Michael J. Sullivan, I've published six novels, have two more in production for release in the Summer, one on submission, and two more in editing.I've published six novels, have two more in production for release in the Summer, one on submission, and two more in editing.
Small press picked up my debut book - no advance royalties were 25% of net (for print) no ebook or audio - I sold out the first print run then the rights reverted to me.
Self-published books 2 - 5 (and eventually #1 once it reverted) sold 70,000 copies priced $4.95 - $6.95 per book from April 2009 - August 2011
Sold the series to a big-six publisher a 3-book 6-figure deal for World English rights and about double that for foreign language translations (14 countires). The books were released Nov 2011 - Jan 2012) I've sold about 180,000 copies as of Dec 2012.
Sold the second series to same big-six publisher 2-book 6-figure deal again for World English rights, too soon to know what the foreign sales will be
No royalties yet, (would have been except for the high reserve held back for returns (40% - 60% of paperback sales) will be receiving my first "royalty check at the end of March.
As to agents:
Tried the query go round for about a decade - never got anywhere than stopped trying
Another decade later tried again - landed an agent after a year shopping it went no where
Published through a small press (un-agented)
Self-published, and got inquiries from foreign publishers, so hired a foreigh rights agent to deal with those)
When 5th book was released foreign rights agent tried New York again and sold the series in 17 days.