Question:

Ex-President Bill Clinton announced that he got a $12 million advance from Knopf for a book he is planning to write. How big was the check he actually received from Knopf?

Answer:

"Advance" no longer means money that comes in advance. The usual practice, only a portion of it is paid in advance, and the balance is paid according to a future schedule if contingent conditions are met. So the balance of the "advance" is simply an the agreed upon amount that will be paid if the author provides a book the publisher decided to accept. In Clinton's case, the fraction paid in advance, which may be less than ten percent, is a secret— at least until Senator Hillary Clinton discloses their joint return in 2002.


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