Book contracts: show me the money

You’re writing a book. It takes time — often time that you could be spending doing something else.

So you want to know: where’s the money?

From idea to published book, calculate that the entire process will take around two years. That includes shopping around your book proposal, negotiating with a publisher, writing and rewriting (yes, there are ALWAYS rewrites), correcting the galley proofs, and on and on…

But once you’ve signed the contract, and the advance against royalties check is on its way, how long does it take?

I’ve had amazingly fast checks from publishers (“fast” meaning two months) and slow ones too, when the book was the the printers before I got the advance.

It depends on a lot of things: the publisher’s payment process, whether your editor decides to take a leave of absence before she signs off on the deal, but it always takes longer than you think it should.

As » Calendar to a Book Deal reports:

“(it takes) ‘a lot longer than you think, and longer than they say,’ to receive the advance check. In my case, I was pretty pleased with the turnaround on the check. My agent did a good job of setting my expectations and the payment was actually received a little bit quicker than I thought. Once again, I’m sure this varies wildly from publisher to publisher, deal to deal.”


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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.