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THEJJNADO

well, i think stephen king and tom clancy push up the bar a bit, lol....they friggin' break the curve...(don't get me wrong, i got an a on a paper i did in college about how i would love to be stephen king and/or edgar allen poe and get paid the big bucks, although poe pissed it all away, than be an "artsy" writer no one but people in a friggin' english writing class would read any day) .... hell, add tom clancy, dean koontz, stephen coonts, thomas harris, john grisham and a multitude of other best selllers who write a book and it's immediately getting a seven-figure advance...umm...yeah...that ruins the curve...then there's the middle of the road, like charlaine harris and others, who get five figures per book advance, and then theres the authors who maybe get 10k...maybe....i'm hoping someday, i'll get a 10k advance, lol

THEJJNADO

umm...
So a six-figure advance, while in my experience gratefully received, is not necessarily enough, in itself, for most adults to live on.”
seriously?
i make 22k a year as a newspaper writer in oklahoma...ummm....yeah, that would pretty much friggin' set me for years to come....i hate these people

Jeff Mariotte

Yeah, those huge advances do skew the curve a bit. It'd also be interesting to know what publishers were included in the study--do they include the really small presses that might offer a $500 advance? There are still paperback publishers, I believe, that pay $2,000 or so, and if they're included they could stretch it in the other direction and balance out some of the biggies a bit.

Partly it probably depends on where you live and how fast you write. Six figures might not stretch as far in Manhattan as it does here. And some writers can only manage a novel every four or five years. A $100,000 advance is six figures. Give 15% to the agent, pay taxes on the rest (regular income tax and SS plus self-employment tax), and suddenly the annual pay is stretched pretty thin.

Not that I'd turn down a $100,000 advance...

J. Carson Black

Often, the reports of an advance are inflated by escalators in the contract. If the book doesn't earn out--and as Jeff points out, most don't---then that escalator is worthless. Same thing for foreign rights--sounds great you're getting an extra ten thousand or so, until you find out that money goes straight to the publisher because you didn't earn out. Also, the big pubs are pushing payments further and further out and breaking them into smaller pieces, so by the end of two years you finally get all of the $100,000 advance. That's 50K a year. Take out the 15% for the agent, you're down to $42,500, and then there're taxes on big chunks of money. Not to mention having to go out and flog the book all over the place; booksignings, conferences (airfare, hotel), radio, etc. There's keeping up your blog, making a trailer, joining Facebook, Podcasting, Twittering, making a Youtube video of yourself juggling farm animals, and spending money on bookmarks, postcards, not to mention all the wasted hours trying to make your amazon number go up by sheer will. How much is that worth an hour? ;-)

The best thing about writing a novel, in my book, is writing the novel!

Jeff Mariotte

All true. I'm about to turn in the manuscript of 30 Days of Night: Light of Day, and I just got the first chunk of "advance" money a few days ago. If I'd had to rely on that to eat while I wrote the book, I'd be pretty hungry by now.

J. Carson Black

Fortunately, Jeff, with that big spread of yours, you can live off the land! ;-)

jj

wanted to ask you this, jeff, lol...do you know charlaine harris?
cuz the arsonist in the "sookie stackhouse" book i'm reading now is named "jeff mariott" lol....i giggled a lot more than i probably should have when i read it...and, she keeps mentioning his full name like 10 times, so...

Jeff Mariotte

Yes, I know Charlaine. In that book, she used the entire Mysterious Galaxy crew at the time, so you'll see Maryelizabeth and Terry and Patrick, etc. in there--all MG folks.

THEJJNADO

yeah, i'm through her second to last one at the moment...she's really great at first-person narrative...although she tends to repeat herself at times...i love the books, though...and well, i got into them cuz i was a fan of the hbo series

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