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Writing Books/writer's profit per book


How much from the price of the book goes to the writer of the book? Where else does the rest of the money go to?

Dear Pedro:

I am a little vague with the specifics of this question (which means I have no idea) but I do know this much: books are published on the basis of a contract prepared by the publisher and designed to give the publisher every jot, tittle and pence they can wrest out of you. A beginning writer should never try to negotiate his own contract (not that he'll ever get a chance, unless he knows someone in the business)- that's what agents are for. A reputable agent will get you a decent price for your book. If it is a first book, don't expect much, and don't count on any advance at all. This is good, because if your book doesn't sell, you won't have to pay it back!

However much the agent is able to get for you, the rest of the money will go to the agent (for the sale), and to the publisher for (1) the cost of publishing your book, setting the type, editing if included, all that paper and binding, etc.(very high),(2) the cost of distributing the thing and advertising to make it sell (if included); and (3) all the miscellaneous costs borne by the publisher: the cost of the building, workers, supplies, utilities, romancing better known writers, phone costs, computers, furniture, water for everybody to drink, curtains, all the calls he makes to you or you make to him, lunches, parties for better known authors, the cars they drive...well, I guess you get the idea.

Or you can publish it yourself, online, and forget all that. You get all the money in that case.

I hope this has helped. If so, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my "straight 10" record over 150+ questions.

And good luck to you!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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