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View Full Version : Do agents usually give advances on advances?



aruna
05-28-2011, 12:32 PM
Just asking. I wanted to post a thread on my excellent ex-agency in Bewares and Background Check and wasn't sure if this is normal behaviour.
My agency regularly advanced me money when I was skint, when they knew advances were due in a few months. That really helped me stay above water. Do other agents do this?

mscelina
05-28-2011, 12:42 PM
*zips off email to agent*

God, I hope so. Mama needs a new pair of shoes. :D

TudorRose
05-28-2011, 12:58 PM
when they knew advances were due in a few months

May I also ask, as it's kinda related... how long does it generally take between signing a publishing contract and the advance (or first instalment thereof) getting through to the author? I'm sure it varies, but have people's experiences been days, weeks or months?

aruna
05-28-2011, 01:03 PM
In my case, I think the first advance came after about 3 months.
It was a long time ago, though, so I may not remember correctly.

Wayne K
05-28-2011, 02:52 PM
An advance on an advance? Your agency is kinda cool to do that.

aruna
05-28-2011, 03:16 PM
No longer my agency, I regret to say.
Or rather, I don't regret it as I have a new agency, but I'm not sure they do this. And am afraid to ask!

shaldna
05-28-2011, 03:37 PM
i've never heard of it happening, but having an agency who are able to do that is pretty cool. looking after their authors and all.

aruna
05-28-2011, 05:09 PM
I've heard of only one other agent doing it, through a PM.

Old Hack
05-28-2011, 08:00 PM
I don't think it's a standard thing, Sharon, but I have heard of several agents doing this for their established clients on the odd occasion.

Wayne K
05-28-2011, 08:18 PM
If they establish doing it for odd clients I'd be rich :D

Medievalist
05-28-2011, 08:22 PM
Just asking. I wanted to post a thread on my excellent ex-agency in Bewares and Background Check and wasn't sure if this is normal behaviour.
My agency regularly advanced me money when I was skint, when they knew advances were due in a few months. That really helped me stay above water. Do other agents do this?

Sometimes, especially if they know the author/author's work.

I've known publishers to do this as well, by the way.

I had a textbook publisher send me a check before the contract was actually finalized so I could pay tuition. (W. W. Norton you rock!)

Medievalist
05-28-2011, 08:25 PM
May I also ask, as it's kinda related... how long does it generally take between signing a publishing contract and the advance (or first instalment thereof) getting through to the author? I'm sure it varies, but have people's experiences been days, weeks or months?

I'm in a very funny niche genre--consumer technology books.

The contract was finalized in mid March for a book about the iPad 2. We finished the ms. in mid-Aprill, c. the 20th or so, including author review/galleys.

The book was in stores May 8.

I got the first chunks of the advance about two weeks ago; I'm waiting for a last chunk that was a bonus for hitting the deadline.

In some cases, also, there's a delay on the part of the agent--look for an agency clause about remitting funds/sending checks. Don't let them sit on checks indefinitely.

scope
05-28-2011, 08:30 PM
New to me, although I've never asked.

aruna
05-28-2011, 08:57 PM
I've known publishers to do this as well, by the way.

Yes, my publisher did this once too, so I could make a downpayment on a house! I thought that was great.
Started a thread for my ex-agency, here. (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=214987)

Though they are still my agent in a way, as I still get a few paltry royalty payments, one coming up soon, and they're the ones who send it. They also still send me info letters on publisher news that affect authors.

IceCreamEmpress
05-29-2011, 04:29 AM
That would certainly be unusual in the US; it's far more usual here for publishers to move up payment schedules for a contracted project (as Medievalist mentions) when an author is tight for cash.

How lovely that your agents came through for you in that way, aruna!

aruna
05-29-2011, 10:16 AM
That would certainly be unusual in the US; it's far more usual here for publishers to move up payment schedules for a contracted project (as Medievalist mentions) when an author is tight for cash.

How lovely that your agents came through for you in that way, aruna!

I know! And at the time I didn't appreciate it. I took it for granted, and even let the agent go due to a stupid difference of opinion that could easily have been resolved, with more patience on my part. What a prick I was!

Anyway, I got my comeuppance: seven years without an agent, and me down on my knees begging someone, anyone, to let me in, bleeding my heart out. Seven bloody years. But I deserved it, truly.

TudorRose
05-30-2011, 02:59 PM
Thanks for the info, Aruna and Medievalist :)

Hillgate
05-30-2011, 08:09 PM
Ask for direct bank transfers - the cheque (or check!) is dead and can get 'lost/delayed in the post' ;)

aruna
05-30-2011, 08:11 PM
Yes, I only deal in direct bank transfers.

Jamesaritchie
05-30-2011, 09:15 PM
It's not too uncommon, if the agent can afford to do so. I've even known a couple of agents who often gave advances to writers they really had faith in when no advance was expected.

CAWriter
05-31-2011, 05:13 AM
It's not too uncommon, if the agent can afford to do so. I've even known a couple of agents who often gave advances to writers they really had faith in when no advance was expected.

I'm starting to wonder if Dear Jim just gets a kick out of being contrary.

Personally, I've never heard of that, but maybe it's because the agents I know don't want people lining up at their doors with their hands out without a contract, and the authors who are getting that treatment don't want to overextend their gravy train. It might not be "too uncommon," but it certainly isn't common in the circles I've been in.