In the days before my book went to auction, I spent a lot of time reading through Kristen Nelson’s Agent 101 series, trying to figure out as much as I could about publishing terminology. For those of you who’ve never read her series, I highly recommend it.
One post in the series was all about advances. Here’s how advances typically work.
1 = at signing the contract
2 = at delivery and acceptance (final round of edits done and your editor has approved your work)
3 = at publication
An advance is really a publishing house investing in your product, buying your invention, whatever metaphor makes most sense to you. Ideally, your product will “earn out” — meaning the publisher will re-coop through sales the advance money paid to you. If that happens, you will earn royalties (a percentage of your publisher’s profit) on each book sold.
Here are a few other posts on advances and earning out: