Time and again I’ve written that there’s virtually nothing about writing or the publishing industry that’s chiseled in stone. If Charles Frazier’s purported $3 million advance for his fourth novel doesn’t exemplify my contention, I don’t know what does. Mr. Frazier holds the dubious distinction of writing a book that left his publisher holding the bag for one of the biggest missteps in publishing history, as his follow-up book to COLD MOUNTAIN was reported to have missed covering his $12-million advance by more than $8 million.
The position among agents–as I’ve read often of late–is that one bad title in the Literature genre and that writer is going to have mighty tough sledding for future projects, no matter how successful this particular author was in the past. However, a $3-million advance, after a loss of $8 million on a previous book, certainly flies in the face of the naysayers. In fairness, Mr. Frazier did have a title released after his book that “missed” the advance, which was by all accounts profitable for the publisher. As an aside to all this, even the book that was a financial flop for the publisher sold in excess of 300,000 copies. Wouldn’t we all like to experience that sort of disaster?