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Do Book Editors Deserve a Cut of the Profits?

Woman writing

By Edward Nawotka

In today’s lead story former Harcourt editor Ann Patty raises an interesting question: If an editor is integral to the shaping of a successful book, don’t they deserve a cut of the profits? A royalty of their own?

Read Ann’s editorial and let us know what you think in the comments or via Twitter using hashtag #ppdiscuss.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted April 9, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    What a brilliant, long-overdue yet perfectly timely thought! Editors *should* earn a 1-3% royalty, just as literary translators should. This could be the start of a wonderful new model for self or traditional publishing where the author, editor, and translator get their due. Bravo, Ann, for such a thought!

  2. Posted April 9, 2010 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Absolutely editors deserve a cut. True editors that have turned lumps of coal into sparkling diamonds deserve a fair share of the profits. I think the role of freelance editors is going to expand as time goes on and writers and agents will seek out “star” editors who are brilliant at what they do.

  3. Chris
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Ok, here’s a different and more common composite real life example:

    Book Editor discovers first book with tantalizing possibilities and acquires for a reasonable advance, though not a pittance—say $50,000. Book Editor works real hard, nights, weekends etc and makes it into best book it can be. Book Editor works that special book editor mojo to cajole Marketers and Publicists until they care. She convinces Publisher to take out some pre pub ads in the trades and maybe a fractional in the NYTBR, spending and additional $50,000. When the book publishes it’s a critical smash! But readers stay away in droves, 80% of the books are returned, and the publisher takes a bath.

    In the suggested new model, how much money does Book Editor pay back the company?

  4. Posted April 9, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Chris, read the rest of the paragraph. Editors should get a royalty only in the bonanza situations, where the company has overmet its target profit.

  5. Chris
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Ann that’s exactly my point. I respect the editor’s sweat equity. In fact, I respect the sweat equity of the marketers, publicists, copy editors, sales people, designers—all the work that goes into making a book. But this new model would give editors the financial rewards in the bonanza situation without asking them to share the financial risks of publishing good books that fail.

One Trackback

  1. By The Future for Book Editors: Royalties? on April 9, 2010 at 8:02 am

    [...] DISCUSS: Do book editors deserve a cut of the profits? [...]

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