JA Konrath writes
"The average advance for a novel is five thousand bucks, and has been for as long as I've heard statistics being bandied around. This average includes all of the micro presses who don't offer advances, along with the megabestsellers who make seven figures per book.
I've also heard other stats.
Only a few hundred people in the world make their sole income writing fiction.
Once you're in a "salary bracket" you can be stuck there for book after book unless your sales explode---or your sales plummit
Only 1 out of 5 books earn out their advance and pay royalties.
Bigger advances (generally) mean more support in-house."Friedrich
at 2Blowhards writes:
"Book publishing generally is a fairly substantial industry, and most of the money in the field -- 2/3, if I remember right -- doesn't come from "trade book" publishing. It's generated by the sales of products many of us almost never think of as books: medical reference books, atlases, textbooks. This end of the biz operates in the semi-rational way many businesses do, with similar profit margins and incentive structures.
Trade-book publishing, the wing of the industry that fills up your local chain store, is a very modest subset of book publishing. And it's got a quite different texture. It's rather irrational, makes very modest profits, is full of well-meaning ex-English majors, and is forever being invaded (and wreaked havoc on) by conglomerates that think they can run it like a conventional business, and who always fail to turn the trick. Despite the celebrated star authors and the occasional celeb execs and agents, there's rather little money to be made here. And most of that money is as flukey and moody as the money that sloshes around the moviebiz."