View Full Version : Astronomical Book Deals

05-28-2009, 10:20 PM
I recently heard that the female star of a reality show I don't watch, which involves a large brood of children, had gotten a multi-million dollar book deal. I find that hard to believe.

Yet as I've researched the behind-the-scenes happenings in publishing, I've come across some instances where six figure advances have been shelled out to untested authors. Unlike Stephenie Meyer several of these authors had a whiff of celebrity status. I'm not talking household names.

I'm wondering if the handful of "big deals" that take place ever truly earn out or if they come at the expense of other authors being paid smaller advances.

Or maybe the rumors of these 500k to million dollar advances are just that? Rumors.

05-29-2009, 01:49 AM
Some "celebrity" bios sell very, very well. Some tank.

And earning out the advance -- or not -- doesn't indicate success as in a profit for the publisher. Plenty of books have earned money for publishers long before the author's advance has been covered (and don't let anybody tell you otherwise!).

All that said, I've often thought that many publishers pay way too much for at least some of those bios. A big name celebrity with something meaningful to say, I'm probably going to read that. But a "bio" by someone whose fifteen minutes of fame are already running out, not so much.

And all that said, my hunch is that plenty of bread-and-butter writers, those who turn in books year after year with steady, dependable sales for their publishers, are indeed hurt by outlandish advances paid for celebrities.

New writers ... I dunno. Publishers need new writers, so I don't know if spending money elsewhere much affects new writers. Maybe they're offered lower advances. Or maybe not. All my friends are multipublished, so I'm not as familiar with the just-getting-in part of the market.

05-29-2009, 02:02 AM
I doubt that many mega bucks advance celeb books ever earn out. But they do bring an enormous amount of publicity for the publishing company. I would imagine they have some kind of formula that translates this publicity into sales of all their other books, but I don't have clue.

I do imagine that the large advances they pay to authors like Grisholm, Patterson, McCourt, Albom, and others do earn out, if not more, over the life of their books.