Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yes, About That Book Advance

Back in April, an essayist for The New York Times claimed that 7 out of 10 titles do not earn back their advance. I believe, people, that that is seventy percent. How do publishers stay in business?

Coincidentally (or not, since the above link came from the same blog) I was just reading at Pimp My Novel that new romance writers might expect an advance in the area of $3,000. A debut writer of women's fiction might expect to see $5,000 to $7,500. An advance for historical fiction might be the same. Up to $8,000 for a children's book, depending on what you're writing.

And then, if that New York Times essay quoted above is accurate, most of those writers still won't sell enough books to repay those advances.

Mull that over.


tanita✿davis said...

Huh. Sheesh, I KNOW romance novelists MUST sell more than three grand worth of books. I know they've got fast turnover (some of them come out monthly, I think) but they've got people WAITING for them in lines.

Man, I should write romance novels. Except I don't think I could make it; that's a tough market!

Sarah Stevenson said...

Interesting numbers. It seems like the information on average advance amounts is different every time I check. :P

Gail Gauthier said...

Maybe romance books are part of the 30 percent that make back their advances.

J.L. Powers said...

When they say that books don't earn back their advance, what they really mean is that 10% of the sales doesn't equal out to the $10,000 or $20,000 that the author got in an advance. The book publisher is likely to have made more than that $10,000 or that $20,000 but consider that if a publisher makes $250,000 in sales on a book, and an author who negotiated a 10 or 12% royalties got a $30,000 advance, the book still didn't "earn back the advance." Does that make sense? In other words, the way that the statement is made is misleading