If the title of this article sounds a bit polemical, good; because I DO write for money, and you should, too!
Surely, there are a zillion other satisfactions to be had from seeing one of your books in print, including prestige, pride, and a lot of other forms of psychic income.
Sadly, you can’t pay the rent with psychic dollars; you need the real thing, which publishers don’t want to part with.
It’s important for you to insist on earning a fairly substantial advance for these reasons:
(1) It symbolizes a substantial commitment that the publisher is making to the book.
(2) It helps to compensate you for the time you sunk into writing it.
(3) It helps to pay you for the time and effort you’ll invest in promoting the book.
(4) It means the publisher will publish fewer books than otherwise, because his or her dough is tied up in yours. You’ll be one of fewer horses in the stable, so your title will take on more prominence, in-house.
(5) It makes you feel like a pro, and you’ll be treated like one by subsequent publishers who will always ask how much you were advanced for your prior works.
There may be an exception for the rare publisher who will give you an astonishing royalty percentage, in lieu of a hefty cash advance. Still, it’s better to get at least some cash, up front, because you shouldn’t have to accept more of the risk.
After all, you wrote the book, or are about to, and that’s a risk. You could be doing other things with your time; money- making things.
Publishers know this, but they get amnesia when negotiations begin!
Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of Customersatisfaction.com, is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide. A Ph.D. from USC’s Annenberg School, Gary offers programs through UCLA Extension and numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. He is headquartered in Glendale, California, and he can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org.