The world of publishing can be a lucrative one for authors, but the reality is that many first-time authors in the UK will not make a fortune from their first book. Despite the publicity surrounding six-figure advances, the reality is that an author may get an advance of £3,000 or less for a first book.
It is important to remember that an advance is not the same as a salary. It is an advance against future royalties and so authors will not receive any more money until they have earned back the advance. This means that the money an author makes from their book will depend on how well it sells.
It is also important to remember that advances vary greatly depending on the type of book and the publisher. Some publishers may offer a larger advance for a book that they think will be a bestseller, while others may offer a smaller advance for a book that they think will not sell as well.
When negotiating an advance, it is important to remember that the publisher is taking a risk. They are investing in the author and their book and so they may not be willing to offer a large advance. However, it is worth trying to negotiate a bit, as author Sarah Le Fanu says: “It’s easy to accept whatever is offered in the euphoric moment of getting a contract signed, but you should try to negotiate a bit.”
It is also important to remember that the advance is only part of the money an author can make from their book. Authors can also make money from royalties, which are paid when a book is sold. Royalties are usually a percentage of the book’s cover price and vary depending on the publisher.
Finally, authors can also make money from other sources such as speaking engagements, book signings, and writing for magazines and newspapers. These can all be a great way to supplement an author’s income and can help to make up for any shortfall in the advance or royalties.
Overall, it is important to remember that the amount of money an author makes from their first book will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of book, the publisher, and the author’s ability to negotiate. Despite the publicity surrounding six-figure advances, the reality is that an author may get an advance of £3,000 or less for a first book. However, with the right book and the right publisher, it is possible to make more money than this.