Definition of earn out (or earn something out) in US English:

earn out (or earn something out)

phrasal verb

  • (of an author, book, recording artist, etc.) generate sufficient income through sales to equal the amount paid in an advance or royalty.

    ‘my experience is that most authors don't earn out’
    ‘don't confuse earning out the advance with being profitable’
    • ‘For your first novel the sales figures they want are the ones that earn out your advance.’
    • ‘It was one of these cult success books, but it never earned out its advance - everybody loved it but no one wanted to buy it.’
    • ‘Miss Smith, we gather, is a little worried that she has not earned out her advance.’
    • ‘So it may be the case that a writer gets one big advance, which is not earned out, and then - turn out the light.’
    • ‘The distinguished lady novelist who boasted proudly that her books always earned out their advances.’
    • ‘I can also assure you that most books never earn out their advance.’