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Pluvious
April 16th, 2003, 05:55 AM
Does anyone have any inside information as to how much a first time author actually received for a book advance? Someone relatively famous I mean (Jordan or Martin maybe).

From what I understand most published first time fantasy authors can expect a $3,000-$5,000 advance. Does this sound accurate? What about mainstream or other genres?

Also, does anyone have any examples of how much a professional author made in a normal year from books alone?

rotty1021
April 16th, 2003, 10:54 AM
Not sure if there's any truth to it, but I read somewhere that Jordan gets $200,000 in advance for each book.

KatG
April 16th, 2003, 12:22 PM
I'd expect that Jordan gets a good bit more than $200,000 per book at this point.

An advance is the publisher's best guesstimate of how much they think you, the author, will earn in royalties. If you don't earn that much money in actual sales, then the publisher has to eat what they paid you as an advance, so they do try to err on the side of caution. They have to pay a good bit to keep bestsellers, but bestsellers actually have less money leverage in the marketplace than they used to. They were throwing a fair amount of money around at sf/f authors a few years ago when the market took off in the nineties, but that's over for the moment and financial prudence reigns once again.

So yes, the standard advance for a first time sf/f writer, who will maybe have a small hardcover printing and a larger mass market paperback printing that will sell somewhere in the 25,000-50,000 copies range, is usually going to be around $2,500-5,000 U.S. as an advance, if it's a good-sized house. (Smaller houses may pay less or no advance at all.)

Romance is about the same, and it's not an unusual first-time advance for other genres or mainstream, but there's less standardization in mainstream fiction. A new writer whose book is considered hot and is the subject of an agent auction might be looking at a five, six or even possibly though rarely, seven figure advance. But that kind of money is seldom to be found in sf/f publishing because the genres don't have the potential audience to sustain it.

Quite a few years back, the average annual income for published writers -- which includes everyone from Stephen King on down -- was estimated at about $4,000 U.S. I imagine it's risen a bit since then, but not that much. It's hard to make a living at full-time writing and agents and editors often counsel new writers not to quit their day job. I know of many authors who have been published but still work in another profession. But the problem is that you can't predict it all that accurately -- you can't know what new writer will take off or how a particular career will develop. So don't plan on buying a lot of stuff if you get sold, I would suggest, but don't count it out entirely as hopeless either.

I, Brian
April 16th, 2003, 03:20 PM
All depends on the publishing house as well. Have it in my head that a common figure would be around $500-$3000 as an advance - but that the advance is less than the royalties due if sales targets were met.

10,000 books sold with $0.50 going to the author per sale would equal $5000.

I figure the publishing house would aim to sell a few more, though.

And, of course, as soon as you factor in agent fee and taxes if all get much further reduced:

$5000 - 15% agent's fee

= $4250

$4250 - 30% (approximate taxes due (such as National Insurance on top of Income Tax here in the UK)

= $2975 NET profit.


So...hm...not a rich living at first.

Darn it!

choppy
April 16th, 2003, 03:24 PM
I've heard that a typical first Canadian novelist can expect to receive a few hundred dollars. Sometimes the book earns a little more, sometimes not.

It's nice to dream about that phone call where you're told you're going to get a checque for $200 000.00, but I'm not quitting my day job either.

Pluvious
April 16th, 2003, 06:14 PM
For a major publishing house? If so then they are being ripped off. You can easily write a small magazine article here in the states and make a few hundred dollars. And a thousand or more for a few of the larger ones. So, if you can't get an advance from a major publishing house for more then a couple thousand then something is wrong.

I know its difficult to get published and make money but there are many people who do just that. Obviously, if you want to be a full time novelist you need to either be a best seller or write proflifically. Nothing wrong with writing part time though.

mistri
April 16th, 2003, 07:37 PM
Originally posted by Pluvious
For a major publishing house? If so then they are being ripped off. You can easily write a small magazine article here in the states and make a few hundred dollars. And a thousand or more for a few of the larger ones. So, if you can't get an advance from a major publishing house for more then a couple thousand then something is wrong.


Maybe they don't want to write magazine articles - or do, but don't have the skill for it - I know I'm not very good at writing nonfiction (with a couple of exceptions).

The publishing scene is very small in the UK compared to the US. Many authors here earn very little. They are not necessarily being ripped off, but the publisher might not be able to afford advances that wouldn't be earned back. Sure, they could all send work to the US instead, where advances are probably higher, but that would just result in too many submissions to what are already overloaded publishing houses.

Lucky Joe
April 16th, 2003, 08:38 PM
I was reading an article where a fairly well known children's author in Australia said he generally gets AUD$2000 a book. I can't remember his name though.

Pluvious
April 16th, 2003, 10:17 PM
Originally posted by mistri


Maybe they don't want to write magazine articles - or do, but don't have the skill for it - I know I'm not very good at writing nonfiction (with a couple of exceptions).

The publishing scene is very small in the UK compared to the US. Many authors here earn very little. They are not necessarily being ripped off, but the publisher might not be able to afford advances that wouldn't be earned back. Sure, they could all send work to the US instead, where advances are probably higher, but that would just result in too many submissions to what are already overloaded publishing houses.



My point was that magazine articles require much less time and effort then books. According to writing books I have read many freelance authors put out articles in a week or less and earn a few hundred dollars from these articles (with reprints often more). Compare this to a book that can take up to a year or more. I wasn't suggesting that people should go out and write for magazines.

Of course money might not be a priority for you. But this thread was started to find out what published authors make. If you are a professional writer I can't see how a few hundred dollars for six months or more work could be worth the effort. That sounds like a hobby.

milamber_reborn
April 17th, 2003, 01:14 AM
Didn't Goodkind get a six figure advnace a while back? It would make sense knowing that poeple are going gobble up his next few books.