Getting Published or E-published/Author renumeration
Bill, is there an industry-typical ball-park figure an author of a non-fiction book can expect to receive per copy of his book sold by a publisher? In addition, is it usual for so many copies (a half dozen, a dozen) to be supplied to the author upon publication? I realize there is bound to be negotiation, but what would be a reasonable expectation in the case of an average non-fiction book from a specialist publisher?
Thanks for your question. It's hard to answer without knowing a bit more information, but this should give you some guidelines.
1) There is no "typical" ball-park figure of what a non-fiction author would receive from the publisher. It depends on too many variables. Is this a first-time author or a seasoned author? Malcolm Gladwell receives more per copy of his books than a first-time author with no track record, for example. The answer also depends whether or not an advance was paid for the book. The advance is an advance against future royalties. Some authors get them, others don't. Advances have been dwindling over the years and it's common for many authors to receive no advance at all (particularly first-time authors). Still other authors receive advances ranging from $5,000-$1,000,000, depending on the author's stature and the subject matter. If an advance is paid, then no money is given to the author until the entire amount of the advance has been surpassed. There are times that a publisher loses money if an advance is paid and the book doesn't sell as many copies as planned. You are right, there is a negotiation about how much is paid per book per sale. As a rough guideline (keeping in mind all the caveats above), $1 per book is an average. Seasoned authors receive more. Novice authors receive less.
2) The books the publisher provides you help with your marketing efforts. They are known as Advance Reader Copies (if you use them before your book's publication date) or Review Copies (if you use it after the book's publication date). Review copies are typically sent to media outlets in the book's genre for the media to review and write about. Six or twelve review copies may sound like a lot at first, but if you create a list of the media (magazines, newspapers, radio stations and TV stations) you want to talk about your book, then you may need more. A guideline for how many media sources an author should be courting is 100 (according to John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways To Market Your Book). If John is right, and I believe he is, six or twelve review copies may not be sufficient.
I hope this answers your questions. Thanks for writing.