Royalties: An Open Letter to Authors

Through all my interactions with Publishers, I kept coming back to the royalties question.  

In the traditional publishing model, the publisher earned the lion's share of the royalties because they take all of the financial risk to prepare, publish and market the book. They invest in a book and provide the capital and expertise to get it to market. The author provides the sweat equity and the labor to create the manuscript, but typically not any capital--so authors traditionally received a small royalty payment (around 3 to 12% or thereabouts).

Okay, fair enough. Innovo offers Traditional Publishing too. With our traditional model, we take all the financial risk and fund all costs to prepare, publish, and market the title.  We pay the author an advance and we pay them royalties on each sale and at a very attractive rate--two to four times higher than the norm.  In addition, our authors makes no financial commitments. They don't have to buy books or invest in marketing or buy any of our services. Innovo either recovers our investments (or not) based on revenue from sales.   

Innovo also offer a Cooperative Publishing model that is a custom arrangement through which we split the financial risk & rewards (i.e., royalties) with the author based on the specific situation.  In addition, as a part of our written contract, if sales go well and revenue targets are met, we'll pay the author a bonus equal to their initial publishing investment. This is one tangible way we demonstrate our desire to be good partners with our authors and ministries and engage in long-term, win/win relationships. 

Of course, we also offer an Independent Publishing model, where the author is taking all of the financial risk and providing all of the upfront capital to create, publish, market and sell their book, Given this, I had to ask myself why some independent publishing companies are still earning most of the royalties when they aren't taking any of the financial risk. The answer, I concluded, is that some publishers are continuing this practice because that's how it has always been done... and because they enjoy the revenue!  But I don't believe that's right with Independent at Innovo, our independently published authors earn all of the royalties. 

In summary, at Innovo we believe that the one who takes most of the financial risk to publish a book should also reap most of the financial rewards. So we created and use three distinct publishing models that reflect this principle:

  • The Publisher takes all the financial risk and reaps more rewards in our Traditional model.
  • The Author assumes all the financial risk in our Independent model and in return reaps all of the royalties.  
  • And the Publisher and Author share the financial risks and the rewards in our Cooperative model according to their investments.

If you believe our publishing models are a good fit for you or your organizations, I hope you will give Innovo the opportunity to collaborate with you on your next Christian or wholesome publishing venture.


Dr. Bart Dahmer
Founder & CEO
Innovo Publishing, LLC