My publisher sold paperback rights for my picture book to Scholastic Book Club, which was a good thing, I think. My publisher's letter told me what my advance would be and that it would be payable 1/2 upon their receipt from Scholastic and 1/2, plus sample copies, upon publication. I got the first half, but have received neither the second part nor, more distressing to me (because the advance is paltry anyway), the sample copies. I know the book is out because teacher friends showed me the Scholastic flyer and last night a friend showed me the book. So who do I ask about this (without upsetting anyone, since they are publishing a second book and have a third under consideration?) My editor on that book? My editor on the second book? The publicist assigned to me? The president who sent the letter? Someone else, like whoever answers the phone? I would really appreciate some advice.The editor you've worked with most recently. She may ask the editorial assistant to follow up on this, but you should go to your editor first. She's supposed to be your first contact at the publisher, and this is not an unusual request. Don't, please, go hunting up random people to bother with your questions. If your editor is hard to get in touch with, cultivate a relationship with the editorial assistant. (Editorial assistants are a bit of information desk, customer service, records, R&D, receptionist, and reviewer all rolled into one. If they can do everything, eventually they'll become an editor. In the meantime, they are your go-to when you don't know who to ask.)
Just say cheerfully that you've noticed the book is out and you were wondering when you'd see the sample copies and the rest of your advance. You may in fact be doing your publisher a favor—if you haven't gotten your money, they may not have gotten theirs, and they'll be glad to be reminded that Scholastic owes them money.