[Python-authors] Author Python Book - Packt Publishing

Julie Steele jsteele at oreilly.com
Thu Dec 17 22:30:17 CET 2009

Hi everyone,

First, full disclosure: I'm an Editor with O'Reilly. 

I just wanted to contribute the note that when a publisher states its royalty rate as a percentage, you need to ask: "of what?"  Some publishers calculate royalties as a percentage of profit rather than of net revenue, or their definitions of "net revenue" may vary.  So just looking at one publisher's percentage vs. another is usually a comparison of apples to oranges anyway.  

Then there's the matter of how many copies they expect to sell.  Some publishers sign books only if they expect the book to do well and make a profit; others are willing to take a hit on some niche books and expect to make up that revenue with a few blockbusters -- which is all well and good, unless you're the author of one of the niche books that never earns out its advance.  (The silver lining here is that this is how books on niche topics are made available to those that want them; if you're considering writing on such a topic and are primarily concerned with publicizing your content or growing your community, then this could be the way to go.  Just be aware that you might not make any money doing it.)

These are all good things to ask a publisher you're considering working with (as well as questions Wesley indicates, such as what the tech review and editing process will be like, and who is responsible for that: some publishers ask authors to handle their own tech review).  

It's always good to know what you're getting yourself into, no matter whom you're considering working with.

Happy writing,

----- Original Message -----
From: "wesley chun" <wescpy at gmail.com>
To: python-authors at python.org
Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:23:44 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: [Python-authors] Author Python Book - Packt Publishing

this is a warning to all before jumping in without looking at the
waters first. i haven't worked with them before, but based on the
existing review of their Python books, i would be somewhat hesitant,
and i certainly wouldn't approach them without an agent. (i'm also not
sure of their marketing and PR... i doubt they have the same type of
staff as a more well-known publisher like Pearson [Prentice Hall,
Addison Wesley] or O'Reilly.)

the royalties they're offering seem abnormally high, and even scarier
is that they tell you over email when this is typically something
that's negotiated. the standard royalty rate is 10%, as O'Reilly
states publically:


i'm concerned that they offer a higher rate because they spend less
elsewhere, such as editing. read Alex Martelli's review very carefully
as well as others' here:


he is doing both the Python community *and* authors at-large a huge
favor by exposing this type of publisher behavior in the hopes that
anyone would jump at this project because they: 1) want to be
published, and 2) want higher royalties. as long as they sell enough
to cover their minimal costs. it is also strongly likely that the
editing, if there is any, is outsourced.

here's another one (check out the "most helpful review"):


anyway, i'm not telling you guys *not* to do it, but just be careful,
and have good English writing skills because likely, it won't be
edited much so you should be prepared to be practically camera-ready.


On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 4:52 AM, Sunny Kansara <sunnyk at packtpub.com> wrote:
> Hi All,
> I represent Packt Publishing, the publishers of computer related books.
> We are planning to publish a new book on wxPython which will teach the
> Python developers who want to quickly use wxPython to create programs with
> high functional GUI's and currently we are looking out for some potential
> authors to write this book.
> We pay a royalty of 16% and an advance against it.
> An ideal candidate to author this book will be someone with an experience in
> wxPython. He/She should be able to communicate his/her thoughts clearly in
> English. Past writing experience will be an advantage though not mandatory.
> If you are interested in authoring this book, please write to me with a
> brief information about your experience with wxPython and any past writing
> experience you may have..
> Thanks,
> Sunny.
> --
> Sunny Kansara
> Author Relationship Executive
> Packt Publishing
> www.PacktPub.com
> Skype: sunnyk
> MSN: sunny_packt at hotmail.com

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"Core Python Programming", Prentice Hall, (c)2007,2001
"Python Fundamentals", Prentice Hall, (c)2009

wesley.j.chun :: wescpy-at-gmail.com
python training and technical consulting
cyberweb.consulting : silicon valley, ca
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Julie Steele
Acquisitions Editor
O'Reilly Media, Inc.
jsteele at oreilly.com
Mobile: 201-937-7866
AIM/Skype: JSteeleEditor
Twitter: @jsteeleeditor

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