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Get an Advance

app HyperBowl
Phil Chu
Phil Chu
Making software since the 80s

When I first got HyperBowl running on Android several years ago, a South Korean publisher paid me a $300 advance to publish it in Asia. It took some time to add Korean localization (which they supplied), and the sales did not result in any royalties (probably because Google Play started operating in South Korea not long after), so really, the advance just covered my time. But in retrospect, I failed to appreciate how nice it was to get an advance.

I did get a much larger advance from Apress to publish my Unity book, but that wasn’t really an advance, and certainly not the type of book advance you hear about where writers can quite their day job and hole up in a cabin for six months to write. It’s really more a series of payment installments for deliveries of the chapters, which in my case took a year, and that is deducted from future royalties. Not only is there no payment until work is done, they take their sweet time paying you. And since the advance was split into installments and they rounded down each payment, they still owe me a penny (pro tip: make sure your advance divides into its installments evenly).

But at least they paid something, and they paid eventually. I’m still waiting to see a check from Fingerprint. When they sent me an email about publishing my apps on Samsung Kids, I asked them which ones, and they replied HyperBowl and its variations, so I figured maybe that wasn’t some mass email and they’re legit. I thought about asking them for an advance (I was kind of hoping they’d bring it up first), but hey, it’s for kids, and it’ll be on all Samsung devices!

But now it’s been over a year, and while I get nicely formatted royalty reports from their accounting department with exciting news about what the company is up to, I have yet to see a check. The answer to my first inquiry said a check will be on the way (actually it said “we will start sending out checks…” which is odd phrasing that makes me wonder if they’d never sent checks before), but the next two inquiries resulted in dead silence.

Honestly, even if I got paid, I would only recoup the money I spent on buying a Samsung tablet and signing up for Samsung Kids. Maybe if they’d done some marketing for HyperBowl (I mean, they do have a twitter account) and placed HyperBowl in the Games category instead of non-Games for some reason, revenue would be higher. Or maybe not, but that’s just more reason I should have asked for an advance. Well, next time.