Friday, March 30th, 2012

How Greg Smith's Book Will Make Hachette Back Its $1.5 Million

Haha, right? Just kidding! Not gonna happen.

So yes: Greg Smith changes careers, from one system of fleecing people to another! Publishing and investment banking have a lot in common in their machinations actually. Just that in publishing, only eight people get rich. And you gotta move a lot of merch to get that $1.5 million back. But don't worry about Hachette's Grand Central; they've got David Baldacci and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter to keep them warm.

8 Comments / Post A Comment

Daniel Sargeant (#7,340)

Dave Bry got like $3m, right?

jfruh (#713)

Can I request an Awl expose on how the economics of book advances really work? Like, if you get a good advance on your book (good in the real world of normals, not Greg Smith style — something in the low-to-mid five digits, maybe), you need to sell X books at $Y per book to make it back, right? (With probably $Y being different depending on whether it's a hardcover, paperback, ebook, etc.) So if you don't make back your advance, does that mean that the publisher has literally lost money on the book, or is there jiggery-pokery accounting magic that prevents this from happening? And then will the publisher say "Enh, you didn't make your advance back, we have no further interest in you"? Wouldn't it be in the author's long-term interest to low-ball the advance and make it back and then some and look like a hero? Or is the publishing industry so uncertain that you need to grab every dollar you can up front and run?

pissy elliott (#397)

@jfruh It pains me to suggest this, but the Kindle Single that Keith Gessen wrote on The Art of Fielding might be of interest. Your advance can be made back in ways other than physical units sold (translations and subrights being the big ones).

In publishing muppets call you!

ericdeamer (#945)

@My Number Is My Address I wonder if maybe the guy who wrote that in the email was just a big Muppets fan and meant it in, like, a nice way?

@ericdeamer They reminded him of Statler and Waldorf; solid, respectable, witty plutocrats.

NotBoyScout (#231,018)

To be fair, it was less than 1.5 million. Might still be hard to earn back, though.

BadUncle (#153)

It might earn out, if they license it out for the next edition of Grand Theft Auto.

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