I have opted for a royalty deal for Animal hats to knit and these days I either take the deal offered or not. In the past, I have negotiated hard for a good deal. I did it for all my work. But budgets are tight and more money in one area usually means less in others. I have worked on books for no fee with the only the promise of an inflated fee on another book. Times are hard in publishing, and in the past, I have negotiated so well that one of the first books I authored is possibly unviable as an e-book. A small advance, in theory, just means that you start getting royalty payments earlier. I expected a low advance but the advance offered is very low. I cannot afford to take much time off work. I cannot afford not to take time off if I am to do a good job.
There is a materials budget though, and this is a bonus. A materials budget means that I do not have to rely on manufacturers to supply the yarn. However, because my overall budget is so low, I will have to use a limited range of yarns so that I can use partial balls of yarn elsewhere in the book. I have just created an Excel document of all yarns and their price, an estimated design and knitting time and the actual time for each project. When I feel I am losing control, I create an Excel document and feel reassured by the figures it produces. If I send you an Excel document, you know I am worried.
In addition to the low advance, I have been asked to find a pattern checker to check my patterns. Luckily, someone, I trust and like agreed to do it. But the process of finding out about other author deals with the company and talking to people who have worked for them has made me very nervous about the task ahead. The deal they offered me is lower than other deals, but the other deals were agreed under different circumstances. When you ask questions, you hear the 'interesting' tales. It seems there is no point repeating anything less than a sensational anecdote. It is strange because when someone asks me for a reference, I tend to be cagey because sometimes what you say about another, says more about yourself. Anyway, I have chased and pushed for the opportunity to work on this book; it seems wrong to walk away. I liked the publisher and the books they produce; I have worked with someone else in the company in the past, and I trust her. And, that is what it comes down to.