How to Invoice a Publisher

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While I was taking part in a series of webinars on writing for educational publishers, one of the topics that came up was invoicing. The problem is that you can’t just send the publisher a one line e-mail. “You owe me $500 for activity writing.” “Please pay me $1000 for writing that book.” You need to give the accounting department enough information to know who they are paying and why. So what exactly do you need to include?

Here is my basic invoice in italics.


From:   (Name)  
(Street Address)
(City, State and Zip)
(SS #)

To:    (Publisher Name)  

RE:  (Billing for what?)  Slip the book or article title or the contract number in here.

Description of what you did                                                  $XX.XX

Total Payable: $(Total)
Date of Invoice: (Month, Day, Year)

(Repeat of name and address, city, state zip)

Now for some explanation.  


This is obviously your information.  Be sure to include it and be sure it is correct.  You don’t want your check ending up in someone else’s mailbox, assuming your publisher mails checks. I get paid most often through Paypal and


Who you are billing.  Always include the name of the publisher. If it is a snail mail/hard copy,  I include the addy.  Normally the e-mail is enough.


What is this bill for.  You don’t have to get really specific here.  I include the book or article title.  If I have a contract number that goes here as well. 

Description and $XX.XX

It is important to be as specific as possible about what this bill is for.  When I turn in something to RedLine, the line usually reads something like:

Evolution of Mammals Chapter 1, outline, working bibliography.  $XX.XX

If this is for a series of activities or sample passages, you will most likely have to list them individually. It is a pain but most publishers want more than “15 activities, $25.00/each. That is what I had to do when I submitted a group of activities to Education. com.  It looked something like this:

Felt Heart activity and Photo                        $25.00

Hoop game and Photo                                    $25.00

Counting activity and 2 Photos                     $30.00


Be sure that you get this number right.

Obviously, if the publisher you are billing has different requirements, do what they say! But if they just ask for an invoice, this template will give you something to submit.

Last but not least, be sure to follow the instruction in your contract as to when to submit. Some publishers want the invoice when you have finished the project. Others pay some of the money when you submit the manuscript and the rest when the project is accepted. Some penalize you if you invoice too late.

You want to be paid the full amount so be sure to follow instructions.