Is it better, as an author, to make a solid $50,000 on a book and have a tremendous success in the marketplace?

Or is it better to get a $2 million advance on a book and have it die on the vine of public prosperity and to have it slashed by the critics?

Is success for an author measured in popularity or by the pocketbook?


  1. I think long term success is about doing well in the marketplace. One good book will lead to another – people will buy it because they want to buy the book by their new beloved author. It can even extend to children – a lot of people bought the books of the one son of Jonathan and Faye Kellerman just on name alone.

  2. That’s an excellent point, Gordon.
    Reputation and reliability should be more important than, say, padding a bottom line. Authors are required to be business people, but there seems something unseemly to me about accepting incredible sums of money before the talent has been proven in the marketplace.
    The risk to life and further limb is dangerous for the amateur author.
    Once that money is paid, though, many authors would find it hard to argue with that sort of financial success.
    Unfortunately, others still find the “three book deal” embedded in the terms of that first contract appealing.
    Beware, though, because those “additional” books are actually stifling � and bad business — for the author because it forces a false clinging-to of the publisher of the first work. Publishers are not required to publish you and they have more ways to punish you and to not publish you than you do in return.
    I’m all for signing multi-book deals as long as they are all separate contracts with proper advances against royalties and are not based on performance issues to be paid and they are not “free look” deals the publisher can either accept or sit on for a period of time.
    Publishers have to pay to play on every book and that means no free, boilerplate, multi-book �looks� that will dissolve at the first indicator of financial ruin on either side.
    “Book by book” is how all publishing contracts should be mastered in order to be the fairest to one and all.

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