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williamfromkc
03-11-2008, 09:00 PM
What is a typical advance for a first-time non-fiction author?

IceCreamEmpress
03-11-2008, 09:20 PM
There's no "typical" advance in non-fiction, because it's an even broader field than fiction. Can you be more specific? Like, "a typical advance for a celebrity biography from a big New York publishing house?" Or "a typical advance for a guidebook from a niche publisher?" Or "a typical advance from O'Reilly for a computer book?"

williamfromkc
03-11-2008, 10:37 PM
I'll PM you with some more detail. But it's a short guide written for managers.

JacobWorld
03-27-2008, 09:28 AM
the problem here is probably they will ask you for your portfolio
and they will decide then

scope
04-01-2008, 06:24 AM
Big wide rule of thumb for previously published non-celebrity authors = dollar advance equals somewhere around the size of the publishers first print run (e.g., print run = 5,000 copies, advance about $5,000).

As for first time authors, take whatever they offer. If they don't offer an advance, gently lobby for same, but don't push. The most important thing for first timers, for a slew of reasons, is to get published

johnrobison
04-01-2008, 06:52 AM
A "short guide for managers" will probably require some kind of platform, and the platform will determine what a publisher would pay. The platform is sort of "who you are." A short guide from Warren Buffett . . . millions in advance. A short guide from Joe at the local 7-11 . . . maybe a $1000 advance.

There is no more precise answer to your question.

If you were to restate the question to: How can I get the biggest possible advance for my management book, then there's another answer.

Build your platform. Go speak to groups. Build a blog and website with lots of traffic. Write some articles in business mags. Make yourself known. The better you do this, the more you're worth.

saf1367
04-12-2008, 07:48 PM
Are most first-time non-celebrity authors even given an advance? I have heard that advances are increasingly rare.

K1P1
04-12-2008, 07:54 PM
The considerations noted above all enter into it, but it also depends on what kind of a book it is, in terms of whether it's just text (which is fairly easy to produce) or a technical book with lots of pictures, drawings and more difficult to edit accurately. The advance will depend on the budget for the book at each particular publisher. In my area of expertise, looking at number of copies in the first print run is meaningless.

IceCreamEmpress
04-12-2008, 08:57 PM
Are most first-time non-celebrity authors even given an advance? I have heard that advances are increasingly rare.

Nope. Small presses and micropresses often don't give advances, but that's not a change in practice--that's pretty much always been the case for that market segment.

Large commercial publishers continue to give advances to first-time authors just as they always have. There are a couple of new imprints that work on a "lower advance/higher royalties" model, Macmillan New Writing and a new HarperCollins imprint called "New Initiatives" or something like that, but the advance system among commercial publishers in the US hasn't changed much in the past 80 years.

There's a whole bunch of "truisms" about how publishing is changing that pretty much aren't true: book sales in the US were up last year over the previous year, for instance, which contradicts the claim that "book sales have fallen every year for the past decade"; new authors continue to break into the market, in fiction and non-fiction, despite the claims that "you have to be a celebrity" or "you have to know someone"; male authors generally make up half or more of the NYT fiction best-seller list, despite the claims that "only women authors can sell fiction these days"; and so on.

What is true, and is a change from the past 80 years or so, is that commercial publishing houses in the US expect most authors to sell at least 25,000 copies of each book; the authors who can't make those sales numbers consistently generally don't get long-term contracts. That's certainly different from the old days, when Random House proudly kept Gertrude Stein on its rolls for the literary prestige, even though her books rarely sold more than a few thousand copies at best.

johnrobison
04-12-2008, 11:19 PM
There's a whole bunch of "truisms" about how publishing is changing that pretty much aren't true: book sales in the US were up last year over the previous year, for instance, which contradicts the claim that "book sales have fallen every year for the past decade"; new authors continue to break into the market, in fiction and non-fiction, despite the claims that "you have to be a celebrity" or "you have to know someone"; male authors generally make up half or more of the NYT fiction best-seller list, despite the claims that "only women authors can sell fiction these days"; and so on.


My own story should demonstrate that an unknown new middle aged male writer is able to write a book, sell it for a good advance, and then see it sold into stores and on to the public in decent numbers.

IceCreamEmpress
04-13-2008, 12:23 AM
My own story should demonstrate that an unknown new middle aged male writer is able to write a book, sell it for a good advance, and then see it sold into stores and on to the public in decent numbers.

I see someone reading your book on the subway at least once a week, John, often kids who look like high school and college students. ;)

johnrobison
04-13-2008, 01:50 AM
I see someone reading your book on the subway at least once a week, John, often kids who look like high school and college students. ;)

I guess that's the goal we all strive for . . . to have enough readers that we actually see our books in their hands from time to time. It's nice to see the books in stores, but when you see them in reader hands you know they're actually selling and propogating through space.

With respect to students . . . I actually modified the paperback slightly, and added several additional sections at the end, specifically for students and teachers.

The Random House Academic Marketing folks plan a big push for this fall.