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Once you start to sell your writing, you will begin to receive checks through the mail, however with the publishing industry forever changing, magazines and companies are folding at a high rate and your payments may take a while to reach you.

Retrieving monies owed
If a magazine has folded since printing your short story or article, you are a creditor and therefore the money should reach you. However, if the magazine is a small operation there may not be any money left to pay you. The time spent chasing a relatively small sum is unlikely to be cost-effective and the wisest course may be to put it down to experience and concentrate on another outlet for your work.

No reply to request for payment
If you’ve constantly written to a magazine regarding the non-payment of a piece of work you will be able to take it further. Write another letter informing the editor that if you do not receive payment within one calendar month you will pursue the matter through the Small Claims Court. Usually such a threat will bring the cheque to you within days. Be prepared to follow the matter through.

Using a pen-name
Ensure that you will be able to cash or deposit cheques in your pen name before using it. Banks are usually able to cash them if you provide proof of your identity and the pen name.

Royalties for your novel
The payment for your novel royalties varies considerably between the publishers. Most pay twice yearly and others pay just once a year. When a publisher accepts your manuscript you will need to sign a contract. Read this carefully, as it will have details of the payments to be made to you.

How does a publisher decide upon the advance to be paid?
This depends upon how successful he thinks the book will be. Two-thirds of the resulting figure is a good approximation of the advance.

How is a book advance paid?
Normally it is paid in three parts. The first is paid when the contract is signed, the second when the manuscript is received and the third when the book is published.

What are the royalties for a hardback?
Ten per cent is the normal amount.

Paperbacks are slightly lower at a staying figure of seven and a half per cent.

When will I get the royalties?
You will not receive the royalties until the advance is recouped in sales. The bigger the advance, the longer it will take to receive the royalties.

Do I have to pay back the advance should the book be unsuccessful?
No. The publisher took a risk in publishing the book, the loss is his.