Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Agenting 101: Royalty Statements: Sales By Account

STATUS: Mondays are usual frantic but today was quiet. I’ll take it. I’ve got two submissions that need to go out by Friday.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? THE CHAIN by Fleetwood Mac

I began with Random House’s statement because it has a lot of detail, but even RH doesn’t have sales by accounts on their statements.

So what is that? It’s the breakdown of sales for your book via the different accounts such as Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon, Indies, book fairs (such as Scholastic) etc.

And the answer is no, royalty statements do not contain that information. However, I’ve certainly requested that information when tracking sales for a certain titles. Editors have also volunteered giving that information when a title is doing particular well and we want to chart where the majority of the sales are coming from. Or, equally important, getting on an account who hasn’t bought in for a title—especially when that book is doing well and it’s in their best interest to carry the title.

As hard as it is to believe (especially looking back now), it took Hyperion more than a year to get Borders to seriously buy-in Ally Carter’s YA novel I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You. I know, in retrospect, seems pretty short-sighted of them to take so long. But Borders only had so much room for new YA titles and so Hyperion had to hound them about how good the sales numbers were to make them pay attention to this debut title.

Obviously now they are staunch supporters of the Gallagher Girls series but the break-down showed us what we needed to do.

We actually also use the breakdowns to see which Independent bookstores are really supporting the series and guess where Ally went on her book tour? A very good use of the breakdowns I’d say.

6 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:


    Why don’t the publishers offer this type of information up front? It certainly must be in their accounting database. Seems to be more secretive than necessary, especially since it affects your accounting to the client, right?

  2. Cam Snow said:

    I’m sure when we go to e-Statements that we will see all that information more readily available.

    That type of breakdown requires one more page for them to print and mail, and it also might cost them TIME because more agents will start bugging them with why aren’t we in Borders questions.

  3. Deb said:

    Borders probably couldn’t give “I’d Tell You I Love You” because 95% of their space was given to the Twilight books at the time.

    The local 15 year old thought the Meyers books were crud and loved the Carter book, by the way (G).

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