November’s One-A-Day Q&A – Question #7

7 11 2016



Q:  Can one reasonably expect advances against royalty?  How are they calculated? 


A:  To be realistic, very few people today are paying advances.  They’re harder and harder to come by.  So, if you’re just starting out and it’s your first deal, by all means, land the deal and get your work out there even if they don’t give you an advance against royalties.  As you move forward, you want to always ask about advances and royalties, but don’t count on them.

If you have the opportunity to or are in a position to request and negotiate an advance, a really fair way to calculate them is based on the manufacturer’s projected sales. In other words, once you know the estimated sales for the first and second years, after manufacturing is completed, you can request a fraction of the first year of your sales. I usually go for about 25 percent of the first year’s sales, which is really reasonable, and you can always negotiate down from there.  Hey, it never hurts to ask.

What you’re really looking for is just some kind of advance, which shows faith in you and a commitment to you as an artist/creator, and makes the manufacturer have a bit of ‘skin’ in the game, so they fulfill their commitments to you, as well.  I think that advances are important because when a manufacturer has paid you some money, any amount, they feel an obligation to manufacture your product and get it out there because they have money invested.  These are non-refundable advances against royalty.  Fight for them and ask for them, and if you don’t get them, make a decision and move on.



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