Posts tagged ‘SFWA’

Royalties and Contracts

I’ve been asked to write about royalties and contracts as many new authors have run afoul of bad or scammy publishers and need to know their rights and how to tell good from bad.

Two writers organizations (there are more) have model contracts that immediately came to mind so I’m posting links to them.


EPIC is a good organization. They have an award that has gotten some fine reactions. However, they charge their members (this can and ought to be paid for by the publisher instead of the author) in order to cover the costs of their yearly convention, which can be a lot of fun for their authors and others.


The SFWA contract is mainly directed at doing business with the majors and middle ranks, but can be a great source of information for those doing business with the small press. SWFA has public information pages which ought to be read with frequency.

The traditional publishers have long had a graduated royalty rate based upon how many copies are sold. They base their royalties upon cover price. But the average breakpoints have been 8%, 12%, 15%

You will find cover price as the base  in the royalty clauses of both sample contracts.  The standard for ebooks is 40% of cover price if sold directly through the company store and 25% of cover price when sold through distributors. Most ebooks are sold through distributors and very few ebook publishers are set up to host a store on their site. A good example of how a onsite store is set up can be found at Renebooks (Renaissance Ebooks).

Small press royalties on print tend to be 10% of cover price.

Never ever go with a contract that says royalties are based upon net or gross receipts. These are too easy to abuse and hard to track. Companies will include all of their costs (cover, editorial, PR) into their calculations, making the total come out of the author’s due royalties.

On the flip side, Amazon, for instance, has ways to view the sales figures for books that have you as author. This one I have not figured out for myself, but Angeline Hawkes uses it for all of her book sales regardless of publisher, and she is a very savvy author.

Reputable writers organizations are a must for the protection of authors. Most will not grant admission to self-published authors, however EPIC and NWU (National Writer’s Union) will.  HWA (Horror Writers Association)  will give an affiliate membership to authors with small press credits. One of the largest services that a good writers organization will give you is access to their grievance committee, which will go to bat for you against bad publishers and try to get you paid.



The Write Agenda is full of Phail

My name was listed by The Write Agenda and all of the blogs and websites they hold under various aliases.  My crime was to post comments on Writer Beware.  Victoria Strauss also linked back to my posts about David Boyer the plagiarist  and the series I did on Blu Phier.  I am not a commentator, guest or otherwise, on Writer Beware.  I am a cranky old bitch who never hesitates to call them as I see them. Especially when it comes to scammers.

The  bottomline for including me seems to have be part of TWA’s attempts to intimidate the supporters of Writer Beware.

Victoria Strauss has been good to me.

As usual, my first impulse on being given a heads up by a friend and editor was to lose my temper (Dang thing does not know when to stay down.) and insult them in a message to them. I got back the following in email:

Thanks for contacting us!

The Write Agenda

IP CAPTURE [*********************] ON
GEO LOC [**********-******-*****] ON
DATA RET [thewriteagenda@***********] ON


Name *

Janrae Frank

Occupation (Author, Agent, Publisher etc.) *

author / Publisher

Email *

Message *

You are so full of shit that it is coming out your ears.

Date *

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Grievence Committee

I’m hunting around for everything that the Committee needs to make Jean take down all of my books at various places. I need to spent a day digging through my filing cabinets for the contracts I signed. That and various emails I sent to her and her replies are also part of it. This might get sticky, but I’m working on it. I want to have everything tidied up when I send this next book to the agent who is interested. He informed me that the best thing I could do was to get all of my rights back so that some of them could become part of a package offering if he likes the new book.

At this point, it looks like the one I am going to send is Loyalty. It’s standing at just over 53k this morning. I ripped out a couple of scenes I thought no longer worked in light of the direction some earlier, newer scenes took. Once I start fleshing out a rough, it just grows and grows.

50ftAnt is an incredible writer and extremely knowledgeable. If Mother Damnation gets finished ahead of Loyalty (these things do happen), then it will go to the agent instead.

However, I am beginning to find myself drawn back toward working a bit more on Sins of Innocence. I love the pack of nasty sa’necari mercenaries I created for that one.

I have gone through a lot of agents over the years, including non-fiction agents. I need to empty all the trash containers and place one next to the filing cabinets (or maybe a dozen. 🙂 ) It’s incredible how much shite I have stuffed into the cabinets that does not belong there or should have been tossed a long time ago. Such as ten year old and long ago paid off bills.


I just got my confirmation that I am once more an active member of SFWA.

Hey, Larry, stuff that in your pipe and smoke it!

30th anniversary Chimquar collection (and more Jean)

I got the edits back on the Chimquar Collection. They are allowing me to do what I always wanted to do and that is a fresh edit and revision of the aging stories. I will also be writing two new tales of Chimquar for the volume.

Rob Mancebo is the editor and he’s amazing. The breadth of his knowledge is incredible and I am learning a lot from him.

I emailed Jean and demanded all of my rights back. I wish I could have stayed in SFWA, but I will rejoin before the end of the year I imagine. The last time I had to slap Jean around for payment, I went to the SFWA grievance committee and she knuckled under.

I have spoken before about how Jean edited “I, Vampire.” In 2001, Jean went to work for Renaissance Ebooks under the original owner. She handed him the anthology without paying any of the writers more money or renegotiating the contracts with them. None of them were ever paid royalties from the book. When I found out about it, I went to the SFWA grievance committee and they got me paid $100. However, I have no way of knowing whether they located the other authors or not.

Jean tried to do the same thing with New Eves, the book we edited together (I actually did all the work). However, I successfully blocked her on that one.

Knowing that I had already involved the Grievance Committee once kept her on the straight and narrow.