. what cost must be deducted from the income before you come to the "profit" that is to be shared).
A number of publishing houses set up subscriptions and authors/illustrators receive a percentage of the revenues either from full packs of titles to which they are contributing or in the period in which their respective titles are available. And of course (and this is the topic for another article), some writers choose to either digital or printed publication.