February 6, 2023

Media coaches and publicists aren’t the only team members you’ll have to enlist if you want a six-figure advance and a a course in miracles that justifies it. The services of a professional editor are essential for both your proposal and your finished book. In fact, you might just want to hire a ghostwriter and get it over with, because you’re probably going to be too busy marketing to write.

That’s more money spent in advance of getting your advance.

Post-publication publicity

You’re not through yet, either. Now that you’ve gotten enough media attention for yourself to impress a publisher, you have to do it over again for your book. You’re going to have to shell out a good-sized chunk of that advance on your own publicity efforts. More and more publishing houses assume that your advance is the marketing budget for the book, so they expect you to spend your own money on getting the book sold. (Tip: when mentioning this in your proposal, always make the offer contingent on the publisher matching the amount.) This expectation actually holds true regardless of the size of your advance, but the more money you want to get, the more money you have to spend.

Six-figure advances are not for the faint of heart

Writing a good book is the least of the challenges facing you when you set out to get a six-figure advance. Moreover, if you don’t earn out your advance by actually selling 100,000+ books, your chance of getting such a large advance again are nil. To succeed when the stakes are this high, you need to become an Olympic athlete of a book marketer. That can be hard to do if you have either a day job or a family, never mind both. And it’s almost impossible if you don’t have a substantial chunk of starting capital.

Do you really need a six-figure book advance?

For many authors, five figures is plenty, especially for a first book. Even if it loses money, that book will create the leverage the author needs to succeed in other aspects of her business. (That’s one reason self-publishing can be such a good option for business book authors.) Getting a smaller advance still takes work and costs money, but it’s a much more manageable goal for a first time author without fifty grand to invest in getting into the bookstores.

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