Whortleberry Press
On making $$ writing s-f

Here is the answer to that question from one who has been there and knows: Mercedes Lackey

How much money do writers make on science fiction, thriller/suspense and romantic fantasy novels?
Mercedes R. Lackey

If you get a contract with a traditional publisher, most first-time authors will get an advance of $3,000-$5,000 dollars for their first book. This will be paid out over the following schedule: 1/3 on signing the contract, 1/3 on the finished book being accepted, and 1/3 on the book’s publication. If the book is part of a series, the publisher might well want to write a contract for a total of three books, each of which would have the same advance.

After you have published a total of three books, unless the sales of your first book were unexpectedly good, you can negotiate for a modest increase in that advance. Of course, if the sales of your first book were unexpectedly good and you did not sign a multi-book contract, you can negotiate an increase on the contract for the second book based on those sales.

Once the advance has paid out (the publisher has made back the money they paid you on the book), you will start to receive royalties on the book. These amount to about 25 cents per paperback, and a dollar per hardback sold.

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