The going price for a novel


I chatted to my agent this morning, looking into non-fiction possibilities, and posed the dirty question. Not quite "How much will my new novel get?" but "What's the current going rate in the UK for such novels?"

Five to ten thousand pounds is the answer. I see why Barbara Cartland had to pump out a lifetime average of twenty three novels a year and died just this side of insolvency even so.

My current novel is precious, meaning I value it highly, but also precious in that vulnerable sense. It's hard to keep on pumping it out for a world that might value it so slightly.

The truth, I suspect, is that it has to astonishingly good and strong as a novel, and to be sold as such. The book with the $10,000 advance must be almost extinct, for no-one is going to make any money from a starting point of such low expectations. (My agent suggested two to three years for earning back such a pitiful advance.) Some publishers and writers will keep producing for the love of the thing, but I'm going to have to get brazen about selling my work. Write for the love of the thing and then sell like hell for the love of the thing too.