It depends :-). First, you typically get an advance. This varies, but can be
between $5,000 and $15,000, depending on the subject (how hot it is) and the
previous track record of the author. This money counts against any royalties
that you make...which is why they call it an "advance". You then get
royalties. Royalties are based on net profit of the book.
As an example, if a book says it costs $50 on the cover, this is considered
gross profit. Net profit is what the publisher gets for the book. The
publisher typically marks the book up by about 50%. This can vary depending
on whether the book is hard or soft-bound, includes CDs, and its page
length, as well as other things. So net profit on a $50 book is about $25.
You get a percentage of the $25. Royalties can range anywhere from a very
low 5% up to about %18 percent. Sometimes this is on a sliding scale. For
instance, it might be that you get 8% for selling 5,000 copies and between
5,000 and 10,000 you get 10% and for anything above 10,000 copies, you get
%12. As an example, if your percentage is 10% on a net profit of $25 a book,
you only get $2.50 a book.
Most technical writers don't get rich selling technical books. Most
publishers are looking for average sales of 500 copies a month. So given
$2.50 a book, you just make $1,250 for that month. Of course, if you had an
advance of $10,000, this money goes to paying off the advance. So you might
not see any real money until about 9 months later. A really hot topic
typically sells more than 1,000 or 2,000 copies a month, but this doesn't
happen too often. Of course, you might get really lucky, like Todd Lammle
did when he came out with his first CCNA book. Rumor is that he sold over
250,000 copies in 18 months...talk about nice royalty checks :-).
I got into the writing business by accident. In my first marriage, I was
paying a lot of alimony and didn't have any spending money :-(. This is when
Cisco's certifications were taking off. Since I taught these classes, and
had a minor in English, I thought, hey, what the heck. It will at least give
me some money to travel a bit. So my first contract was with the Coriolis
Group to write a Cisco Switching book for Cisco's switching exam.
Writing isn't for everyone. Constantly I get asked how easy is it, or how
can even begin to write a book? Typically, I can get a first proof of the
book done in 3-4 months, which is about 600-700 pages. It takes persistence.
There are many a day when I don't feel like working at it. When I was
writing my first book, I was under a lot of stress--working during the day
and then writing 3-4 hours every night. And then writing every weekend.
Today, my schedule is much more flexible
Richard A. Deal
Visit my home page at http://home.cfl.rr.com/dealgroup/
Author of Cisco PIX Firewalls, CCNA Secrets Revealed!, CCNP Remote Access
Exam Prep, CCNP Switching Exam Cram, and CCNP Cisco LAN Switch Configuration
Cisco Test Prep author for QuizWare, providing the most comprehensive Cisco
exams on the market.
""Mossburg, Geoff (MAN-Corporate)"" wrote in
> I know a lot of people on this group have been published, some multiple
> times, and I hope I'm not offending anyone by asking this question: How
> does a book publisher pay for the books you write? I'm not expecting any
> specific figures, but a ballpark figure would be interesting.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Deal [mailto:rdeal2@xxxxxxxxxx]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 7:24 PM
> To: cisco@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: Richard A. Deal Books [7:62027]
> Thanks for the kudos. I worked really hard on the book and I know, after
> having written 6 books, that you can't please everyone. However, of all of
> the books that I've written, I'm proudest of this book. Yes, there are
> errors that slipped in during my last review of the book and when it went
> production, which does, unfortunately, happen. But as I discover these, I
> put them on my web site.
> As to my MCNS book, which is what the first poster asked, I had finished
> but before it went to print, the publisher (The Coriolis Group) went out
> business. Since the MCNS has changed, I've decided not to create a new
> I'm getting a contract this week to write a CCNA book for McGraw-Hill and
> have been desparately trying to convince them to write a Cisco VPN
> that covers ALL aspects of VPNS with Cisco products--PIX, router,
> concentrator, and their software clients.
> If you have any questions about my PIX book, please don't hesitate in
> shooting me an email. Thanks for your support!
> ""Mark Smith"" wrote in message
> > I think his PIX book is very good. I've not found many errors in it but
> > maybe I've not looked at it in as much depth as you have. If I have a
> > about it it's for one thing. I use it as a desktop reference. Sometimes
> > looking up how to accomplish "X" and find out that before I can do that
> > need to accomplish A, B and/or C. The instructions will simply say "That
> > process was covered earlier and won't be repeated here. Now to
> > "X"....." Earlier? Where....EXACTLY? I've spent more time looking for
> > "earlier" sometimes than I do accomplishing the task at hand. "Earlier
> > this chapter under the blah heading" or "this was covered in the chapter
> > blah blah" would be helpful. As far as the info in the book goes I've
> > stuff in there that I can't find at CCO (it may be there but I can't
> > it) or anywhere other than maybe from tech in a TAC call. Either that or
> > I've had to look for it in a dozen different places and now it's all
> > together in one book.
> > It's the best book I've found on using a PIX. Beats the Cisco Press book
> > the PIX by a long shot.
> > Don't know about any others he's written.
> > IMHO.
> > Mark
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: nobody@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:nobody@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of
> > Sam Sneed
> > Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 9:57 AM
> > To: cisco@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> > Subject: Re: Richard A. Deal Books [7:62027]
> > His PIX firewall book is OK. It does have a lot of errors in it though.
> > his other books have proofreaders.
> > ""Joseph R. Taylor"" wrote in message
> > news:200301281542.PAA19053@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> > > Hi Everyone,
> > > I'm interested in knowing how good Richard A. Deal's books are.
> > > Especially in reference to MCNS. Thank you in advance.
> > > Joseph R. Taylor
> > > MCSE, CCNP
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