Monday, October 10, 2005
It's royalty season!
It's that time of the year. In the past week, I've received at least six royalty statements in the mail from books that I've illustrated. Typically, or at least in my case, royalties are paid at 10% of book sales, split 50-50 with the author. Actually, I was fortunate in that I didn't have to beg, bug or bribe anyone to receive them, they just came this time. So I grabbed one to disect. Here it is:
A. Company logo: mailing address with a listing of the account managers, and royalty analysts. I've always thought it was kinda cool to actually receive royalty statements with a New York return address. Makes a brotha feel important, consolation for the fact there was no check attached.
B. Agent: In this particular case, I represented myself. That means I get to keep all the money. Had this been negotiated through a second party, they'd be listed here, too. The commission would depend upon the type of representation you have. A general artist agent would take a 25-35% cut. A literary agent (12-15%). No brainer here, huh? Not exactly. My art agent has been able to get my foot into the door of publishing houses where my literary agent wasn't. But that's just my personal journey, not everyones.
C. Statement period: royalties are typically paid in March and October, however some publishers have mailed statements to me every four months. Some send them regularly like clockwork. Others you have to pester. I've pretty much come to determine that if and when my books do earn out their advances, they won't amount to much more than a few cents, so I don't chase them down like I used to. I find pleasure in creating the books and presenting them to children and teachers. That’s the payoff.
D. Total earnings this period: self explanitory. Once the advance is earned, a check will be included.
E. Sales: how many books sold at what price. These numbers may include trade sales (books sold in stores/online) school library, Canadian as well as foreign sales, or where ever sales are made.
F. Current statement balance: Cash owed to me. This is where I get depressed. Could somebody flick on that fish?