We had a great, if not so well attended panel at Libcon here in Tulsa yesterday. It was on the basic 101 of Epublishing.
We started drifting into the royalty rates for self-publishing your work on Amazon and other e-book outlets. We were able to share that at price points over $2.99 you could get up to 70% royalty on every ebook sale with Amazon.com. The discussion drifted into royalties on more traditional publishing venues and honestly, it had been so long I really didn’t even remember. I don’t even know what we currently make with 47North on Pirates of the Outrigger rift, (which Gary pointed out I couldn’t say anyway per contract.)
In any event, I am very safe in pointing out that it is MUCH LOWER. It is all variable by contract. The publishers vary and the cache of the author varies. Here is a not too far off answer to that question provided by the website linked below:
The Business of Publishing
Q. How much is the typical royalty percentage paid by a New York publisher?
A. The key word in your question is “typical.” There are exceptions to everything, and there may be variability from one publishing house (or contract) to another, but here are some guidelines.
Typically, an author can expect to receive the following royalties:
Hardback edition: 10% of the retail price on the first 5,000 copies; 12.5% for the next 5,000 copies sold, then 15% for all further copies sold.
Paperback: 8% of retail price on the first 150,000 copies sold, then 10% thereafter.
Exceptions to the above include sales to warehouse clubs (like Costco or Sam’s Club), book clubs, and special orders; the royalty percentages for these can be half the figures listed above.
Update: eBook royalties through traditional New York publishers are 25%. They should be higher because the publisher does not have the typical costs of printing, binding, warehousing, shipping, etc. that they have with a bound book. Some digital publishers offer royalties at or near 50%.