Thursday, April 17, 2008

what I've been paid: advances

Novelists are usually paid an advance against a royalty rate. These are my advances, dated by the signing of the contract.

1984: Cats Have No Lord, $3000.
1985: Witch Blood, $6000.
1987: The Tangled Lands, $7000.
1990: Elsewhere, $5000.
1990: Dogland, $10,000.
1991: Nevernever, $5500.
1997: The Secret Academy, $12,500.
1997: Chimera, $12,500.
2000: Voyage of the Bassett: Thor's Hammer, $6,500.

Advances are rarely paid in one piece. For The Secret Academy, I promised to deliver approximately 100,000 words in exchange for $5000 on signing, $5000 on delivery, and $2500 on publication.

To put this in a little context: At Marvel Comics in the early '90s, my pay rate was $48 per comic book page. In Hollywood, Emma and I made $50,000 for a script that was never produced. As a general rule, novels and short stories are the lowest-paying form of professional writing. But they're also the most satisfying.

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