For those of you who don't know Anon 7:55, check out the replies in the previous post. As he actually asked a valid question, I'll answer it here.
Unpleasant Anonymous Poster said...
I concede. As far as it is possible to discern talent by prejudice alone, your book has every possibility of success. Although, I have a few more questions, just to show I'm not affected by the fact that everybody has turned against me. (They always do that, so I'm used to it. I actually think it makes a man stronger to have lots of enemies and no friends.)
This may just be my interpretation of it, but generally having lots of enemies and no friends means that you have poor social skills, not any particular kind of character-related strength. It's a negative thing.
Why would you accept such a small advance, even for genre fiction? Back to the subject of self-respect: If it's that good, then it deserves more money. At least the same amount as the average book of its category. And in response to all my enemies, I apologize for expecting more from you, The Rejecter. Are you just hoping it will earn out the advance? And if it sells only a few thousand copies, will you be disappointed? Are you taking commercial success into consideration? If you're so good, you should want to make all kinds of money, so you can write another one, where you won't be distracted by any preoccupation.
Why did I accept such a low advance? Aren't my years of patience and time and money spent honing my craft worth some kind of reward, preferably in the form of a pool filled with dollar coins that you can swim in like Scrooge McDuck? I deserve compensation for the hours I spent at the computer when I could have been out drinking and partying and being a normal, functioning member of society and not a shut-in.
Fortunately I paid enough attention during the first submission attempts to learn that that wasn't going to happen. The market is hard on new fiction writers; you're lucky to get in at all. I got an offer, I got an agent - I had it all. Except money, but that seems to concern my agent more than me. Sure, I could have taken that risk and walked away from the initial offer to hunt for a higher one at other companies, but had that attempt failed, I would be back to square one. And you know what? Square one sucks. I want to be published.
That said, there was a more practical reason to accepting a low advance. If you're offered a good one, man, reach for that star. But you probably won't be offered a good one, and if you're hopig to be a career writer like me, that might not be a bad thing.
For those unfamiliar with the term, an "advance" is what it is - an "advance" on future predicted royalties you will be earning from the book. The good news is that even if the book doesn't sell enough copies to earn that amount of money back for the company, you get to keep the advance money. The bad news is that the company does detract your first royalties and keeps them until you "earn out your advance" and go into royalty territory. The company has seen its investment returned, and you get paychecks again.
"Earning out" is an important thing to do if you have the intention of trying to sell future books to that company or other companies, because they will look at your sales record and see not only how many copies sold but how much money the book actually made for the company. If I had a half-million dollar advance, man had my book better be a bestseller, or I'll have a poor record as an overpaid author. Considering I've written something that is a niche genre, that's unlikely.
With a low advance, I'm more likely to see royalties because there isn't that much to earn back. When I go in with the second novel, they're more likely to buy it - and for a decent amount of money. Hopefully.
This is a practical concern. If you don't make enough money, you can't afford to spend all your time focused on developing your talent, getting better, which is all any serious artist cares about. Genius is eternal patience. You need unlimited free time to have eternal patience.
Are you writing from some kind of alternate dimension where eating, sleeping, earning money, and the normal spectrum of human activities don't consume most of your time, and you find yourself sacrificing your free time for just a few hours of writing a day? If so, where is this dimension and is there a bus from the NYC Port Authority that goes there?