Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ken Wright: The Financial Realities of Your Career: Frank Questions and Answers

Former editor/publisher and now Writers House agent Ken Wright answers any business-related questions from the room. (He notes-he's not a financial advisor.)

Six months before one of his client's book comes out, Ken holds a marketing meeting with his author an their publisher.

There's no rule of thumb on advances. It's market driven. He's not fan of big advances, because of the risk of not earning them out and then not looking like an success to your publisher.

Advances for first time novelists can range from $15,000 to in the hundreds of thousands. He says first-time nonfiction authors would likely get a higher advance than for fiction.

He's a big advocate of promoting your book through school visits, but said that he has a few clients who do a little TOO much of that, which takes away from their writing. Every book and every situation is different, but self-promotion is always important and necessary.

It's OK to take work-for-hire or technical writing or other kinds of gigs if money is an issue. And you don't necessarily need to use a psuedonym--that's on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to the initial negotiation, as an agent, he takes care of sub-rights, flow through (release of money to the author), and contract delays that affect the writer.

Agents definitely increase the response time from publishers. As a rule, he checks in with editors about his submissions every two weeks.

What's a good persentage of your earning to spend on marketing? The rule of thumb is 5%.

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