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Old 02-21-2013, 07:55 PM   #51
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Currently, Thomas Nelson (and by extension HarperCollins, which purchased Nelson last year), Harlequin, Hay House, LifeWay, and Writer's Digest have self-publishing divisions set up by Author Solutions. I believe Rowman & Littlefield also has a "custom" publishing division, though they run it themselves. And as pointed out, Pearson (Penguin's parent company) bought Author Solutions last year and folded it into Penguin, which is in the process of merging with Random House.

The above represents a variety of models (outsourced self-pub division; house-run custom publishing; purchase of a stand-alone self-publishing services company)--and a variety of publishers, from corporate to independent and from general publishing to genre/market-specialist. So there's not a lot of uniformity here. Also, while I'm sure there are others I haven't mentioned, pay-to-play divisions are still very much in the minority in the wider world of publishing.

Also, as Momento Mori has pointed out, the difference here is that all of these are independent divisions within a larger corporate structure--i.e., the vanity publishing operations are specifically separated from the general publishing operations and don't bleed over into them. When you submit to Harlequin, you don't have to fear getting a pay-to-play publishing offer. You'd have to specifically approach Harlequin's vanity division, Dell'Arte Press, for that. By contrast, when you submit to an imprint of John Hunt Publishing, you don't know what you're going to get, because it's as likely--if not more likely--that you'll receive a pay-to-play offer as a non-fee one.

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Old 02-21-2013, 08:01 PM   #52
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responses

what % of your authors have received a royalty check from you

I'ld say 100%, but it may be up in the high 90s, there's a minimum payment because of bank charges (£30, from memory).

15% of our revenues go in author royalty payments.

how many books...editors...

answer was in my previous post. You hadn't had enough coffees. We have about 15 publishers/editors, and they're mostly authors who we've published, and over the years have migrated to doing more work, starting with copy editing, moving to editing, sometimes PR, etc.

Man Booker figures

I'm sorry it hasn't been updated to more recent figures (which i guess would be lower). it was just an example, from industry statistics. The reason why philosophy and environmental titles are covered there, is because we tend to publish more in those subject areas rather than fiction (eg Zero Books, Earth Books), and so on...

Sure, a big prize like that will transform the figures. But, by definition, most don't. The figures i show there are taken from the industry statistics, that's more the norm. We don't run the business on the basis of getting a bestseller (though we work as hard as we can at it).

honest up front

Look at any of the imprints, go to author inquiries, look at the user guide that's there, check on the contract terms, and yes - we don't offer advances.
And we explain why.

The more general stuff -

if there's anything in our user manual that's incorrect, or untrue, or misleading, please tell me, I'll change it. The comments from "Old Hack" just seemed like gibberish to me, couldn't understand why she/he wanted to twist what I'ld said to such a degree. To say it again, we take about 5% of our revenues from author subsidies and sales of books to authors. The 95% is sales to the trade, physical or online. 15% of our revenues go in author royalties. Preditors & Editors seems to me a site with great intentions, but the knowledge of the market shown here is so miniscule (with strongly recommended publishers being vanity publishers to anyone who looks at the figures, publishers categorized as vanity who are obviously not, and so on...) as to be counterproductive.

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Old 02-21-2013, 08:14 PM   #53
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Thank you for hanging around to answer questions .

Quote:
Originally Posted by john hunt View Post
what % of your authors have received a royalty check from you

I'ld say 100%, but it may be up in the high 90s, there's a minimum payment because of bank charges (£30, from memory).
Help me out with the math here.

According to the web-pages you linked us to, "most titles sell in the hundreds", but contract levels 2 through 4 pay "no royalties on the first thousand sold". I'm trying to figure out how that can result in close to 100% of your authors receiving royalties?

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Originally Posted by john hunt View Post

how many books...editors...

answer was in my previous post. You hadn't had enough coffees. We have about 15 publishers/editors, and they're mostly authors who we've published, and over the years have migrated to doing more work, starting with copy editing, moving to editing, sometimes PR, etc.
This is only half an answer. The question was also about how many titles are published across all your imprints in a given time-frame.

The impetus behind the question is wanting to see how spread-thin or not your editors are. What's the ratio of books released in a month (across all imprints) to editors employed (across all imprints)?

I'll admit, I am puzzled as to how one person can operate so many different imprints effectively at the same time. (Kudos to you if you can pull it off!)

Edited to add: Are you familiar with Yog's Law?
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:53 PM   #54
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Hard to believe, but I think he quoted the number as a book a day.

john hunt
Quote:
"I think I've said earlier, about a book every working day on average, around 15 publishers/editors, and we use a couple of dozen copy editors proof readers. They are not all employees, but that again is true of publishing generally."
To which I have to say, egads.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:04 PM   #55
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my post crossed with Victoria's.

Sure, the big publishers keep their vanity arms at arms length.

though i think there's a misconception here, - the reason why they are doing this (and they all are) is that they don't want to get proposals from authors out of the blue. they want the agents to filter them out first - it takes too long otherwise to go through the proposals (which we do).

we don't actually do any vanity publishing, in that sense, in that we have quality controls, we don't publish books that the readers and publishers don't like, they get weeded out in the selection process.

I'm sure I've said this before somewhere, but the number of titles we published last year with a subsidy element was one in four. And, yes, that's likely to increase, if we're going to publish more titles. and if authors find that immoral or whatever, that's fine, don't come to us.

We make it as clear as we can, in the info we send out at the different stages - I don't see how we can make it much clearer. We get readers reports on new proposals, from authors who know their subject area (they've published there), and what the sales are likely to be.

it's a different model. Yes, if you submit a proposal to us, we'll make a decision on the basis of readers reports that "we're going to lose money on this without an author subsidy" or "this is going to be great, go for it, no subsidy". (we work pretty quick, so negotiating on an advance has no point anyway, we've generally got a book ready to print (after editing, design, proof reading) by the time most publishers who work on advances have got around to signing the contract).

So, sure, it might be a "pay to play one". but if it is, it's a book we like, and it goes through the usual marketing, not the crap stuff (anyone noticed how the double page spreads in the trade magazines are now all taken up by vanity publishers?).

and at least we look at it....none of the big publishers will, unless it comes through an agent. So, sure, if it seems a long shot, we might ask for a subsidy, which the author can turn down - most of those we publish in that kind of way, I guess it's a question of the authors working with us or self-publishing, which will probably work out more expensive for them, with less impact.

I believe Rowman & Littlefield also has a "custom" publishing division,

Just to reinforce my point - everyone has a self-publishing/custom publishing division....Rowman & littlefield are the parent company of National Book Network, who distribute our titles in N america. They publish a few thousand academic titles a year, they're virtually all subsidized in form or another, if not by promised sales, then by very high prices (paid for libraries, paid for by the taxpayer).

which is why the seemingly total ignorance of this Preditors & Editors website on how publishing actually works,and how they allocate their favours, is so irritating -

according to their guidelines for instance, the whole of Rowman & Littlefield is vanity publishing (some of their divisions operate on the basis of a minimum guaranteed purchase of 100 copies by the author, which, OK, is not exactly the same as asking the author for a subsidy, maybe, but exactly how different?

Does that mean that any UK publisher distributing through NBN (either the largest, or the second largest, independent distributor of books in N America), is involved in vanity publishing, because that's what their parent company is?

If i don't respond here quickly, from here on, or at all, it's not because I'm ducking questions, it's just because this is taking up too much time, relative to work that i should be doing in improving sales/experiences for the authors we have, rather than trying to fend off comments from those who seem to hate us anyway, even though they've never worked with us.

But in case this hasn't come across before - our sales through author subsidies and sales to authors are about 5%, 95% is sales to the trade, physical or online. 15% of our total revenues goes in royalties to authors. The problem in our business, is not being generous enough to the authors we've sold tens of thousands of, because we invest too much in new authors who sell in hundreds or dozens, whether there's an element of subsidy involved or not (and the quality of the book has little to do with that). That's a serious question for us - maybe we should just cut radically back on new titles.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:13 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john hunt View Post
The problem in our business, is not being generous enough to the authors we've sold tens of thousands of, because we invest too much in new authors who sell in hundreds or dozens, whether there's an element of subsidy involved or not (and the quality of the book has little to do with that). That's a serious question for us - maybe we should just cut radically back on new titles.
john
I guess I agree. You should cut back. After all, if you are a commercial publisher, looking to make money through publishing books and selling those books to readers (i.e., not the authors), then why would you publish books you expect not to make money? After all, that's why you have readers judging submissions, so you can determine which books are likely to sell and which are not.

And if you are making money off of books that are succeeding, then why have subsidies at all? Just focus on those books that are selling or that you believe are likely to sell.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:26 PM   #57
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Linda

According to the web-pages you linked us to, "most titles sell in the hundreds", but contract levels 2 through 4 pay "no royalties on the first thousand sold". I'm trying to figure out how that can result in close to 100% of your authors receiving royalties?

it's because we pay 50% royalties on ebooks.


I'll admit, I am puzzled as to how one person can operate so many different imprints effectively at the same time. (Kudos to you if you can pull it off!)


good question. but it's not "one person" here. I'm only on this website here because I'm semi-retired, still involved with the business, want to see it work, and have got the time to poke around in eccentricities of the internet that anyone working in the business has not. but I'm not operating any imprints myself. And no one actually involved in our publishing, in terms of real figures/data, has the time to get involved in this kind of website -(got to say again, I admire the intention, it's the execution/lack of industry knowledge that's the problem)..

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Old 02-21-2013, 10:20 PM   #58
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Quote:
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Sure, the big publishers keep their vanity arms at arms length.

though i think there's a misconception here, - the reason why they are doing this (and they all are) is that they don't want to get proposals from authors out of the blue. they want the agents to filter them out first - it takes too long otherwise to go through the proposals (which we do).
I'm afraid I don't get your logic here. Why publishers with vanity divisions keep them separate and why they use agents as their first readers are two completely different and unrelated questions.
Quote:
we don't actually do any vanity publishing, in that sense, in that we have quality controls, we don't publish books that the readers and publishers don't like, they get weeded out in the selection process.
Many vanity/subsidy publishers have a selection mechanism that weeds out various books--even if it's just a first-come, first-served quota system. So just the fact that you have a selection process doesn't disprove the vanity label (though you wouldn't be the first company with a fee-based contract to use this argument).
Quote:
I believe Rowman & Littlefield also has a "custom" publishing division,

Just to reinforce my point - everyone has a self-publishing/custom publishing division
No. Really. "A few" or even "some" does not equal "everyone."

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Old 02-21-2013, 10:27 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john hunt View Post
Linda
it's because we pay 50% royalties on ebooks.
Of course . Thank you.

You've been responding to a lot of questions quickly, and I suppose that's why you keep missing this one, but I think it's exceedingly important for a writer to ask about any publisher they may be considering:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaJeanne View Post
What's the ratio of books released in a month (across all imprints) to editors employed (across all imprints)?
Thanks again for your time,

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Old 02-21-2013, 10:36 PM   #60
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There are a few things I'm not understanding.

In one spot, you claim most books sell only 150 copies. In another, you state that many books sell only a few hundred or dozens of copies, and in another you say 3000 on average (are you averaging in the 6 million-copy outlier?).

You also say that almost 100% of the subsidy authors get royalty checks, which would mean that you are selling at least 1000 copies of each.

I'm just not sure which numbers are accurate, and it seems like at least a couple of those statements can't be true at the same time.

Similarly, you said that you decide which books should be subsidy based on how much you expect them to sell-if you think they won't sell, you do subsidy, whereas if you think they'll earn back their costs you don't.

Then you said that whether or not you choose subsidy has nothing to do with quality. Isn't the first statement one that means it does have to do with quality?

On a related note, doesn't choosing the authors who you don't expect to do well as the subsidy authors mean that those authors are the ones least likely to sell the 1000 copies required to make any money? Which means that you're basically guaranteeing yourself that income with less risk that you might actually ever have to pay the author? And doesn't that make it a little disingenuous to imply that the authors can expect to be paid back?

I might just be misunderstanding these points, so clarification would be great.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:45 PM   #61
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LindaJeanne,
This isn't a hard answer to your question, but it is taken from what John Hunt has said so far:

On the number of editors/people involved in the company.
Quote:
There are a few dozen people involved, I can't get into it all here, space/time, but we're not talking about outsourcing to India or graduates here, most are published authors, a number teach/run writing courses. Some are magazine editors, for instance the New Writer magazine in the Uk, Suzanne who runs the new imprint for budding writers, Compass Books.
On the number of books published:
Quote:
We do, yes, publish a lot of books, it's about one every working day now. But every one goes through an acceptance process, with a number of readers reports at the second stage after a number have been declined, which the author can see, which I think are pretty good in terms of evaluating the manuscript and sales potential, which differentiates us from vanity publishing from the word go - we only publish a book if we like it, if it's good enough. And the readers know what they're talking about.
So, 24-36 (possible) people involved in editing vs. 22 or so books released a month over all the imprints.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:12 AM   #62
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responses;
"custom publishing division"
not sure what I was meant to reply to here. Sure, not everyone has such a division/arm. We don't. And we don't vanity publish as such, we select, it depends what we like, but we don;t separate it into a different "division/arm".

"what's the ratio of books released in a month to editors..."
roughly, two to one.
That pans out differently across different imprints, and different editors tastes/inclinations. Some spend more time with authors than others, some get more involved in local trade sales, others in social networking sites.

a few things I'm not understanding
Don't know how often I have to repeat this stuff....yes, many/most new titles sell in the few hundreds. For an average, across the list, if you add up the total number of books we've sold over the years, and divide them by the number of titles, you'll get to about 3000 copies. So, yes, the 6 million outliers are in there, much as are equally the loads of titles that we like, and wanted to publish , but are selling in dozens/hundreds.

And yes, the subsidy authors get royalty cheques, because though we're not paying royalties on the first 1000 copies, we're paying 50% on ebooks, and all titles come out as ebooks as well as print.
(OK, we lose money on most of those, whether there's a subsidy or not).

And if they didn't get anything other than minimal royalties, because we didn't sell enough - well, I think that's something we're open about. I think a lot of books are published that aren't "commercial" but are still worth publishing. We're not, as a team, as a kind of "author collective" (most of the people working here are authors), just driven by the money. If you're just interested in the money - go to someone else...we encourage it....

sales/quality
We say at several points through the user manual, that sales and quality don't necessarily relate. We have books that have sold in tens of thousands that I think are - not rubbish, they're good of their kind, but not ones that I'ld like to smuggle past St peter's gate as part of my CV. We have others that have sold in hundreds, that i think are brilliant, but we haven't been able to make them work in the same kind of way.

choosing the authors you don't expect to do well as the subsidy authors
yes, agreed. that's a risk, for the author,and it's still a risk for us. The kind of effort we put into making the books available, preparing the info, sending it out, doing the marketing, isn't covered by the subsidy. That just defrays our direct costs on copy editing and design.

Yog's law
Hadn't heard of it. But i've looked it up. And agree entirely. Wld really like to move to an option where it's assumed that the author controls the rights, has 100% of the income. So the 90/10% ratio that's currently in the publisher's favour is reversed.
We can contribute a service that's worthwhile, including social networking, (we started on this last year, see one of our imprints http://www.moon-books.net/ for instance, which was the first one to get going here, tapping into a a community, as well as getting to shops, tying up with other authors, tapping into a database of thousands of readers who follow the imprint, and we keep the quality standards high - say that's worth 10%.

after that, there are options - "if you want this available to the trade, click here for the print option, you need to pay the printer direct, the revenues will come direct to you minus the shop discount and the distributor's discount.

But it's not an easy thing to set up. We're working on it.

doesn't that make it a little disingenuous to imply that the authors can expect to be paid back?
I don't think we do that. We start off in the submission guidelines with -

• Do not quit the day job (or at least not until you have enough in the pension fund) - only plan on making money from writing a book if you made money on your last one

And the further you go into the system, the more we stress throughout how hard it is to make money from this (because we go through Nielsen etc, give readers reports, sales estimates backed by industry figures, and so on, and that's all available for authors to see before they accept a contract, and the info is there in estimate of likely sales anyway...).

I guess I agree. You should cut back. After all, if you are a commercial publisher, looking to make money through publishing books and selling those books to readers (i.e., not the authors), then why would you publish books you expect not to make money? After all, that's why you have readers judging submissions, so you can determine which books are likely to sell and which are not.

And if you are making money off of books that are succeeding, then why have subsidies at all? Just focus on those books that are selling or that you believe are likely to sell.
thanks Thedrellum etc... - that's the key question, which I ask myself several times a day.
Yeah, we could do that, sure. And cut down the number of titles we publish by a factor of 10 or or so. Maybe we should. Trouble is, the people here actually like working with books and authors, and most decent titles aren't "commercially viable", and we're trying to find a way of doing the best job we can of still "taking them to market".
Maybe we shouldn't bother. if we scrapped any idea of subsidy, and published far fewer titles, we'ld be better off, financially. I just think there's something to offer in the area in between "going with a big publisher and they pay/do everything", or "self/vanity publish".

but hey, that's just my opinion, we'll give it a go I expect for the next couple of years, and if it doesn't work - no worries, we'll cut back to a smaller list, be more commercially selective, tell most of the authors that we might currently publish that we just can't do it, etc.

Not sure if I've said this before- but if i don't respond quickly here, or at all, it's just because this is taking up too much time, and have to focus on the authors we're working with rather than the ones we're never going to work with. I just didn't want to see crap comments on the internet go up uncontested.

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Old 02-22-2013, 12:30 AM   #63
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So you're saying that the 1000 copies only refer to print copies?
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:04 AM   #64
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responses

please, please, just look at the user manual, which is on the internet, go to author inquiries, on any imprint, the whole thing is up there, there's a long section on contracts; and yes, on about one quarter of books that we published last year, we had an author subsidy. On about another quarter we didn't pay royalties on the first 1000 copies of the print edition. But on ebooks we pay 50%, from the start, on whatever contract it is, but there's a conversion cost that we take out from the initial royalties, which is covered by a sale of a few dozen copies.

is what we say in the user manual not clear enough? We get more specific with authors if it gets to the point of a proposal going through the first stages of decline/acceptance. I'm happy to respond to any questions on whether we have the right approach or not, whether it's moral or immoral, but i can't keep dealing with these comments from people we dont work with who haven't read the info...it's not fair to the people we work with.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:16 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by john hunt View Post
please, please, just look at the user manual, which is on the internet,
John, the user manual is very verbose, and the facts we're looking for are often vaguely worded and buried in rhetoric. We're just trying to get all the simple facts on the table, without all the extra verbiage which can -- even though that's not the intent -- obfuscate important data.

This board is for anyone evaluating what publisher they want to send their work to. You're not just answering for those of us asking the questions (who you are probably correct, are unlikely to submit to your press regardless), but also for those considering your publisher but who decide to check for a Bewares & Recomendations thread first.

This is why it's good for publishers to come here and provide clear, precise answers to the important questions -- both to make the answers clear, and to show how they handle tough questions.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:42 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaJeanne View Post
John, the user manual is very verbose, and the facts we're looking for are often vaguely worded and buried in rhetoric. We're just trying to get all the simple facts on the table, without all the extra verbiage which can -- even though that's not the intent -- obfuscate important data.

This board is for anyone evaluating what publisher they want to send their work to. You're not just answering for those of us asking the questions (who you are probably correct, are unlikely to submit to your press regardless), but also for those considering your publisher but who decide to check for a Bewares & Recomendations thread first.

This is why it's good for publishers to come here and provide clear, precise answers to the important questions -- both to make the answers clear, and to show how they handle tough questions.

I think it's pretty clear what this "publisher" is all about.

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Old 02-22-2013, 02:45 AM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john hunt View Post
please, please, just look at the user manual, which is on the internet, go to author inquiries, on any imprint, the whole thing is up there, there's a long section on contracts; and yes, on about one quarter of books that we published last year, we had an author subsidy. On about another quarter we didn't pay royalties on the first 1000 copies of the print edition. But on ebooks we pay 50%, from the start, on whatever contract it is, but there's a conversion cost that we take out from the initial royalties, which is covered by a sale of a few dozen copies.

is what we say in the user manual not clear enough? We get more specific with authors if it gets to the point of a proposal going through the first stages of decline/acceptance. I'm happy to respond to any questions on whether we have the right approach or not, whether it's moral or immoral, but i can't keep dealing with these comments from people we dont work with who haven't read the info...it's not fair to the people we work with.
john
Okay, so to summarize: For print, subsidy authors make nothing until they hit 1000 copies. They make 50% of ebook profits, but they don't actually make any royalties for a few dozen copies, so we'll say somewhere around 100 copies sold they begin to make royalties. And royalties are paid once the author has reached $30 in royalties.

I actually did look this up online and didn't see an answer, so is that 50% on net or gross?

And finally, can I ask a question? If only 25% of your books are subsidy, and those books are books you don't expect to sell well in the first place, why do it at all?

I think part of what makes us nervous about vanity/subsidy publishing is that it's often a way for companies to profit from the author while the author gets little or nothing in return.

If the vast majority of your books aren't subsidy, and you don't think those books will sell well, why do you bother going through the process in the first place? Why not just reject those books because they aren't marketable? Publishers do this all the time.

If you do think the subsidy is a good way to make an income, why not set it up the way it works with other publishers and have an imprint specifically designed for subsidy books and keep it separate from the rest of the publishing venture? It would do more to satisfy people like us who are wary of subsidy publishing in general.

Part of the reason authors aren't fond of this is because if you submit to a publisher where it's mixed, there's really no way to tell (other than what the publisher says, and some places have been less than honest in the past) how many authors get offered the subsidy. An author might think they're one of the only ones when, in fact, the publisher is asking everyone to subsidy publish and pocketing the extra. I'm not saying that's what your company is doing, just that it's been done in the past and no author wants to feel like (or wonder if) they've been scammed. That's why we just recommend avoiding this type of set up.

If authors knew that they would only be offered a commercial opportunity unless they intentionally submitted to a separate branch that offered subsidy publishing instead, it might do more to relieve some concerns.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:43 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john hunt View Post
I can't see that you've pointed out any incorrect, misleading or untrue statements in the User Manual.
You're right, I didn't single out any problems in your User Manual because I found so many it seemed pointless. I made it clear that I wasn't going to point out any of the problems I found when I said this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
There are so many fallacies in those paragraphs that I'm not even going to point them out.
I'm not sure how you could interpret that to mean that I'd pointed any of them out.

Moving back to what you've said here:

Quote:
There are places where it could be phrased better, and given its length, that's not surprising.
By your logic, the longer a book is, the more unreliable it becomes.

That's ridiculous.

If you're going to write something for publication, you should make sure it's written clearly and concisely, and that the information it contains is reliable and verifiable.

Especially when you're a publisher, and you know that others will be relying on that document for their livelihoods.

Quote:
You seem intent on misunderstanding what I say if at all possible, but I guess that's your privilege.
I'm trying to understand what you offer writers, that's all.

I'm finding that difficult because your comments here are verbose and confusing, and the User Guide on your website is confusing and ill-informed. That's why so many of us are asking you questions: we can't find the answers we'd like on your website, and we're struggling to understand your comments here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by john hunt View Post
answer was in my previous post. You hadn't had enough coffees.
Our number one rule at AW is "respect your fellow writer". Please don't slip into rudeness, John. I understand that this is frustrating for you, but no one here is doing this just to bait you: we really want to find out about your company, and to clear up the various confusions that we have.

Quote:
if there's anything in our user manual that's incorrect, or untrue, or misleading, please tell me, I'll change it.
Your user manual is chock-full of errors and myths. It's very misleading. But

Quote:
The comments from "Old Hack" just seemed like gibberish to me, couldn't understand why she/he wanted to twist what I'ld said to such a degree.
I'm not trying to twist anything, and I'm sorry that you had trouble understanding my earlier comments. If it helps, I'm having trouble understanding your comments too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by john hunt View Post
I'm not operating any imprints myself. And no one actually involved in our publishing, in terms of real figures/data, has the time to get involved in this kind of website -(got to say again, I admire the intention, it's the execution/lack of industry knowledge that's the problem)..

john
My bold.

You're seriously underestimating your audience here, John.

Quote:
Originally Posted by john hunt View Post
is what we say in the user manual not clear enough? We get more specific with authors if it gets to the point of a proposal going through the first stages of decline/acceptance. I'm happy to respond to any questions on whether we have the right approach or not, whether it's moral or immoral, but i can't keep dealing with these comments from people we dont work with who haven't read the info...it's not fair to the people we work with.
john
My bold.

No, it's really not. The user-manual isn't clear, and it's misleading. Your comments here aren't clear, and as several other people have pointed out, they are also misleading.

If you could be clearer, and more accurate in your statements and your logic, this might not be so time-consuming for you. And it would certainly be fairer to writers who work with you, and who might work with you in the future.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:42 PM   #69
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In order to facilitate discussion (and ease Mr Hunt's frustration at our not reading it closely enough), I've tried to distill some of the key points from the web-pages into a more concise format.

Greater detail onto the reasons for why for each of these items can be found on the website.

Note: I was unable to access quite a few pages, because the site wasn't playing nicely with Chrome. Also, I had to stop before I dug through everything I could reach, because there are other things I need to be doing. Maybe I'll dig into it again this evening.

John, if you feel my distillation mis-represents anything, please let me know, because that's the furthest thing from my intent.

Quote:
Contract levels
  • Level 1:
    • Titles that look like they could sell in five figures.
    • The author has a track record of that, in the last 3/5 years. Or, if a first time author, it’s an outstanding text, tailored to the right market.
    • The name is recognizable to a bookshop buyer in that subject area, in both N America and the UK, and/or there are compelling endorsements from recognizable names.
    • The buyer thinks “this is one we have to stock”.
  • Level 2:
    • Likely sales in the thousands.
    • Great text, right presentation.
    • Author is more likely to be known nationally than internationally. Has or will get good endorsements from key figures.
    • Author has a good “platform” and is active.
    • The main push on sales is either in N America or UK rather than both.
  • Level 3:
    • Likely sales in the high hundreds/low thousands.
    • Could be a great text, but the author isn’t particularly “known”.
    • Could do a lot better on the sales if it spreads by word of mouth, if pushed through activities, networking – but a buyer is unlikely to stock many, or any, initially.
  • Level 4:
    • Likely sales in the low hundreds or less.
    • Good material, worthwhile publishing, could find its own niche, could do well, but it’s a long shot.

Royalties
  • "Net receipts",throughout, is the money we actually receive from retailers/readers/distributors, we do not deduct anything to cover our own costs.
  • E-books:50% throughout, on net receipts (less a small deduction on royalties for conversion costs, see Ebooks).
  • Print Books:
    • First 1,000 copies: 10% net for contract level 1, no royalties for others
    • copies from 1,001 to 10,000: 10% net
    • copies from 10,001 to 25,000 15% net
    • copies from 25,001 to 40,000 20% net
    • copies 40,001 and beyond 25% net
  • Subsidiary rights 60% in author's favor. No "non-book" rights like film etc included.

Publication Schedule
  • Six month from finished files for level 1
  • Three complete months from finished files for other contract levels.

Author Contribution
  • Level 1 none
  • Level 2 none
  • Level 3 £10/$16 per 1,000 words.
  • Level 4 £20/$32 per 1,000 words.

Included in all contract levels:
  • Every title is published as both a print book and an e-book
  • Every manuscript is copy-edited. Every title is marketed, and gets a certain amount of promotion
  • Unlimited electronic review copies
  • Blurb, author info and other book information edited.
  • Distribution of title information to all databases, wholesalers and online accounts worldwide.
  • A PR program tailored to the author and the book; building author profile on general and author sites; raising profile on online retail sites; push for articles, reviews, prizes. A further PR push whenever 500 copies are sold through the trade and online.

Included depending on contract level:
  • Advance Information Sheets:
    • Levels 1 & 2: all major retail markets in North America and the UK
    • Level 3: generated and presented to selective relevant accounts.
  • Trade Copies
    • Levels 1 & 2: Trade copies offered to trade magazines; PW, Bookseller, etc., offered in programs such as Advance Access.
    • Levels 3 & 4: Up to 10 promotional copies available to the publicity team (in addition to 12 free author copies in contract).
  • Title Information Distribution
    • Levels 1, 2, & 3: Title information distributed to subscribed independent retailers (via mailing).
  • JHP
    • Level 1: High profile presence in JHP mailing to retailers, media and foreign rights.
    • Levels 2 & 3: Lower profile presence in JHP mailing to retailers, media and foreign rights.
  • Hard Copies
    • Level 1: Hard copies where requested (unlimited within reason)
    • Level 2: Up to 30 hard copies (additional at author expense).
  • Special Amazon Promotion
    • Level 1 Only: Special Amazon promotion and co-op advertising with wholesalers such as Ingram, Bertrams, Gardners.
  • Press Release
    • Level 1 Only: Writing press release and distributing to all subscribed relevant subject/category contacts.

Extra Marketing Services:
With any of the contract levels, we offer extra marketing and publicity services for you to purchase. If you are interested, please read through the options inWhere can I get more promotion?

(Link was broken for me -- took me to a log-in page, so I don't know what the extra marketing services are) -- LJ

Editorial services
  • Light edit; all manuscripts that we accept for publication are copy edited. This is making the style internally consistent, checking grammar and spelling. There is no charge for this on any book.
The following are optional. The contract offer is not subject to any of these arrangements being agreed.
  • Heavy edit; enforce style manual, check citation accuracy, query writing, rewrite for sense, make appropriate for market, grammar, spelling, file clean-up £8/$14 per 1000 words.
  • Heavy Edit (as above) with additonal writing advice £12/$21 per 1000 words
  • Structural/developmental edit; £30/$50 per 1000 words.
  • Rewriting/ghost writing – on request, starting from £60/$100 per 1000 words.
  • Indexing; £6/$10 per 1000 words.
  • Readers reports; all submitted proposals get Readers Reports and a yes/no decision. For a 300-500 word evaluation prior to submitting a proposal, £50/$80. For a longer evaluation of the manuscript, with suggestions for improvement, 3000-5000 words, £200/$320.
  • One-to-one Mentoring on manuscript and writing skills;
    • option a; 4 hours per month via email over 3 months; £300/$500, payable in advance.
    • option b; 4 hours per month via email over 3 months, plus 1 hour tutorial via skype messaging or phone; £450/$700, payable in advance.
    • Both extendable.
We pitch our costs at under half the going commercial rate; see for instance the Editorial Freelancers Association price list

FAQ
(More detailed information, including the reasoning behind these answers, available in the user manual).

How many authors do you sign on each contract level?
In an average 10 contracts offered, there will be one level 1, five level 2, three level 3, and one level 4.

If we offer you a contract with an author subsidy, and you can not afford it, we're sorry about that, please don't take it, or stretch yourself financially.

If you object to it on principle, well, we just have to differ. Either way, keep looking, or publish yourself. For some authors it's small change. For some authors, particularly in the academic world, it's common practice.

DO YOU EVER CHANGE CONTRACT LEVEL OFFERS THE MANUSCRIPT IS IMPROVED AND RESUBMITTED?
No.

Readers reports often say something along the lines of "this would be a better manuscript if xyz were done", but we do not look at the proposal again.
  • For one thing, we pay for the readers reports, and do not want to do it a second time around.
  • For another, part of the decision is based on your "recognition" factor.
It may be a better book, and have more long term potential for sales, but that does not make it any easier to get it into the trade to begin with.

HOW QUICKLY WILL YOU OFFER ME A CONTRACT?
It is usually within a fortnight.

HOW FAR WILL YOU NEGOTIATE ON THE CONTRACT?
We do not negotiate. The clauses in the basic contract are fairly standard to all major publishers

WHY DOES THE CONTRACT HAVE TO BE FOR THE LENGTH OF COPYRIGHT?
There are two main reasons;
  • Publishers make what money they do on the relatively small number of titles that keep going after the first flush of sales and keep reprinting for years and decades afterwards.
  • We do not put books out of print. Once the information is out on the databases it will be there in some form forever, hard to change, and queries on the book’s availability or on permissions could still be coming through in 20 years time, creating work.
There is more on the nature and length of copyright in the User Manual under Copyright questions in the Editorial & Production section.

WHAT RIGHTS DO YOU GET AND I KEEP?
The copyright of the work remains with you. Unlike many even of the major publishers we do not buy copyrights.

What are you agreeing to here is to give us the exclusive right to publish the book for the period of copyright, while the book remains in print, in return for a royalty on sales, along with various subsidiary rights where the income is split 60% in your favor. More on ebooks in the section below.

The contract is with John Hunt Publishing Ltd. We trade under different imprints, and that’s how we refer to books on the list, but they are not legal entities.

WHAT TERRITORIAL RIGHTS DO YOU WANT?
Our "default" position is for worldwide publishing rights, in all languages,

but if you want to confine it to English language worldwide, just make a comment to that effect in the comments you can send back with the contract and the publisher will adjust the contract,

CAN I NEGOTIATE AN ADVANCE?
Sorry, we don’t pay advances

AN I NEGOTIATE ON ROYALTIES?
Our royalties are as per the rates given in the Contract Levels, above.

WHEN DO YOU PAY ROYALTIES?
Twice a year, covering the periods May to October and November to May, payable 60 days later. That’s standard for all publishers, except for the vanity/subsidy publishers, who don’t have to account for the distribution pipeline that books go through.

WHAT DOES PAYMENT OF ROYALTIES ON RECEIPTS MEAN?
Payments on receipts means paying on the actual invoiced value to the buyer that we receive for selling the books. So for instance if the book is Priced at $10, and a shop buys it at $6, you receive a royalty on the $6. We do not deduct other costs that we pay from within the $6,

WHAT PRICE CAN I BUY COPIES AT?
  • 50% discount off the retail price, and this applies to any book you want to order from the list, from any imprint.
  • 55% if it’s 500 copies,
  • 60% if it’s 1,000,
  • 65% on 2,500 and upwards.
Most publishers sell books to authors at around 30% off the retail price. There’s more in Sales.
You do not pay for the first twelve books, that are sent free, as per the contract

WHAT ARE THE "PUBLISHER RIGHTS"?
On the contract page, underneath "imprint", there may be (not always) a reference to "publisher rights 30%". It is an internal note for Admin. The publisher of an imprint has some responsibility for making contacts, commissioning books, developing the marketing for the imprint. As a commission payment they receive a percentage of what the title generates in royalties from sales. It is not deducted from the royalties the author receives, but is in addition to it.
At the bottom of the contract page there is reference to a "royalty split". this is only applicable where there is more than one author.

DO I HAVE TO GIVE YOU FIRST OPTION ON MY NEXT BOOK?
No.
Most publishers have a “first refusal” clause which gives them first option on your next book

WHO IS MY EDITORIAL CONTACT?
There is no one particular editorial contact for you. When the contract is signed your book is allocated to a number of people in the system - first the Publisher, then the Editorial Manager (who in turns allocates it to a copy editor), the Production Manager (who might also allocate it to a designer), a cover designer, etc. all these are notified at relevant stages of production through the website, and will notify you.
Queries on editorial and production matters can be made at the different stages of production, rather than separate emails. If you can not find the answer there, please enter your query on the Forum.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MANUSCRIPT?
The editor copy-edits the manuscript, following the guidance in Preparing the manuscript and taking into account any comments you have made in the Author stylesheet box. When the copy-edited manuscript gets back to you, this is your last opportunity to make changes to the text. Any tables, illustrations, diagrams are added later. In times past, proofs used to be an occasion for later changes. Nowadays, they are for formatting.
Note: Most of the verbiage is directly from the site, and not my own. But I filtered, re-arranged, and reformatted (adding a few headers along the way) in a manner that, at least for myself, is more easily digestible.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:56 PM   #70
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I'd just like to point out that from those numbers, 40% would be subsidy, not 25%. Somewhere, someone is reporting numbers wrong, either Mr. Hunt here, or the website.

ETA: Omfg. I just saw this:

Quote:
WHY DOES THE CONTRACT HAVE TO BE FOR THE LENGTH OF COPYRIGHT?
There are two main reasons;
• Publishers make what money they do on the relatively small number of titles that keep going after the first flush of sales and keep reprinting for years and decades afterwards.
• We do not put books out of print. Once the information is out on the databases it will be there in some form forever, hard to change, and queries on the book’s availability or on permissions could still be coming through in 20 years time, creating work.
• There is more on the nature and length of copyright in the User Manual under Copyright questions in the Editorial & Production section.
From this alone I would recommend authors stay away from this company. Life of copyright contracts, as I understand it, just aren't done in the publishing world. In fact, as I understand it, with print books the books are taken out of print when they start selling below a certain number of copies or at the end of a specified time and the rights are returned to the author. I know ebooks might complicate this more, but most publishers still have a term limit on the contract of the book, do they not?

Seven years at PA was considered excessive. What are the terms to allow an author to get out of the contract?

This seems especially egregious to me considering authors who are being asked to pay for the right to let someone else have their book for decades. Honestly, those authors would be better served keeping their money and self-publishing where at least they actually get to make money on the first 1000 copies sold and have a better chance at recouping costs. Especially considering it's been stated here and on the site that those authors are expected to pay because they aren't expected to sell very many copies.

Oh, what the heck. I have too much I want to say about this not to do a point-by-point.

Quote:
WHAT RIGHTS DO YOU GET AND I KEEP?
The copyright of the work remains with you. Unlike many even of the major publishers we do not buy copyrights. What are you agreeing to here is to give us the exclusive right to publish the book for the period of copyright, while the book remains in print, in return for a royalty on sales, along with various subsidiary rights where the income is split 60% in your favor. More on ebooks in the section below.
The contract is with John Hunt Publishing Ltd. We trade under different imprints, and that’s how we refer to books on the list, but they are not legal entities.
I think it's misleading to mention the 60% rights in here. It makes it sound as if the publisher is trying to imply that authors are getting the better end of the contract by focusing on the one number that's higher. I'd also like to know what percentage of their books sell subsidiary rights and of what nature.

The royalties on print as stated earlier are much smaller, and for ebooks it's 50%, but all of that is on net, which is never as beneficial to the author as gross--which is what most big publishers use.

Quote:
WHAT TERRITORIAL RIGHTS DO YOU WANT?
Our "default" position is for worldwide publishing rights, in all languages, but if you want to confine it to English language worldwide, just make a comment to that effect in the comments you can send back with the contract and the publisher will adjust the contract,
Can someone answer a question for me? This sounds to me like they're taking foreign language rights when they sign the contract. Isn't it also right that most subsidiary rights sold in publishing are foreign language?

Thus, doesn't that mean that they're offering authors 60% on rights that they are then taking, meaning that the authors will never be able to sell those rights and gain that 60%?


Quote:
WHAT PRICE CAN I BUY COPIES AT?
50% discount off the retail price, and this applies to any book you want to order from the list, from any imprint. 55% if it’s 500 copies, 60% if it’s 1,000, 65% on 2,500 and upwards.
Most publishers sell books to authors at around 30% off the retail price. There’s more in Sales.
I'm under the impression most publishers give free copies to authors, and, more importantly, that those authors are then not allowed to resell those books.

The fact that this publisher seems to expect authors to buy upwards of 500 copies of their own books, and acts as if this is perfectly normal, is incredibly telling.

Quote:
WHO IS MY EDITORIAL CONTACT?
There is no one particular editorial contact for you. When the contract is signed your book is allocated to a number of people in the system - first the Publisher, then the Editorial Manager (who in turns allocates it to a copy editor), the Production Manager (who might also allocate it to a designer), a cover designer, etc. all these are notified at relevant stages of production through the website, and will notify you.
Again, I'm a novice here, so please correct me if I'm misunderstanding, but I had thought that when an author signed a contract, they were chosen by an editor and that editor is able to help them with things throughout the process (requiring the writer doesn't have an agent to go through).

It sounds to me like this is saying that authors have no one to contact regarding questions or problems. That seems to be a bad thing, to me. Shouldn't an author have a person they can contact in the event of basic questions and issues?

Honestly, this company might actually be able to sell books, at least for some of their titles, but I would still never sign a contract with some of these terms.
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:20 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaJeanne View Post
In order to facilitate discussion (and ease Mr Hunt's frustration at our not reading it closely enough), I've tried to distill some of the key points from the web-pages into a more concise format.

Greater detail onto the reasons for why for each of these items can be found on the website.

Note: I was unable to access quite a few pages, because the site wasn't playing nicely with Chrome. Also, I had to stop before I dug through everything I could reach, because there are other things I need to be doing. Maybe I'll dig into it again this evening.

John, if you feel my distillation mis-represents anything, please let me know, because that's the furthest thing from my intent.



Note: Most of the verbiage is directly from the site, and not my own. But I filtered, re-arranged, and reformatted (adding a few headers along the way) in a manner that, at least for myself, is more easily digestible.
There is simply no reason--none at all--to make a publishing offer so packed with razzamatazz argle-bargle one needs a flow chart to decipher it. Pass.
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:49 PM   #72
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World-wide publishing rights in all languages?

Pass.

Contract for the term of copyright (author's life plus seventy years) with no reversion clause?

Pass.

Royalties on net?

Pass.

Offers subsidy contracts?

If a publisher offers even one subsidy contract the entire press is a vanity press. Not only no, but heck no. Pass.

Any editing beyond light copyediting is on the author's dime?

This publisher doesn't care what they put out. Pass.

Pass, pass, pass.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:38 AM   #73
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From this alone I would recommend authors stay away from this company. Life of copyright contracts, as I understand it, just aren't done in the publishing world.
Life-of-copyright contracts are the norm for large publishers. They're less common in the small press world, but they do exist.

They're not a problem as long as there's an out-of-print/rights reversion clause that provides precise guidelines for taking books out of print (tying out-of-print to minimum sales and/or royalty thresholds, for instance, fewer than 100 copies sold over the course of 12 consecutive months) and for authors to revert rights (a specific set of steps the author or his/her representative can take, once the book has gone out of print or fallen below the minimum threshold, to demand that the publisher either reprint the work or relinquish rights).

Where life-of-copyright contracts are a problem: if there's no reversion clause at all (sounds like that's the case here) or if the clause is too vague (leaves the out-of-print decision entirely to the publisher's discretion).
Quote:
Can someone answer a question for me? This sounds to me like they're taking foreign language rights when they sign the contract. Isn't it also right that most subsidiary rights sold in publishing are foreign language?
If I understand your question correctly, no. There's a whole raft of other subrights--audio, book club, film, TV, first and second serial, reprint...the list goes on.
Quote:
Thus, doesn't that mean that they're offering authors 60% on rights that they are then taking, meaning that the authors will never be able to sell those rights and gain that 60%?
They hold the rights, but if they can't exploit those rights themselves, they will seek to license them to others, such as foreign publishers that will publish in translation (theoretically, at any rate--many smaller publishers don't have much ability to market subsidiary rights, which is why you should be careful about letting them claim them). The 60% is the author's share of any proceeds of those licenses.

Is there any evidence that Hunt can successfully market subrights? If not, they shouldn't claim them.

- Victoria
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:41 AM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaJeanne View Post
In order to facilitate discussion (and ease Mr Hunt's frustration at our not reading it closely enough), I've tried to distill some of the key points from the web-pages into a more concise format.
Thanks so much for doing this. I was aware of the subsidy and the no-royalties thing, but not that they sell marketing services and that anything beyond copy editing has to be bought.

- Victoria
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:03 AM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
Life-of-copyright contracts are the norm for large publishers. They're less common in the small press world, but they do exist.

They're not a problem as long as there's an out-of-print/rights reversion clause that provides precise guidelines for taking books out of print (tying out-of-print to minimum sales and/or royalty thresholds, for instance, fewer than 100 copies sold over the course of 12 consecutive months) and for authors to revert rights (a specific set of steps the author or his/her representative can take, once the book has gone out of print or fallen below the minimum threshold, to demand that the publisher either reprint the work or relinquish rights).

Where life-of-copyright contracts are a problem: if there's no reversion clause at all (sounds like that's the case here) or if the clause is too vague (leaves the out-of-print decision entirely to the publisher's discretion).
If I understand your question correctly, no. There's a whole raft of other subrights--audio, book club, film, TV, first and second serial, reprint...the list goes on.

They hold the rights, but if they can't exploit those rights themselves, they will seek to license them to others, such as foreign publishers that will publish in translation (theoretically, at any rate--many smaller publishers don't have much ability to market subsidiary rights, which is why you should be careful about letting them claim them). The 60% is the author's share of any proceeds of those licenses.

Is there any evidence that Hunt can successfully market subrights? If not, they shouldn't claim them.

- Victoria
Thanks for clarifying.
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