Interesting article from RealPants.com (external link) regarding book publishing at a small press. Most interesting is the idea of paying authors in copies, so that they can go about selling the titles themselves. Here’s a quote:
Instead, the royalty model that I’ve been playing with for the last few years is to pay authors in copies so that they can sell their book themselves. This way, they actually earn more than if I paid the traditional seven-ish percent of list. Here’s an example: I gave one author 250 copies of her book—a quarter of the print run—in advance, as payment in full. If she sells them for $10, she stands to make significantly more than what goes into the PGP coffers. (Averaging about $5 per book, selling 700 books after promo copies and the 250 for the writer, subtracting $2000 in printing costs.)
This kind of detail runs through the article and I encourage you read it if you are in talks with a small press. Or if you hope to be.