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.