Friday, November 11, 2005

Get a 6 Figure Book Advance

by Susan Harrow

It's the dream of 81% of the population to write a book. No matter
how many times people tell you how difficult it is to do, nearly
everyone wants to do it. There hangs a certain romance around
writers. I think it's a kind of nostalgia or grieving for some
forgotten part of ourselves. We long to return to a place where magic
and imagination are revered.

Others may just want the quick glory or fast buck they associate with
being an author. But whatever you want, getting a 6-figure book
advance is possible if you have the skill, drive and know-how. Here
are five tips to get you started on achieving the dream of becoming a
well-paid, respected author.

1. Know the Industry

Educate yourself on how the publishing industry works. Unlike the old
days when publishers were looking to cultivate long-term
relationships with authors who would be in their stable, today their
top priority is just to sell books.

When I was traveling in Mexico this year I met a woman whose husband
has been a best-selling author for twenty years in England. He has
had the same agent and publisher for those same twenty years. Every
time he came out with a new book his publishers expected it to be
"number one" on the English equivalent of the New York Times
bestseller list. They worked with him to make it so. In America the
bottom line is king. You must be able to substantiate your claim that
your book will fly off the shelves, without any help from the

2. Prove There is a Market for Your Book

In today's world you need to show that your book will sell to one
large audience, or many smaller niche audiences. Quantify each
audience with statistics that show that they buy books on that
subject. It's not enough to say that this audience would
be interested in your topic. You must be able to prove beyond a doubt
with your well-researched facts that your readers are a *book buying*

3. Develop a Platform

This is the most important aspect of your proposal after you've
proven that there is a pressing need for your book and that book
buying audiences will scoop it up. A platform is simply YOUR ability
to sell books to the audience that you have said will buy-from you.

It's all about the numbers. How many people are on your e-zine list?
How many people do you speak to every month? How many people buy your
products and services now? Do you have big name corporations or
organizations that will buy your books in bulk? Do you have a regular
column, or write for publications? Are
you frequently seen in the media? If you don't have an impressive
platform you don't get a 6-figure advance.

4. Map out a Marketing Plan to Promote Your Book.

Your plan should include everything from speaking engagements, online
marketing, licensing, and media placements. It must be realistic and
do-able. In other words you can't say that you'll speak to
organizations of 1000 people or more if you've never done it.

What do publishers hate most?

When you say that you're right for Oprah. Unless you've already been
a guest and taped the show please NEVER say this if you don't want
your reputation instantly sullied.

Instead show how you will build on your past publicity. If hosts or
producers say that they want you back for another segment because you
did such a good job the first time, say it. But if you haven't done
much media to date, don't fret.

You can begin today and get a substantial number of profiles,
features, and comments in the media in a few months by joining
PRLeads,a service which delivers reporters queries (the stories they
need experts for) daily to your email box.

5. Get Endorsements

Big names sell products in a big way. Getting known names of
celebrities, best-selling authors, actors, athletes, well-known
experts in your field, media personalities, any famous name that has
glitter gives you the kind of credibility that
can't be bought.

One of my clients, who got a number of New York Times best-selling
authors to write about him, accomplished three things with his
endorsements. Each person who wrote about him told a different story
about why he would be a winning author. The first one lauded him as a
highly successful professional. The second stated that my client's
book filled a gap that her book failed to address. The third
demonstrated that the people my client was trying to reach were an
avid book buying market hungry for his type of book- as they had
bought hers.

These meaningful endorsements effectively helped him get his 6-figure
advance. (And he got media coached by me before he met the editors at
the big New York Publishing houses who then bid on his book at

Don't just get endorsements saying you're terrific. Make your
endorsements do double duty by helping you prove there is a market
and that you're the one they want to buy from. This is the type of
information that makes you stand out from the other 150,000 authors
who are published every year, most of whom never earn back their
advance. Don't be one of them. Instead, follow this advice and you'll
be well on your way to earning a 6 figure book advance. Good luck!


Anonymous Lynette Benton said...

This post is extremely good. Now I can't wait to read all your others. I write about writing careers and teach creative writing; this is the kind of information I like to share with my readers and students. I'll be including your links in my articles and posts. Thanks!

- Lynette Benton

7:14 AM  

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