How much is customary to pay for a celebrity book foreword?
August 17, 2015 5:27 PM   Subscribe

I am in contact with a celebrity who seems willing to write a foreword for my book. His agent has asked about our budget for the foreword...what is customary?

I am self-publishing a book about film. As I am not a known author, I know a good foreword can help gain a lot of attention and credibility for the book.

I have reached out to a celebrity director with whom I share a mutual friend. Through those channels I was contacted by the director's agent. Agents being who they are, the question of money came up quickly.

We had left a modest budget for a foreword, about $2,500. However this is a very well-known director (albeit of lower budget, mostly indie films) and I don't want to insult him.

That said, going over budget by an insane amount isn't a smart move either.

I wondered if anyone here had experience with this and what a customary amount is for a celebrity to write a foreword.
posted by arniec to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'd be right upfront and say, this is a self-publishing project, the budget is limited, and we can afford $2,500 and no more. The agent knows this is a book, not an appearance at Madison Square Garden, and will not a push it beyond a realistic level.
posted by beagle at 6:25 PM on August 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

Offer $2,500. He may say "no" but he won't be insulted. Reading your book and writing a short forward is a day's work. Low budget indie filmmaking doesn't have a lot of $2,500 day rates for work that can be done in bed, even for the famous guys.
posted by MattD at 6:29 PM on August 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

Honestly there's a good chance we won't even read it in any case, or maybe just skim it.
posted by gottabefunky at 8:39 PM on August 17, 2015

DGA minimum day rate for a commercial shoot is $1,377
posted by Sophont at 8:54 PM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I might start at "the budget is around $2k, how does that sound" and then negotiate up to 2500, or discover you can offer more as the deal is signed. I think people love feeling they got more than was on the table. (Caveat- I have never used this in a Celebrity/Foreward scenario... But I do hire a lot of freelancers, and this strategy has always led to happy hires for me.)
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:34 PM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Speaking as a published writer, not a film director, $2500 is a generous and very respectable amount for a forward. This person likely won't be making his decision based on how much money you're offering him anyway. I think you can ask without shame; there is nothing insulting about this figure, quite the contrary.
posted by Clotilde at 10:38 AM on August 18, 2015

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