how to reject properly when people asks if you do royalty only projects?



  • Hello everyone,

    I have a friend who is asking if I could do royalty only project for a small publisher. The answer is probably not, but I am not sure how people actually reply to such requests and not harm that friendship.

    Anyone advice/suggestions?

    Thanks much!



  • Hi @idid, Just politely state that royalty only agreements are too risky. If that’s hard, just say you know someone who had very bad experience with royalty only agreements and suggested you never consider them.

    Just say you only work with advances + royalties, which is typical for children’s book industry.

    You might want to cheeky and ask for the royalty fee % and benchmark estimated payout to have them calculate the tiny amount you will get. I believe industry practice is 5% for illustrators and 10% for author/illustrators.


  • SVS OG

    @Jeremy-Ross i Totally agree. The safest way to go about this is to say that it’s just too risky. If it were me I’d keep it short and sweet.



  • @Jeremy-Ross and @Nyrryl-Cadiz Thank you so much for your advice! I thought I was going to tell him/her I am really busy, which is true at this moment. But it seems like delaying a problem rather than solving it. Your suggestions make so much more sense!



  • Simply state that you do not accept that type of job. People make it much more complicated than it needs to be.


  • Pro

    Yeah he asked for a favor. He doesn't get to feel offended if you say no!



  • I didn't know they were a thing, I would never take a royalty only project. That would be my response to them, even if they are a friend. You could elaborate and explain that you would basically be working for months on the artwork for the book but the book may not be released a long time after that, so you essentially will only see returns, if any, on your work probably a year later. Who would agree to that? The least that could be offered is an advance.

    I on the other hand have only been offered work for hire contracts lately 😞


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