This new world of publishing now allows authors to make many publishing choices after they finish a book. That’s a great thing compared to just ten years ago.
Now an author can go the old traditional route, they can go full indie and do everything. Or they can publish somewhere in the middle, taking responsibility for all the work, but hiring out parts, or all of the tasks needed to be done.
A thousand choices in the process now. And that’s a very, very good thing for authors in the abstract.
But all choices have costs. This post is about the costs of going traditional with your novel.
Two Major Adjustments that Hurt Authors
First adjustment: Author advances against royalties went down almost across the board.
A standard genre advance is now in the $3,000 range. A lead list title can get a little more, but inside most genres, advances for all but the major bestsellers are now far under $10,000 for most books.
Second adjustment: Contract terms changed to “life of copyright” and reversion clauses became useless.
In the last two years I have seen a couple dozen author contracts from various traditional houses. “Life of Copyright” is always a non-negotiable contract term in the United States if you are a normal-level writer.
This is very new and did not exist without a working reversion clause before this new electronic revolution. Now reversion clauses (meaning there is a point you can try to get your book back) are either gone or pointless.