1.22.2006

Schedule M for mistakes

Dear Miss Snark,

How is an author (or her agent) to know how many books were sold, remaindered, at what price, et. al.? Here's a a website that gives one pause.


Cause publishers send royalty statements that say how many books were sold and in which category and at what royalty rate. They are fearsome documents.

Every good publishing contract gives writers or their representatives (ie accountant or agent) access to the publisher's books at least once a year to make sure the royalty statement is an accurate reflection of what the publishers' accounts show.

Mistakes happen all the time. ALL THE TIME.
The only question is whether it's intentional. I vote for no as the default explanation but there are times I'm wrong.

There is a company here in NYC that only does royalty reviews. They don't charge you any money up front or if they don't find any errors in your favor. They earn their entire income by taking a percentage of errors they collect for you. That says a lot. Gail is #5 on my speed dial cause when I need her, I'm too fired up and pissy to actually remember where she is in my address book.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The only question is whether it's intentional. I vote for no as the default explanation but there are times I'm wrong."

A supermarket here was recently fined for intentionally mismarking the prices of goods on the shelf. The way the state inspectors decided it was intentional -- the errors were about 85% in favor of the supermarket. Since random errors should benefit each side about equally, it was deemed that 30% of the mistakes were random and 70% were intentional. Seems like you could apply a similar logic to royalty statements.

stay_c said...

The practice of checking payments isn't unusual. I work in logistics. We pay a firm to audit our bills vs. a pricing agreement. They make money when they find errors. Everyone makes mistakes. That these folks were smart enough to make it a business deserves to be admired.

jason said...

Hi, I'm a writer currently having a royalty "issue" with my publisher. can you publish the name of the firm you know that conducts royalty reviews? or at least email it to me: sideroads@gmail.com

Sal said...

Jason sed, I'm a writer currently having a royalty "issue" with my publisher. can you publish the name of the firm you know that conducts royalty reviews?

Big secret? I don't think so. I was curious too, so popped /"royalty reviews" "new york" "gail"/ into Google and

found this.

Granted this Gail may not be Miss Snark's Gail, but they seem to operate the same sort of business.

Miss Snark said...

yup, that's Gail.
Tell her 'hey' from Miss Snark

jason said...

Sal and Miss Snark,

Thank you both for your help on this.