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HH Johnson
03-28-2008, 08:32 AM
which genre regularly pulls in the biggest advances on royalties -- for a first novel?

is it thrillers?

I've seen over the years quite a few six- and seven-figure advances for thrillers which were the author's first novel.

Karen Duvall
03-28-2008, 09:09 AM
It's all about the writing. Unless you're a celebrity.

Point is, no matter what the genre, if the writing is stellar, you've got a great shot at bestsellerdom. But not even a fabulous book can guarantee an advance over a thousand bucks. Luck has a lot to do with it, too.

JimmyB27
03-28-2008, 04:17 PM
If you're asking because you want to know which to write, you're asking the wrong question. You need to pick the genre you like the best, not the one with the biggest bucks. This isn't really the business for making a fortune, unless you're really, really good, and probably really lucky too.
And if you aren't writing in a genre you love, imho, you aren't going to be writing at your best. And if you aren't writing at your best, no mega-buck deals, I'm afraid.

StoryG27
03-28-2008, 04:25 PM
which genre regularly pulls in the biggest advances on royalties -- for a first novel?

The one you write the best.

HH Johnson
03-28-2008, 04:29 PM
LOL

DeleyanLee
03-28-2008, 04:51 PM
Seriously, when I first started this writing gig back about 30 years ago, there was a noteable discrepancy between the genres as to who paid the highest average advance on a first novel. (Romance, Horror, Men's Adventure and distantly, Literary/Mystery/SF-F/Westerns/etc). This has changed over the years so that pretty much everyone gets between $4-6K for a first book. Not a big deal.

Those people we hear about making boo-koo buckage on their first novels are heard about because they are the exceptions, not the rule. The vast majority of those people (from what I've seen) don't earn out and don't have solid careers because their numbers generally tank.

And there are no royalties until a book has earned more than the advance paid out. I've yet to hear of a royalty check from a print publisher arriving sooner than 12-18 months after the book has been released, so all an author has until that point is whatever the advance was. And if the book never earns more than the advance (which is what most publishers aim for when figuring out how much to offer, IIRC), then the author never receives another penny.

Writing novels is NOT the way to big bucks. You'd probably have better luck trying to marry a multi-billionaire.

Hillary
03-28-2008, 05:08 PM
In my opinion, the advance doesn't matter that much. In fact, the only way it matters is because of you quickly you can sell out. A big advance that you take forever to sell out, or never sell out? You're immediately labeled as a liability to publishers. A small advance that you FLY through, and then start getting royalty checks? Well, you're an investment to a publisher. If you're a celebrity, sure, you'll get paid as one. But until then, think about it. Would you ask your boss to just advance you a year's pay at work? Nah. A small amount? Sure. Small advances can be a good thing in the beginning. An agent will help you negotiate intelligently for something fair, if that's the situation you're in right now.

James81
03-28-2008, 05:27 PM
I have a question.

How do advances work?

Let's say that you publish a book and they advance you $5000 for it. For whatever reason, then, your book only brings in $3000.

Do you have to pay back the $2000 difference? Does something like this happen often?

lkp
03-28-2008, 05:41 PM
You do not need to pay back the $2000 difference.
Yes, something like this does happen often. But just because you don't earn out your advance does not mean the publisher hasn't made a profit. Those are two separate things.

DeleyanLee
03-28-2008, 05:44 PM
How do advances work?

The publisher figures out how much they think your book will earn out and offers it as an advance. The author agrees to it.

Generally the advance is paid out in either 2 or 3 installments (some combination of return of signed contract, acceptance of final manuscript and publication), so you don't get the entire amount upfront.


Let's say that you publish a book and they advance you $5000 for it. For whatever reason, then, your book only brings in $3000.

Do you have to pay back the $2000 difference?

Generally, no--but check the wording of your contract. It's possible, but not normal.


Does something like this happen often?

More often than most writers would like to think.

dreamsofnever
03-31-2008, 05:41 AM
Jimmy pretty much said it all. I can't think of the author at the moment, but I remember reading about an author who tried to force herself to write romances, thinking that she would make 'big bucks' from it and she couldn't write anything publishable.

The much better question is 'which genre do YOU read and enjoy the most.' And more importantly, what genre is the story inside you that's waiting to be told?

dreamsofnever
03-31-2008, 05:42 AM
Also keep in mind that once you break into a genre and establish a fandom within that genre, it's hard to pull a 180 and do something completely different. So choose something you enjoy and can make a career out of, not something that will give you the big advance. (which, as said before, is an exception, not the rule)

maestrowork
03-31-2008, 07:32 AM
I have a question.

How do advances work?

Let's say that you publish a book and they advance you $5000 for it. For whatever reason, then, your book only brings in $3000.

Do you have to pay back the $2000 difference? Does something like this happen often?

You don't pay it back. But you're not earning out, so it will be more difficult for you to get the next deal, especially from the same publisher, unless you already have a contract (for a series, for example).

That's why sometimes a smaller advance is actually better.

Willowmound
03-31-2008, 04:03 PM
LOL

Maybe try writing your novel in leet.

Phaeal
03-31-2008, 05:12 PM
Maybe try writing your novel in leet.

Trenchant, but satisfying. ROFL.

Write in the genre you love. Writing and seeking publication is hard enough without burdening yourself with pitiful little unloved story-children.

If you're not passionate about any genre or any story, don't write. If money is your goal, there are far easier, far more certain ways to make it.

Polenth
03-31-2008, 06:05 PM
Jimmy pretty much said it all. I can't think of the author at the moment, but I remember reading about an author who tried to force herself to write romances, thinking that she would make 'big bucks' from it and she couldn't write anything publishable.

Holly Lisle? She talks about leaving nursing to write a romance, and failing.

http://hollylisle.com/fm/Articles/ed-yours6.html

Willowmound
04-01-2008, 07:26 PM
...Then turning to fantasy, which she loves, and succeeding.