Mark Terry

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Money and Writing

April 28, 2011
Discovering I wanted to be a writer in about 1985 or so and eventually getting published in 1993 or so and then making a full-time living as a writer starting in 2004, I am constantly amazed by misconceptions - often my own - about the true nature of book advances and royalties and earnings in general. I'm a far better judge of nonfiction magazine and corporate work fees than I am of books, although I'm better at it now than I used to be. However, I'm regularly reminded by various writers of the, er, modestly of financial returns on various writing projects.

Kelly James-Enger's blog about freelance writing has a very honest breakdown of her finances and advance and royalties and year-over-year earnings on her book Six-Figure Freelancing, which she presents here.

It's illuminating:

Today, average advances are shrinking, in part due to the economy (publishing’s a business like any other) and to the ghe glut of “celebrity” books hitting the shelves. When Snooki and The Situation (both of Jersey Shore “fame”) get book deals, that’s bad news for midlist authors like me. The more money publishers shell out for these kinds of titles, the less they have to spend on non-celebrity authors like myself.


Blogger rkfinnell said...

If Snookie actually wrote anything, I'm Edgar Allen Poe. If she did write it, I imagine the editor had a daunting task deciphering it. Of course this could be the case with half or more of the entire celebrity population.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

You might be surprised by just how much of the bestseller lists are ghostwritten, both nonfiction AND fiction.

I was amazed a few years ago to talk to a woman who ghostwrite romance novels for one of the big bestselling romance novelists - she wouldn't say who - and noted that she made an absolute ton of money doing it.

One figure I've heard is 50%!!! of the bestsellers lists, mostly the nonfiction, is actually ghosted. I believe it.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Kelly James-Enger said...

Thanks for sharing this, Mark. By the way, I am now referring to this as "the Snooki conundrum." :) Looking forward to reading your blog.

9:26 AM  

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