Friday, March 03, 2006

Is She Crazy? Hell Yeah.

A woman named Lynne W. Scanlon is advising authors to give up their advances against royalties in favor of getting one lump sum payment upfront. No royalties on copies sold, no piece of the potential pie. Just take your $10,000/$20,000/$50,000, etc. upfront, pay Uncle Sam, and get to work on the next book.

The woman is nuts. I think she must be a secret agent for a major publishing house....Here's some of what she says:
Here’s what I recommend for authors today. Don’t accept an advance against royalties. (Yippee! A $100,000 advance against royalties! OK, make it $10,000.) Surprise! It’s doled out upon signing the contract, turning in an “approved” manuscript, being published, and (horrors!) reaching the six-month mark after the pub date if the publishing house can get away with it. Get a check upfront as payment in full, and get as much as you can. Say the magic words “work for hire.” You can take less than the $100,000. (What? Give up $100,000?!) Money you have in your hand today is worth much more than money tomorrow.)

OOOOkay. Suppose your book gets picked by Oprah later on down the road? Hey---it could happen. Suppose you write a future book that becomes a runaway bestseller and that sparks interest in your previous works?? Hey---it happens. Under Ms. Scanlon's advice, you'd be shit out of luck. Suppose Hollywood comes calling? Foreign publishers? Audio? Merchandising? Yada, yada?? Yep, you guessed it---more shit for luck.

Take this example: James Frey's A Million Little Pieces came out a couple years before Oprah picked it. Now suppose he'd followed this advice and sold it as work-for-hire? Yeah, you're right again---he'd be shit out of luck.....Out of a shit-load of money, too.

My point is......DO NOT TAKE THIS ADVICE. Unless, of course, making money isn't your long-term MO.


Blogger Faith said...

I agree. Nuts.

3/04/2006 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Idiot isn't the right word for it.....I guess there are some ignoramus writers that would jump at $10,000.00 now and forego a potential cash cow for the future.....she's obviously one of them.

3/05/2006 9:57 PM  
Blogger Rob Gregory Browne said...

Hey, I'm happy to get paid at all, but I'm not nuts. I worked for hire in Hollywood in the animation ghetto. The money was good, but not good enough, considering all the advertising dollars I missed out on.

No royalties in animation, I'm afraid. I don't need to go through that again.

3/06/2006 8:35 PM  
Blogger Millenia Black said...

Tess Gerritsen blogged about this very thing and made the same points. I agree, I'd never give away my stake in the sales.

You'd think it would be a no-brainer, but I guess it may be ideal for some people that are more money-hungry than they should be. :)

3/07/2006 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to work for hire too and considering the long shot of hitting bestsellerdom, it's not all that bad to get a lump some now.

3/09/2006 7:49 AM  
Blogger naas said...

As a novice writer I wouldn't even agree to this.

3/12/2006 2:10 PM  

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