Monday, October 3, 2011

Math problems

Congrats! You got published! :)

Now comes the fun - and confusing - part: Advances and Royalties.

With all publishing houses, you will sign a contract. With some, you'll receive an advance - a specific (and often negotiable) amount of money that is the publisher's promise to print your book. You taking the money (and signing that intimidating dotted line!!) is your promise to finish writing the book.

Typically, advances will be split in half - you'll receive one half when you sign the contract and given the other half when you turn in an acceptable manuscript.

Once your manuscript is in, edited and printed, then comes the fun part - royalties! Royalties are a monetary percentage of each book sold that you receive. Say, for example, that you have a $10.00 book and you receive 10% off of it (which, yes, is a very good example for a new or newish author), you'll make $1 per book.

The kicker? You'll have to make back that advance before you start receiving any royalties. If you got a $5,000 advance, you'll have to sell 5,000 copies before you start seeing any royalties adding up in your account.

Gives you a little more incentive to help publicize the book, huh? ;)

You typically will receive "royalty statements" four times a year - so once every three months. There, you'll find a breakdown of how your book sold and how much you have received for it.

And, don't forget your fabulous agent! Agents will usually receive another 10-15% of your profits, which includes both advances and royalties. Come negotiation time, though, it's very worth it. :)

Confused? Ask any questions you might have! Royalties and advances are some of the MOST complicated part of the publishing process - especially for those of us who tend more toward creativity and less toward numbers (like me!). :)


  1. Is it normal for a first time author to sell more than their advance?
    Did I ask that right? Normally does a first time author sell more books than they were paid as an advance, so do they make any $$?

  2. Suri, this varies! It depends on so many factors, such as how "big" your publisher is (traditional vs small press etc.), how much marketing allowance they were given to promote your book, how much effort you put into promoting your book, etc. Even factors such as the time of year it released can come into play. There's no real way to be certain either way. I've known first time authors who "earned out" right away and others who took a year or more or never did.