Monday, April 13, 2009

The Mystery of Advances

This is a really interesting article on advances. Coming from a marketing and PR background, I think the newer model of less money upfront but a 50-50 split of profits makes so much more sense. I really wonder how long the broken advance system will keep chugging along. After decades of only 30% success in recouping advances through sales, you'd think they'd move quickly to a new model yet every day I see massive advances announced in Publisher's Lunch. It's really puzzling!

Would you take a small advance and 50% of profits (instead of a minor percentage as royalty) or do you prefer the big advance up front?

12 comments:

Eric said...

I'm the wrong person to ask about this, since I'd be happy with just about anything. Heh heh, just kidding. Seriously though, I think the small advance is a better idea, both for myself and the publisher in the long run.

Jennie Englund said...

I'm with Eric. I'd take a nickel at this point.

Here is an interesing article topic (or maybe for your interviews): what are writers doing with their book money???

Corey Schwartz said...

Yes, it makes a lot of sense!

Casey said...

I'd rather have a smaller advance that I'm confident I can earn-out. That way there is less potential to become another "loss" for my publisher.

Anne Spollen said...

50/50 split seems to make a lot more sense.

I think there's a lot of ritual involved in writing/publishing that they're holding onto, but eventually, the split will be the only method that makes real sense.

Suzanne Young said...

I think the 50/50 split and small advance would work better for me. I think with smaller advances, there'd be less of a buzz for some writers, then everyone would get their publicity from sales.

However living off that small advance while waiting to publish... that can be tricky. lol.

Angie Frazier said...

I've been the recipient of a very nice advance *and* a smaller advance, and I have to say, I'm less stressed with the smaller advance. I like the 50/50 split idea a lot, too. Though like Suz said, living off a small advance while waiting for royalties to kick in would be hard!

Hardygirl said...

Yeah, I'd be pretty much happy with the offer of a bucket of fried chicken . . .

But--you're right. These crazy upfront advances just seem, well, crazy.

sf

Suzanne Young said...

Man, I love fried chicken....

Lisa Schroeder said...

When I read this article, I was shocked to learn that 7 out of 10 books don't earn out. I had no idea!

My first book will be one of those 3 that do, and that makes me very happy, BUT, I got a fairly small advance. Still, my publisher has continued to buy books from me, and I wonder how many authors get a six figure advance, the book doesn't do well, and then the publisher doesn't work with that author again.

lindsey-leavitt said...

Ah, but what of the books that totally earn out the advance, but have say a 10% royalty forever and ever. I mean, if the book made 10 million (I like working in millions, cuz I roll with the bling), the author would only see one million, whereas with the 50/50 they'd give 5 mil. So maybe the risk does pay off, not as often, but enough it is still in the pub's favor.
Maybe?.

Christy Raedeke said...

Good point, Lindsey. Maybe the 30% that earn out really earn...