Today’s guest is Raquel B. Pidal. Raquel has a master’s in Publishing and Writing from Emerson college, and currently works in publicity at Harvard University Press. She’s also the blog mama of Copyrighteous–a site focused on copyright and writers’ rights issues.
If you missed parts 1 and 2 of her post on publishing contacts–when she discussed some business basics, and three important clauses (the introductory clause, the delivery and acceptance clause, and the grant of rights clause)–click HERE, and HERE, then come back. In today’s final post on contracts, she’ll explain the advance and royalties clause, permissions, the option/first right of refusal clause, the warranties and indemnities clause, and the out of print clause.
The Anatomy of a Publishing Contract: Part 3
By Raquel B. Pidal
The lovely advance and royalties clause determines how and when you’ll get paid. An advance is just what it sounds like: an advanced payment from the publisher paid out before your book is even published. Royalties are a percentage of money that you earn from the sale of each book.
An advance is paid out against royalties—in essence it’s a loan from your publisher. Let’s say you are paid a $5,000 advance against royalties. This means that you get the $5,000 in advance of publication of your book. When your book starts selling, the first $5,000 of royalties you earn won’t go to you; it goes back to your publisher. Any royalties you earn after $5,000 will then be paid to you. If you earn more than $5,000 in royalties, you are said to have earned out your advance, a joyous day in the life of your publisher because many books nowadays don’t even earn that much back.
Advances are usually paid out in 2 or 3 installments: when the contract is signed, when the manuscript is submitted, and when the book is published. Be sure to read your contract carefully to determine whether your publisher expects you to pay back any portions of your advance if your manuscript is rejected, as some publishers expect this.
Royalties are a percentage of money you earn on every book sold. [Read more…]