Typical starting advance from publishers?


  • SVS OG

    I'm back again with more starting illustrator questions! I continue to get what look like self or tiny publisher inquiries via my website, and I realize I am procrastinating on answering them because I don't know enough about the business to evaluate whether they are reasonable.

    Can someone tell me what is the current starting rate for a 32-page picture book advance with a small publisher, and how much that would be compared one of the big five imprints? And what would typical royalties and rights be? I looked in the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook (2014 edition), but $3000-60,000 as an advance is too huge a range to be useful.

    And what is a typical time allowed for final artwork after roughs?

    I'm trying to decide whether some of these projects, if structured like those with established publishers, might be worth taking on.

    This whole experience has been really useful, if for no other reason than that I am determined to think through where I want to go with this. And where I want to go for now is to take a step back, refine my portfolio so that it is more focused, and to prepare materials and social media that will attract art directors and agents/reps. For the first time I'm also thinking seriously about the writing/book dummy aspect as well. So I actually am thankful for how much all these inquiries have made me think!

    Thanks to anyone who can respond!


  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @LauraA

    I'm back again with more starting illustrator questions! I continue to get what look like self or tiny publisher inquiries via my website, and I realize I am procrastinating on answering them because I don't know enough about the business to evaluate whether they are reasonable.

    Can someone tell me what is the current starting rate for a 32-page picture book advance with a small publisher,

    My opinions:

    For a new illustrator with only a few or no previous publishing history
    Small Publisher Illustration Only: $3K - $10K
    Self-publisher: Each illustrator will decide for themselves but I would go toward $10K as the chances the book are ever actually published are small.

    and how much that would be compared one of the big five imprints?

    For a new illustrator with only a few or no previous publishing history
    Larger Publisher Illustration Only: $15K - $25K

    And what would typical royalties and rights be?

    Royalties based on "List": 5% escalating to 8%
    Royalties based on "Net": 9% escalating to 12% (rule of thumb I've discussed with my agent is royalties based on "Net" should be roughly double the percentages based on "List")

    Rights are typically "All rights while the book is in print". Of course you should be getting a percentage of every sale of the illustrations. This will be listed in the contract under subsidiary rights.

    And what is a typical time allowed for final artwork after roughs?

    That varies on illustrator and how quickly they can complete a piece of finished art. Typical time to illustrate a book is 6 to 9 months. I personally want about 3 - 4 months to create finished art. But when starting out I would have wanted/needed more time for that.


  • SVS OG

    @davidhohn Thanks, @davidhohn! That was a thorough answer!


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