That’s Rich

Published December 23, 2013 by swankivy

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So, in case it wasn’t clear: No, most writers don’t get a lifetime supply of cash on their first book deal.

First off, we get an advance from the publisher. If we’re lucky. Advances tend to be pretty small, and if the book sells enough that the publisher makes back what they spent on paying us an advance, only then do we begin to receive a percentage of the sales. Some authors get a tiny advance and still don’t earn it out, so that’s all they ever see before the book goes out of print. Others are lucky enough to make some decent cash and keep the book in print for a few print runs or even over a long period of time.

But very few get rich off their books. And even those who do generally don’t do so at the advance stage.

Publishers Marketplace speaks in code to tell readers approximately how good somebody’s deal is. You’ll see them saying things like nice deal, significant deal, very nice deal, etc. These actually mean something, as per the following chart:

“nice deal”: $1 ‒ $49,000
“very nice deal”: $50,000 ‒ $99,000
“good deal”: $100,000 ‒ $250,000
“significant deal”: $251,000 ‒ $499,000
“major deal”: $500,000 and up

I got a nice deal for my book. You do the math. No, I’m not rich.

(And oh yeah. I got a book deal. Woo-hoo!)

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