Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dr. Seuss Never Took an Advance

Filed under: Book Advances,Guest Author Articles — Larry James @ 8:30 am

Seth Godin, Guest Author

For the last fifty years, the driving economic force of the book business has been the advance against royalties.

bookadvanceVirtually all books aimed a mass audience earn precisely the same royalty per book. Stephen King, the unknown first time author and I get paid exactly the same royalty per book by Penguin.

What changes is the advance. This is a non-refundable earnest payment the publisher puts up to entice the author (and her agent) to sign on, to choose them. When everything else is equal (and it often is), the advance is the thing that gets looked for and reported on.

As you can imagine, this affects the rest of the process. The royalties earn out against the advance and in fact are rarely paid at all (if the advance is bigger than the royalties, the author gets no new money). Most publishers don’t associate an advance paid four years ago with a royalty statement that comes in today. (And if they do pay attention, they’re likely to make a non-economic decision– “let’s promote this book even though it’s not selling, because we have a big advance at stake.”)


For more info, click book cover!

If there are two publishers, one with a great marketing and publishing program, and the other with an advance that’s three times as big, guess who wins the author? A publisher with a big checkbook is able to land famous authors, which excites the salesforce, which gets more shelf space in the store which, perhaps, leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Of course, for the last half century, in a static publishing environment, all of this was very good news for authors. Not only did it remove risk for a profession that could ill afford to take risk, but big advances focused the attention of the publisher. You were getting paid a lot and it bought you a better publishing experience at the same time…

(Dr. Seuss rejected this and refused to take an advance from his publisher. He wanted his publisher to have the same incentives he did.)

The advance makes it very clear who’s in charge. The publisher pays, so the publisher calls the shots. The author has a scarce asset, and sells it to the publisher, who exploits it. The friction comes when the author/tribe leader/impresario believes that risks and new technologies can help get her work into the world, and the publisher demurs.

As the underpinnings of traditional publishing start to shift, the pressure to change the culture of the advance are sure to mount. Of course, as long as there are two publishers willing to spend freely, advances will stick around.

Having been paid advances for years, I’m not arguing they should be abolished even if they could be. For those curious about the future of the book business, though, it’s impossible to talk about [digital, the long tail, free editions, sub rights] without acknowledging that they drive the decisions in the heart of the industry.

Copyright © 2013. Seth Godin. Seth Godin has written thirteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. Seth is the founder of The Domino Project. Listen to an 18 minute interview with Seth about The Domino Project. Click here! Check Seth’s Blog.


Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Shy Author’s Guide to Book Promotion

Filed under: Author Tips,Guest Author Articles,Promotion — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Sandra Beckwith, Guest Author

While some authors embrace book publicity and promotion with enthusiasm, many just wish it would go away.

shyauthorGetting “out there” and talking about the book can be downright painful for shy people or those who prefer to write, not talk. Then there are those who aren’t shy, but aren’t comfortable in situations that make them feel like they’re the center of attention. Still others are afraid they will be labeled as “shameless self-promoters.” Can you blame them? I’ve seen some who are beyond “shameless” – they’re downright undignified.

How do you overcome your reluctance to promote your book, regardless of your reason? Here are the “I can’t do this” excuses that I hear most often and how to get around them:

Problem: Pro-actively promoting my book makes me feel self-conscious. I don’t like calling attention to myself.

Solution: Flip your perspective. You’re not talking about or calling attention to yourself – you’re calling attention to your book. You wrote that book to educate, entertain, or inform a certain audience. You won’t be able to do that if they don’t know about it. You’re doing them a favor by doing as much as you can to help them see how your book will help. Shift your focus from yourself to the people who will benefit from reading your book and you’ll relax and maybe even enjoy that media interview.

Problem: I don’t like talking. I’d rather be writing.

Solution: Focus on the many promotional opportunities that don’t require voice-to-voice interviews or conversations:

• Do a “Twitter chat
• Go on a virtual book tour
• Post information and updates on your Facebook page
• Write and share articles on article syndication sites
• Blog regularly – and be a guest blogger, too
• Send out tip sheets
• Ask to do media interviews by e-mail

Problem: I see what others do and it makes me uncomfortable.

Solution: Head in the opposite direction with your tactics. For example, did you receive a book announcement e-mail that you thought was too self-serving, overly-aggressive, or even pointless? Write yours in a way that’s classy, helpful, and informative. Maybe you don’t like how your author friend shares a purchase link to his book on the Facebook timeline of new friends as soon as they accept his friend requests. Create a fan page for your book and use it to share helpful information instead of advertising messages.

Problem: I don’t know where to start.

scaredspeakerSolution: Start by making time to learn. I’m a big on starting with a plan, but before you can write one, you need to know more about your options. Start by writing down your goals for your book. Then educate yourself about book marketing, publicity, and promotion:

• Search online
• Subscribe to newsletters
• Read a book or two
Take a course that will walk you through the process

With your research done, decide which tactics will help you reach your goals. Select one tactic or tool that seems like the best fit for your skills and personality, and research it to learn how to do it. When you’ve mastered and implemented it, select another.

Problem: I don’t have time.

Solution: Take the time you used to spend writing the book and reassign it to book promotion.

• Get up an hour early two days a week
• Focus on the book after the kids have gone to bed
• Skip lunch to make things happen.

It’s hard to promote a book when the related activities don’t come easily or intuitively, but doing something in your own way is much, much better than doing nothing. Give it a try – I’m cheering you on!

SandraBio1Copyright © 2013 – Sandra Beckwith. Sandra Beckwith is a former national award-winning publicist who now teaches authors how to promote and publicize their books. Get free tips and subscribe to her complimentary Build Book Buzz e-zine at Connect with her on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Facebook.



Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at:

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – and

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.


Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page:
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at:
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