Would You Write a Cookbook for Next to Nothing?
A crop of publishers offers would-be authors very low or no advances, and may ask them to forgo royalties or sign nondisclosure agreements.
In 2017, the Dallas food blogger Urvashi Pitre published the “Indian Instant Pot Cookbook.” By any measure, it was a hit, selling more than 100,000 copies.
But under the contract she signed with her publisher, Callisto Media, Ms. Pitre received no advance, the payment often given to an author when a book deal is signed. Callisto had asked her to develop 50 recipes in three months, but offered no budget for recipe development or testing. She said it takes her 12 hours to perfect a single recipe, and her grocery bill when testing is around $1,500 a month.
She fronted all those costs. Over the last two years, Ms. Pitre said she has made $15,000 — minus the cost of her expenses — solely from milestone payments, fixed bonuses given out if book sales exceed a certain number.