Thursday, May 19, 2005

Numbers

Contemporary Romance Novel
Author Name/Publisher: Withheld by Request
Mass Market Paperback, U.S., $6.99 cover price
Distribution: National
Publication Year: 2004
Advance: $15,000.00*
Royalties: 6-8%
Current Released to date: 25,500
Current Reserved against returns: 9,000
Current returns: 18,800
Sell-through: 54%

Quoted from e-mail, with permission: I am an established midlist romance author whose books receive good to excellent reviews and four to four-and-one-half starred reviews in RT.

My comments: Even including the reserves in with the release figure, sell-through on this novel is actually closer to 45%.

*Actual advance. All other numbers have been rounded off by author to further protect the author's identity.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:21 PM

    Help!

    Can we get the short course in how all the math involved in making these calculations is done?

    Gail, aka Dogma *sure! You remember me!*

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Gail -- how could I forget you, old pal? ;)

    The basic equation for sell-through is this:

    25,500 + 9,000 - 18,800 = 15,700

    Or: Release + reserves - returns = sell-through quantity.

    15,700/34,500 = 0.455

    Or: Sell-through quantity divided by (release + reserves) = sell-through percent

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  3. While your straight-talk is appreciated, it isn't always understood by those less versed in the biz, myself included.

    In a previous post you mentioned something about selling to an editor, what exactly does that mean? I thought an editor was someone who polished your manuscript for the publisher before it went to press. Could you clarify? And why not just self-publish if the industry is so cut-throat?

    Thanks.

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  4. J.A. wrote: In a previous post you mentioned something about selling to an editor, what exactly does that mean?

    Editors are generally the people at the publishing houses who read submissions and proposals, and recommend them to their bosses (usually a senior editor) for purchase. To get a better idea of how they work, read Tor editor Anna Genoese's article Get Rejecting which she posted over at RTB this morning.

    I thought an editor was someone who polished your manuscript for the publisher before it went to press. Could you clarify?

    An editor generally offers feedback and requests for revisions, but the writer does the polishing. Editors also do a lot of other jobs to help your novel. Some work with production to put together the right cover art for your novel; others help you obtain cover quotes, interviews and media exposure. Every editor is different in what they can do for your novel, but most of those I've worked with are terrific people who are highly motivated to help you be a success.

    And why not just self-publish if the industry is so cut-throat?

    It is definitely easier to self-publish versus compete for a major publishing contract. However, very few self-published books are what I would consider commercially successful. There's no guarantee that being published by a major house will bring commercial success, either. However, in terms of distribution, exposure, product availability and quality of production, major publishers are, in my opinion, the way to go.

    You have to decide what you want, and what you're willing to sacrifice for it, and navigate your career from there.

    ReplyDelete