Prescription for Success

Let Trophy Room Books Publish Your Book

Candidly, we think we're the best choice if you have a big game hunting book to publish. No one offers a more generous contract - and we think you ought to be aware of some important terms. So let's get right down to business:

  1. YOU, the author, are the SOLE OWNER OF THE COPYRIGHT, everywhere in the world. If you turn out to be the next Ernest Hemingway, your estate and not the publisher's will be the sole beneficiary. We state this in our contract.
  2. You're selecting a publisher, not getting married. We don't ask for any rights of first refusal on either future books or future editions of the book in question. If we do a good job, you'll be back. And if you're not happy with us, we don't want you to spend your money or ours trying to get out of a deal. Check this when signing any contract.
  3. We set the retail and wholesale prices at contract time and those are the only prices on which royalties are paid. We never insert terms like "reduced royalties for export sales." After all, if we get the US dollar equivalent from someone in a foreign country, why shouldn't you get the full royalty?
  4. When we account for wholesale copies, we give you the name/address and number of copies bought by other dealers. In other words, we provide means for you to verify wholesale sales. (As an aside, we consistently sell almost 2/3 of our books at full retail!)
  5. When do you get paid? We start paying royalties within ONE month after initial publication and pay monthly for the first six months and quarterly thereafter. Payments are made within TEN DAYS of the end of the accounting period. We're constantly amazed at how bigger firms, with more employees, sometimes hold author's up for months...and months.

    You might consider, in light of the above, calling other authors and asking about publisher's payments etc.

    Another point: royalties should be paid on SALES and not on monies received. If publisher ships to a dealer who goes bankrupt, it should not come out of author's pocket.

  6. If your work is to be a limited edition then we at Trophy Room Books ask that authors come, at our expense, to sign the books. This is a great way for you to verify that only 3 - 4% overrun (to account for review copies, damage, loss etc) have been printed. But if you are signing limited ed. sheets to be tipped in afterwards - BEWARE that you don't sign hundreds of extras. About 6 - 7% is more than enough.
  7. The PHOTOS REMAIN YOUR PROPERTY and are to be returned after publication. This is very important, especially if you are submitting original photos and/or negatives.
  8. We set a time for publication and don't use words like "reasonable." You know when our deadline date is going to be. We always publish within twelve months of receiving final manuscript and photos.
  9. We want this to be the best possible book. So if during the 21 day author inspection period of the camera ready copy, the author want to make changes, we encourage authors to do so. ...WITHOUT CHARGEBACKS OF ANY SORT!
  10. We stand by our price structure. Authors never get less than 10% royalty of the initial stated wholesale price. If we're forced to make a little extra concession, that comes out of our pocket, not the author's. We don't altar retail prices or wholesale prices.
  11. We state that the contract contains the entire agreement between publisher and author and may be modified only in writing and when signed by both parties. We think this prevents the "he said, she said" syndrome.

Next, we'd like to make a few suggestions that we think will make your literary life and our publishing life easier, especially during the submission or negotiating stage.

  1. We'd like to know whether you are dealing with us or with one publisher at a time or whether you are sending mss material out to several prospective publishers. Both publisher and author must negotiate in good faith. So you're responsible for letting publishers know what's going on.
  2. Put a time limit in your submission after which, if no offer is made, that the mss. must be returned along with any/all photos. Also make it clear that letters may go back and forth between you and several publishers and that there will be no contract until a formal contract is signed.
  3. There's more to a contract than just royalties. As you probably know, anyone can promise big royalties in paragraph one of page one and then take them away or reduce them a little at a time in subsequent deduction clauses. Read your entire contract carefully. And don't be fooled into thinking that agreeing to a royalty percentage means you've agreed to an entire contract.
  4. Photos: Although publishers will ultimately need the best quality photo or negative available for publication, submitting photos can be tricky. Be sure the prospective publishers know in advance (and perhaps in advance agree in writing) to the fact that photographic materials must be returned on author's request. It can be frustrating to find that you've sent 20% of your photos to each of five different publishers and then have trouble getting all back for resubmission to the one publisher with whom you've signed a contract.

Why are we going to all this trouble? Simple. We think we've got the best and one of the fairest deals around. We want you to be aware of the benefits of dealing with Trophy Room Books. But if you do go elsewhere, we want you to have a good publishing experience.

~ Ellen Enzler Herring and Jim Herring ~