[DWJ] Remember me?

Charles Butler charles.hannibal at gmail.com
Sun Dec 23 07:00:34 EST 2007

On 23/12/2007, Judith Ridge <judith_ridge at netspace.net.au> wrote:
> >> By the way, Diana is currently incandescent in a mild sort of way
> >> about an illustrator who seems to think s/he is entitled to 50% of the
> >> royalties on a book s/he did drawings for; a counter-offer of 12%
> >> seems slightly more like it, given that the words came first and the
> >> illustrations wouldn't have happened at all without them...
> >My question: is the book in question a novel or picture book? I assume
> novel, because as far as I know, DWJ has only published one picture book
> (Yes, Dear) and the genre is really not her stock in trade. If the book in
> question is a novel with chapter illustrations, then 50% of royalties is
> entirely unrealistic on the illustrator¹s part. However, if it¹s a picture
> book, then 50% of royalties is the the standard arrangement.

The whole thing sounds a bit odd to me. The size of DWJ's royalty would
surely be determined by her contract with the publisher, which is normally
negotiated long before the illustrator is even chosen. In any case, it's not
as if there were a fixed-size cake marked "Royalties" which author and
illustrator had to fight over the slicing of. Besides, except for picture
books, illustrators are more often paid a flat fee than a royalty.

I wonder if what's being referred to here is not royalties but Public
Lending Right - i.e. the fee collected every time a book is checked out of a
public library in the UK, and distributed annually to authors and
illustrators? There it really *is* up to authors and illustrators to agree
percentage splits. The PLR people don't recommend particular percentages,
and actual practice varies widely, but the range amongst the authors I know
runs from 50:50 to 80:20, depending on whether we're talking about a picture
book or an occasional line drawing, or something in between.


Website: www.charlesbutler.co.uk

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