Wednesday, 6 August 2008

How Huge Advances Go Wrong

Some time ago, I read a piece online in which an anonymous writer revealed how her writing career had failed despite her receiving advances that most people would be thrilled with. You can read that piece here.

I've just stumbled upon another piece* that was written by SF writer Charlie Stross in response to it, which explains very nicely where things probably went wrong for her. He does a good job, that Mr Stross.

* Here's a direct link to it, as for some reason the embedded link won't work:

You'll have to copy it across to your browser manually, I'm afraid: I'll fix it properly as soon as I can work out how.


Tim Jones said...

The level of advances and sales figures that this midlist writer is complaining about, I'd be delighted with. She seems to have gone into the business of writing with an expectation of assured financial success - but I doubt that was a realistic expectation when she started writing, let alone now. When has writing ever been other than a very chancy game?

DOT said...

Seem to have trouble with your links - first hit on the anonymous author went to an ad, second hit was ok.

The link to Charles Stross' reply doesn't go anywhere :(


Sally Zigmond said...

I got the ad too but when I hit the back-tracker, I got the original piece but I also got a 'could not be found' message when I clicked on the second link.

Mind you, I think I know where the disgruntled writer went wrong without reading any more. As Tim says, she went into writing as a career. Giving up the day job, is a bad, bad move. And she turns down guaranteed paid work because, she's a writer. In other words she has an inflated idea of what being a writer is. And she's a whinger.

Well, welcome to the real world, lady! Very few authors make enough money to live on without another job.

Get a job and get a life.

Nicola Slade said...

I'm with Tim on this one, I'd be thrilled to bits even with her lowest advance. Do we know who she is? And how likely is it that if one of us coughed up whatever she did for a publicist, we'd get her level of coverage anyway??

DOT said...

Having had time to read the whole of the anonymous author's self-pitying tale, I am not surprised she has found herself bounced from editor to editor, agent to agent.

I blogged some time ago about a review of a book I wrote for a freesheet by a local author. He had previously been the editor of a gay paper/magazine and had had 5 gay genre books published, this was his first so-called mainstream work.

Asked how much he expected to earn from his work, he replied, 'Enough to pay for a good holiday,' and qualified it by saying, 'between £3,000 - 5,000.'

That and being published was reward enough for him. (He deserved more, it was an excellent read.)

Jane Smith said...

Sorry about the problems with the links: I'll clean them up in a few days as I'm away from home at the moment. Meanwhile I'm still trying to find out who the writer is... no idea so far, but if any of you know do let me know!

I'd love to get that sort of level of advance, too. The dilemma is whether to refuse it, in the hope of developing a long-term career as a writer, or to snatch it up on the assumption that it's more than you'd earn even with that long-term career.


Jane Smith said...

I've stripped out the embedded link now, and given a new one, whih does work for me, on this computer: but then so did the previous attempt.

I'll try to get it working properly next week, but at least now Dot can read Stross's analysis (which was my favourite bit).

Unknown said...

This 'site is excellent and a credit to you.
Regarding that self righteous, greedy, unrealistic, whinging, 'mystery' writer: as someone midway through their first novel, I'd be ecstatic with publication and a couple of grand for starters, thank you very much!

Jane Smith said...

Col B, I'm glad you like it here. Thank you for the kind words. I'll look forward to more comments from you.