earn out
 v. phr.— «Consider the advance system, whereby a publisher pays an author a nonreturnable up-front fee for a book. If the book doesn’t “earn out,” in the industry parlance, the publisher simply eats the cost.» —“Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature” by Lev Grossman Time Jan. 21, 2009. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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