As promised, I'm going to give a brief overview of advances (brief because, well frankly, my eyeballs feel like they're going to pop out of their sockets right now).
First and foremost is the gravest of misconceptions about Advances-- Only in a perfect world (where pretty gumdrops rain down from the sky and my house is always spotless) do you receive the full advance the moment you sign the contract.
What? Say it isn't so! Well, it is.
Advances can be paid out in a variety of ways. Most common for us breaks down to thirds. For example, a non-fiction could work like this:
One-third upon signing the contract
One-third upon delivery and acceptance of the first draft
One-third upon delivery and acceptance of the final draft
This structure can be tweaked and changed in oodles of ways. You might not receive the last payment until publication (we avoid this one like the plague or set stipulations).
Some editors will do thirds like this: signing, delivery of final, acceptance of final. Some editors want to try and break it down even further. I could go on and on, but one of my eyeballs actually just popped out and I must go and chase it down;)
Kidding, I'm just going back to finish up my day before I delve into some edits. Just finished reading a client's new project and LOVED IT! So can't wait to get it out there.
One of my two new clients is already sitting with an editor. Don't know why I'm getting impatient about the second one, it's only been, like, a day.