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Paranormal_Writer
09-05-2010, 11:06 PM
I have been thinking about the impact an advance can have on a book's success. We all hear about the books that receive six and seven figure sums, but I am sure there must be plenty of books that have received relatively small advances and then gone on to be huge bestsellers.

Of course, there is the obvious one, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, which received a £2000 advance, but does anyone know of any others?


Thanks!

Eddyz Aquila
09-06-2010, 04:32 AM
Well, take it this way, in most cases the higher the advance the more interest the book has for your publisher. So if you get 5000$ for an advance there is moderate interest for your book but if you get 100000$ for an advance then by all means the publisher will promote you extensively to get that advance out.

In those cases, the advance will most likely earn out as well.

veinglory
09-06-2010, 04:34 AM
The advance is a statement by the publishers about how well a book will do. It is generally an honest statement because it is made in real dollars not empty words.

There will always be exceptions, authors prefering royalty-only deals, run away hits etc. But generally I imagine size of advance correlated pretty well to size of earn out.

CheshireCat
09-06-2010, 04:56 AM
The advance is a statement by the publishers about how well a book will do. It is generally an honest statement because it is made in real dollars not empty words.

There will always be exceptions, authors prefering royalty-only deals, run away hits etc. But generally I imagine size of advance correlated pretty well to size of earn out.


True -- as far as it goes. But remember that monster bestsellers usually catch publishers unawares, and that they base their calculations on previous experience, the sort of book you've written, and if you don't have a track record they'll err on the side of conservative caution. So if you've written, say, a thriller, they aren't going to offer you what they'd offer James Patterson or one of the other Big Boys. And if you've writtten horror, your advance won't touch Stephen King's.

That said, if there's big enthusiasm in-house, an advance can reflect that; if books similar in topic or concept have hit big recently, that can add a few zeros; even if a house has decided they want to make a big push into a genre and you're one of the first authors they buy in that "new" genre, it can increase an expected advance.

Plus, honestly, if you have a Big Name agent and that agent is a trusted gatekeeper in the industry, or maybe he/she isn't a Big Name but is highly trusted by a particular house or editor, that'll make a difference too.

Which is why comparing numbers is virtually useless. Every single situation is unique, and the deal you get will reflect your own unique set of circumstances.

Siddharta
09-06-2010, 12:42 PM
I wonder if a publishing house would ever hand out a big advance just to make a stir around the book - i.e. to generate headlines and anticipation in the market even before the book is published? With so many books published each year it must be a priority to grab the attention of the blogs/newspaper reviewers?

Paranormal_Writer
09-06-2010, 08:37 PM
I wonder if a publishing house would ever hand out a big advance just to make a stir around the book - i.e. to generate headlines and anticipation in the market even before the book is published? With so many books published each year it must be a priority to grab the attention of the blogs/newspaper reviewers?

I might be wrong but I don't think they would. I think most publishers will pay as little as they can get away with.

Jamesaritchie
09-06-2010, 09:23 PM
I have been thinking about the impact an advance can have on a book's success. We all hear about the books that receive six and seven figure sums, but I am sure there must be plenty of books that have received relatively small advances and then gone on to be huge bestsellers.

Of course, there is the obvious one, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, which received a £2000 advance, but does anyone know of any others?


Thanks!

Hundreds and hundreds, probably thousands, of first novel bestsellers have started life with a tiny advance. It's the norm, not the exception.

The first I remember was Stephen King's first novel, Carrie.

Fulk
09-06-2010, 10:40 PM
Keep in mind too, that with a small advance, not only are you likely to earn out (a good thing), but if for some reason it becomes a hit, whether a moderate one or a bestseller, you can bet that publishers will be paying attention and offer a higher advance on the next book.