Next I heard back from the author of a scholarly book whom I had helped with his book proposal.
The reductions motived me to try to gather more information on the current state of publishing contracts (including watching the recent TAA on demand presentation “Anatomy of a Textbook Contract,”).
My next step was to ask a few people—two authors with recent publication experience and a publisher—about their knowledge with respect to royalties, at least with respect to the three basic ones (hardback, paperback, e-book; I didn’t ask for the complete detail of all the different types of rights and royalties).
(I haven’t explicitly asked my editor how many sales Routledge would consider a success, but one indication of Routledge’s expectations might be found in my contract’s paperback clause, which offered one rate for the first 2,000 copies and a higher rate for copies after that.
If they’re willing to offer more after selling 2k copies, that’s a sign of their relative satisfaction with its performance.) After exchanging e-mails with me, this author queried his editor/publisher, and he was told that his book would not be published individually, but rather would be published only as part of a larger electronic portfolio that his publisher sold as a package and that for this reason, they did not offer individual royalties.