Friday, July 07, 2006

Agenting 101 (Payout--part five--comments)

STATUS: There’s only enough time to do Payout comments on the blog today because I’m off to a wedding in Vail, Colorado. You know you are getting old when you stop going to weddings of your friends and start attending weddings of your friends’ children. Yikes.

What song is playing on the iPod right now? DRIVER 8 by R.E.M

I normally don’t answer questions on this blog (as you well know) and I’m not actually answering questions today but a couple of commenters raised some good points in the comment section and I wanted to add some thoughts.

A Payout schedule (of either 1/2 or 1/3) should not change—even with a multi-book deal. So fight for a fair split.

For example, let’s say we have a two book deal and we are doing payments in thirds at 15,000 per book.

Payout would look like this:

10k on signing (allocated 5k to book 1 and 5k to book 2)
5k on delivery of book 1
5k on acceptance of book 1

5k on delivery of book 2
5k on acceptance of book 2

That’s 30k total and only 5 payments. So, fight if the publisher is trying to space out the money in tiny increments.

And if a publisher insists on a payment upon publication, I always minimize the amount of money for that final payment.

For example, in this above scenario, I would weight the money forward so only 1k would be on publication (if I can swing it).

It would look like this:

14k on signing (allocated 7k to book 1 and 7k to book 2)
7k on d&a of book 1
1k on publication of book 1

7k on d&a of book 2
1k on publication of book 2

And here’s another thing I forgot yesterday. When you have an “upon pub” payment, you need to specify a “no later than” clause.

In the contract, it will read something like this:
$1000.00 on Publisher’s initial publication of the work

And you need to add these very important words, “but no later than 12 months following the acceptance of the manuscript.”

That way there is no excessive waiting for your payment if publication is delayed (not to mention there should be a concrete specified time frame in the contract for the Publisher to publish your work (as in within 12, 18, or 24 months from signing) and if they don’t, it’s breach of contract.

Off to the wedding. Have a great weekend.