Earning Out that Advance

I recently read an interesting article on Crikey about how authors are paid. (Advance Australian Authors Fair)  According to Fiona Inglis, Managing Director of Curtis Brown Literary Agency, ‘We consider money vulgar.’ This seems to be the general consensus in the publishing world, so in the same spirit I’ll confess to receiving a five figure advance for Brumby’s Run, and leave it at that. Stories abound of authors who never earn out their advance, with figures as high as seventy percent being reported by the New York Times. I’m therefore relieved to announce I’ve officially earned out my advance for Brumby’s Run after only three months. A huge thank you to all my wonderful readers out there who have made this happen! Thanks to Penguin Books Australia as well, most particularly to my lovely publisher, Belinda Byrne.

Publishers offer the advance they project your book will earn back in the first six to twelve months after publication. This sum is advanced against future royalties, kind of like a loan. It needs to be paid back before an author will see one more cent from book sales. If royalties earned fall short of that initial advance, then the author has failed to earn out, and the publisher might be reluctant to contract them again.

There is nothing quite so satisfying as receiving that first royalty cheque, however modest. It means your book has lived up to publisher expectations. Very good news indeed.

8 thoughts on “Earning Out that Advance

  1. Congratulations, Jennifer. Few Aussie fiction authors are given five-figure advances, and even fewer earn them out, especially within three months of publication. Well done! Exciting for you, for Penguin and for good old traditional book publishing.

    • Thanks Desney. I didn’t know that. Nobody talks about their advances, so it’s hard to know what’s normal. I’ve indeed been very fortunate. This publishing game is such a gamble …

  2. Congratulations Jennifer! I never really understood the whole ‘advance’ thing before. Now that I do though, your achievement is ever more impressive. Not surprising, just very, very impressive. 😀
    Well done! I think Firewater will be in the bag so to speak.

  3. Thanks acflory, and I hope you’re right about Firewater. I intended to begin my new novel. working title Kingfisher, in November anyway, so after seeing your post on Nano writing, I’ve signed up! There’ll be no finished draft by the end of the month, but it might be fun and motivational …

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