L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami November 29, 2015 - 4:21pm

http://www.wsj.com/articles/betting-big-on-literary-newcomers-1447880214

Thoughts on article? How do you feel about large advances for debut authors?

For me I'm unsure how to feel about it, it seems like it's better business practice to actually start with a smaller advance as you're more likely to earn out.

Rob's picture
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Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this November 29, 2015 - 5:53pm

I got a modest but respectable advance from my publisher—which is exactly what I was hoping for.

A huge advance would have been terrifying. I didn't want some giant standard to live up to. I'm much more comfortable with the idea of getting a little money up front and earning out. It helps that I like my day job, and it gives me the flexibility to write.  

I would like to point out, too, I had no expectations of getting a million dollar advance. It's a rare thing. It's even more rare in genre fiction. 

Ultimately, money up front is nice, but I'm more interested in making the moves I need to make now so I'm not considered a risk, and I can keep getting books published. 

DrWood's picture
DrWood from Milwaukee, WI, living in Louisiana is reading A different book every 2-5 days. Currently Infinite Jest November 29, 2015 - 7:22pm

Million dollar advances for non-celebrity newcomers are a good way to get fired, if you are an aquiring editor, imo.

As a writer, I'd never turn down money to moderate the publisher's expectations.

 

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami November 29, 2015 - 8:05pm

^ I love the above strategy Rob, that sounds smart.^^

Yea I feel kind of sorry for her, on one hand great. Yet on the other blarrrgh scary.:/

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal November 29, 2015 - 8:55pm

Anyone logical can see that it's a pretty dumb thing to do.

I sure hope someone does it with me.

Even if I fail to turn a million dollars into profit, I'll be set. Then I'd take my realistic numbers- which are established- to a different publisher and say to them hey, those morons were dumb to give me that much, but you can expect this much or better, pay me accordingly?

Or no advance, I'm a cool million set, what do I care? Just publish some more of my stuff.

Woohoo! 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated November 30, 2015 - 7:43pm

@Thuggish - I think they mean don't set it as a goal? I mean if any of us got that offer... 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MneA9pgLVw

 

PizzaThirst's picture
PizzaThirst from THE MILKY WAY GALAXY is reading BROKEN PIANO FOR PRESIDENT, BY PATRICK WENSINK December 1, 2015 - 1:32am

I recently asked a future publisher if they would pay me in candy and cereal.

I think we are from different worlds of flavor.

I can't wait to put some milk onnit.

#Milkonnit

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like December 1, 2015 - 10:46am

Besides the fact literary novels may take longer to find audiences, if it does okay, (well enough to show promise, but not up and over the investment,) maybe they can get a much more advantageous deal for the author's next book. Might the big advance work as a vote of confidence or show of good faith?

Plus, it sounds like the publishers were the ones selling foreign & film rights to some of these books (as opposed to an author or agent retaining and selling those rights), making a big advance a more total purchase than some smaller advances, depending on the particulars of the contract (of course).

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 1, 2015 - 1:26pm

@ Dwayne

If that's what they mean, I don't even know how to respond. That's about on par with hoping be the next CEO of Apple right out of college.

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami December 1, 2015 - 1:33pm

I just hope the poor lady makes it.:/ Nice short term, but I can't help but think if I were in her place, would I end up making it. And you know, reading in between the lines, that financial situation sounds really really bad.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated December 2, 2015 - 11:36am

@Thuggish - I mean our fellow people on here are setting reasonable goals, and if we had money thrown at us we'd take it.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 2, 2015 - 1:09pm

I thought you were talking about the article. 

I say shoot for the moon and see what you can get.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated December 4, 2015 - 10:54pm

Well, if shooting for the moon doesn't interfere with going after regular more achievable goals sure. But don't spend the rent money (so much time and effort) on lottery tickets (things unlikely to happen).

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like December 5, 2015 - 5:00pm

Alternative: What if publishers only ever published books they thought would be worth no less than a $1mil investment? If there were fewer books to choose from, consumers would buy more of the same books, and then those books would be more likely to turn a profit.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 6, 2015 - 12:49pm

Maybe. Or maybe not, because peoples' tastes vary, and if all the books out suck, I stop reading books. (This is why I go to the movies so infrequently lately).

And if this happened, eventually a new publisher would come along with a different mentality. Or self-published e-books would take off more. Or somethign would feel the void. The market works!

But publishers are really bad at predicting what will do well anyway. As is everyone. Before Twilight everyone thought vampires were on the way out. George Lucas thought Star Wars was going to be nothing compared to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. And Water World had a 175 million dollar budget.

Not to mention that publishers are almost certain to lose money on a new author, but take them on in hopes of building the author into a profitable one because they'd have virtually no profitable authors if they didn't do it that way.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like December 6, 2015 - 2:27pm

The market is an ass, but it's our ass.