Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 7, 2009

Speakers Bureaus and Publishers

Speakers Bureaus Beef Up Publishers’ Profit
Just five years ago it was almost unheard of for a publisher to have an in-house speakers bureau. Now all of the Big Six houses – Hachette was the last holdout, but they partnered with the Greater Talent Network to form a speakers bureau in May. And Publishing Perspectives discovers they are “turning out to be surprisingly recession-resilient” what with publishers and authors splitting speaking fees between $5000 and $20,000. “representing a welcome source of found money,” even in the midst of an economic downturn.

Ellis Trevor, who runs Macmillan Speakers, looks beyond the fees and points to bureaus acting as a too that raises an author’s profile and promotes titles beyond the typically short window of book publicity. “We’re generating revenue, we are selling more books, and I think in the long run changing the paradigm of how we market our books and authors.” And one Oprah-anointed novelist admitted that since his appearance on the show, there have been some years when he’s made far more money from speaking than from writing books.
Publishing Perspectives


  1. Are publisher *really* taking a cut of authors’ speaking fees? Is this the same for “adult” authors as for “children’s” authors? Yikes! It used to be enough that publishers would sell books when an author was on the speaking circuit. With the little that most authors earn, it seems a bit much for the publishers to take a piece of the pie. (And if I’ve read this wrong, please correct me.)


  2. Alexis,

    I was shocked when I read this. I am going to make a point of finding out what is going on. I guess if these speaker bureaus ended up getting more speaking engagements for more money, then it would be okay. Hopefully they aren’t talking about anything the author does on their own. Next week, I will start asking the publishers about this and let you know what ai find out.



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