Monday, December 13, 2010

What to do With an Advance?

In the olden days, when I first began to write, I used to dream of what I'd do when I got my first advance. I know we're not supposed to think about things like that. We're in this for the love of writing, not for money.

But a little money would be nice. A lot of money would be even nicer.

At first I thought I'd buy myself a new harp. I love the little harps I make myself, but I could use a bigger one. A modest Lyon and Healy would look lovely in my living room.

Then I read on the internet that an author should sink the first advance into ADVERTISING THE BOOK! Oh, gosh, could that be true? Oh no! There goes my harp.

A year or so later, I went to my first writing workshop and asked my teacher, "How much money did you spend on advertising your first book?"

"Not a penny," He said. When I told him what I'd read about using the advance to promote the book he chuckled and said that the average advance would be utterly inadequate to fund an advertising campaign. It would be like throwing the money away.

Phew! That was a relief.

But I didn't go back to thinking I'd buy myself a harp. No, I have decided to invest my first advance in my writing career another way.

I'm going to use it as travel and tuition money so I can go to more conferences and workshops!


  1. That's a great way to spend an advance. I think I'll do the same!

  2. That does sound like a great way to spend an advance. I'd sure like to try it out. :)

  3. I didn't know you played the harp! I do too! I already have a pedal harp, but I would love the Lyon and Healy Chicago Concert Grand with the extended soundboard someday. Sigh. :)

  4. I do play the harp, Chantele. I had three performances and one rehearsal in twenty-four hours this weekend. Ah, tis the season!

    My favorite is browsing the used harps at Lyon and Healy. Someday I'm going to break down and buy one, advance or no advance.

  5. That would be a fun question to ask a panel of authors at a writing conference! Ah, lovely dreams, and I'm with you - traveling and conferences sound great.

  6. I think I'm spending my future advances already, with all the conferences I go to! :)

  7. Ain't that the truth, Sue! I just plunked down $200 for the Hawaii SCBWI conference and workshop. At least there's no plane ticket involved!

    Maybe I should use this to negotiate my first advance. "Look, I spent X on my education and I need to recoup costs!"

  8. Yes, I agree - definately has to be ploughed back into the writing.

    A conference in Hawaii eh? Now you're talking :-)


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