We do not offer advances. Advances are not “free.” They are not “pay.” They aren’t “gifts.” Payday loan companies do the same thing, just with higher interest rates. When an author receives an advance, he or she will not see a single royalty payment until the publisher has recouped the advance.
Your advance is based upon your work and your status. If you aren’t a celebrity or public figure, you will not receive the million dollar advances that such individuals receive. Most regular authors only get somewhere around $10,000 as an advance. It’s very rare that a new or unknown author receives any more than $25,000. J.K. Rowling’s first advance for the Harry Potter books was $1,500.
To further illustrate, say Jane Doe lands a contract with Mega Pubilsher, and gets an advance of $10,000. That isn’t actually what she’ll get, as the $10,000 then goes to her literary agent, who takes another 15%. Jane actually gets around $8,500.
The standard publisher royalty rate (15%) provides Jane with around $1 per book in royalties. So, she’ll need to sell around 10,000 copies of her book (so the publisher makes their advance back), just to see a single cent from royalties. The publisher doesn’t take the agent’s cut into consideration. If she doesn’t “earn out” the initial advance, and sell over 10,000 books, her next advance will only be $5,000, or less, because her original title didn’t sell.
It is a punitive and oppressive process that serves no real purpose. We split royalties with authors, in print and electronic formats, at an even 50%. Our authors are paid twice a year, as is the industry standard. Authors are also free to order as many discounted copies of their books as they need, and can mark them up to whatever price they wish. They don’t receive royalties for their discounted purchases, but keep all monies made from selling the titles themselves.