Author Topic: Advance & Royalties  (Read 1198 times)

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Offline iyerani

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Advance & Royalties
« on: January 03, 2014, 05:06 AM »
Hi, please move this post under appropriate section if I got it wrong.

A small publisher is offering $2,000 advance and 10% royalties for a book. The amount is to be split equally between the illustrator and me, author.  This is for hardbound picture book. This is my first book.

If you don't mind, please share if your first book received higher advance and royalties. Also please share the percentage of royalties you received and any other experience you might like to share.

Thanks so much!

 :pages:

 

Offline Anne Marie

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2014, 05:30 AM »
Those royalties are standard, I believe.  That's what I've gotten from my much larger publisher.  Your advance is on the low side, but you said it's a small publisher so that's not unreasonable.
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Offline Artemesia

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2014, 08:57 AM »
I know of a very reputable smaller house that offers less for pbs, so I'd agree with Anne Marie that for smaller house it's reasonable.  And the royalty rate is good.
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Offline 217mom

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2014, 01:28 PM »
Similar terms, with an escalation clause. Only that was a PB that was never marketed, (publisher closed their doors)so the escalation clause became moot. I got the advance and a few boxes of my book, and have sold many copies myself.
Congratulations on this very awesome and wonderful step. The happiest moments on the business side of it for me, so far, has been seeing the illustrations come in.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 05:18 PM by 217mom »
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Offline Vijaya

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2014, 03:54 PM »
Rani, Congratulations!!! I think 2K for a small publisher is a good advance and 10% split between author/illustrator is standard.
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Offline dkshumaker

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2014, 04:03 PM »
I had a critique group member get $500 (I think) for her PB advance from a small publisher. I have no ideas what her royalty percentage is, though I know she is getting them. So $2000 sounds great!


Congrats on your first PB! How exciting.

Offline TH

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2014, 04:43 PM »
http://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=68206.0

There was a good discussion of the range of advance/royalties for picture books.  I pasted the link above. Sounds like congratulations are in order, iyerani!

Offline iyerani

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2014, 11:34 AM »
Thank you all for your responses.

I do have another Q: Can I ask them to give me royalties instead of advance? That might help the publisher find the best illustrator for the manuscript.

Or can I negotiate an escalation clause (as suggested by mom)

Or is it best to take what they offer and move on...

 :clover Now to sign it!

I will be relieved when an illustrator has been assigned.

Thank you all for your encouragement and feedback!


Offline Kell

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2014, 12:23 PM »
Iyerani, the only thing fairly certain in a negotiation is that you will not get what you do not ask for.  A professional publisher won't revoke the offer if you negotiate in good faith, even if they say no to your terms. And they might say yes! But don't sign the contract until you agree with everything -- you can't negotiate after you sign.

HOWEVER, I would advise against giving away or trading your advance. For many authors, the advance is the only royalties they will receive. Keep it if you can! It's real money and not a bad advance at all.

But I am not a lawyer or an agent and this is not legal advice! If you aren't familiar with contract terms, you might be able to find an agent to represent you in the negotiation, or you could pay a literary attorney to do it. Your advance is a decent size -- an agent might be interested, or you can justify a lit attorney's hourly rate.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 12:26 PM by Kell »
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Offline Keila

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2014, 01:32 PM »
 :partytime Yeah iyerani!!! Congrats! I took the advice of some published authors in my critique group and joined the Author's Guild. You can do that if you have a contract. It was worth the $70 bucks for their attorney to look over my contract and offer advice. The attorney also had experience with others who published with the same house.

With the first contract offer I had to get over the idea that the publishers would tire of my questions or delay in signing as I gathered information. The attorney really did help in many ways. I didn't get everything I wanted nor did I ask for everything the attorney thought I should get, but I choose what was important.

The hardest part is the wait!! And I do check in once a month for an update. My editor doesn't seem to mind. :-)

Offline iyerani

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2014, 09:52 PM »
Keila,

Wow, this sounds grand, "joined the Author's Guild!"  Never thought of it this way! Great suggestion, let me think about this.

Thanks,

Rani

Offline iyerani

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2014, 09:55 PM »

HOWEVER, I would advise against giving away or trading your advance. For many authors, the advance is the only royalties they will receive. Keep it if you can! It's real money and not a bad advance at all.


This advice is really useful for me. Thanks, Kell! I appreciate it. Sometimes, it is best said out aloud and it clears all the fog in the brain!  Feeling  :muscles now.  :meditate

Offline Keila

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2014, 12:07 PM »
Good luck Rani! Someone created a facebook group named ''After the Contract''. Great name isn't it? Lots to learn about this process for sure.

I agree with Kell...the advance is your first paycheck for your work!! And real money.  :guitar:

Offline Bobi Martin

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2014, 07:24 PM »
From what I've heard from many, many agents at many, many conferences, an agent can't get a better contract for you on your first book than you can, so save yourself the agent's fee. And then use the sale of this book to shop for an agent if you'd like to have one for your next book.

Editors are not surprised or put off when a writer asks for reasonable changes--even though they still may not grant what you ask for. Your advance is good for a first book and from a small publisher so I'd accept that w/out comment. I would ask for an escalation clause after a certain number of sales, and I would ask for 5 more books.  (You'll likely at least get that, lol.)

You didn't mention if you were offered a discount on books you buy--so if you weren't, I would absolutely ask for a 50% discount (they will likely counter with a lower percentage).  Once you start doing bookstore or school visits, or speaking at SCBWI or local writing events, being able to sell your books yourself will earn you extra money.  Negotiating the first time can be a little scary. But it's also empowering.
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Offline TH

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2014, 09:28 AM »
These are terrific responses! I've bookmarked the thread in the hope that I get a chance to use the advice...someday!   :snail


And, iyerani, I can't wait to know what this good news is all about! (We've been waiting in some of the same threads....)


TH

Offline HaroldU

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2014, 02:59 PM »
Use your discretion about using an Author's Guild "audit" in contract negotiations. You don't always get someone who is experienced with children's books contracts and they may focus on boilerplate legal language that you are going to have a hard time getting changed. Look for some good general guidance in the chapter on contracts in my Idiot's Guide or by using the SCBWI's annotated sample contract, available free to members.
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Offline lisamc

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2014, 11:23 AM »
From what I've heard from many, many agents at many, many conferences, an agent can't get a better contract for you on your first book than you can, so save yourself the agent's fee.
I got my agent after I received the offer, but before I signed the contract. All of my earlier books are in the school and library market, where the contracts are pretty straight forward. This was my first trade novel and the contract looked like a laundry list of clauses with clauses. My agent did not get me a bigger advance - but I wasn't looking for that either. She did get the royalties increased on a number of clauses, where I wouldn't have even thought to ask for more. She knew which rights to keep and which to let them have. She got the wording tightened considerably on a couple of clauses, one I had been concerned about and one I hadn't realized needed to be tightened until I saw her changes. I looked at the contract and saw lots and lots of words. She looked at it and knew what was set in stone, what could be changed, and what was a reasonable request. From that stand point, I got a much better contract because of her participation. This may not be true of everyone. Some writers have a better understanding of contracts and a better feel for what is and is not flexible, or they have the confidence to do it with the help of a how-to book.
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Offline iyerani

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2014, 09:47 PM »
Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your experience. I am not sure I will be able to find an agent at this point. The publisher is taking lot of time to talk me before presenting the contract. Hopefully I will learn to understand this better. Don't have the entire contract yet.... :meditate

Offline Marcia

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2014, 07:00 AM »
Sounds like good news to me! The escalation clause is a very easy thing to ask for because it only comes into play if your book sells over a certain amount of copies. Your publisher will probably be happy to include it in the contract, since they will be doing well with sales by that point. Congratulations!
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Offline Bobi Martin

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2014, 07:48 PM »
There are always exceptions, Lisa. And it's great that your agent was able to improve on your contract!!  I simply shared what agents have repeatedly said at conferences. But then this was not your very first book and that's what they were talking about.

Iyerani, it sounds like the publisher is trying to help you understand the contract well before they present the whole thing. And it's great that you're getting lots of good advice about what to ask for. Good luck with the process.
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Offline kelly w

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2014, 01:05 PM »
When I sold my first picture book, I got a little more than that, and I got 5% royalties, and the illustrator got 5%.   This was from a large publisher.

Don't give away your advance.  After I sold my book it took EIGHT YEARS before it was actually published, and another six months after that before the first royalty check.  Take the advance, and use it.

If your publisher "needs" to keep YOUR advance to find a 'better' illustrator, that would be a red flag to me. That's just not right.  They either have the funds to pay both of you  professionally or not.
 
Lastly, congratulations on your sale!  This is wonderful news!  Be sure to celebrate!   :guitar:

Offline iyerani

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Re: Advance & Royalties
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2014, 01:01 AM »
 :thanks2 all! Harold, Thanks for your suggested resource. Will look it up.
Latest update is  my illustrator has agreed to the terms :paint   :hurrah:

Now waiting for the publisher to get back to us regarding time line and advance and all that  :meditate

and a paper to sign on!

Thank you all for your support. Will keep you posted.