Science fiction author Tobias S Buckell has conducted a survey to find out what advance sf and fantasy authors receive for their first novel. Result: $5,000 – $6000 on average.

Anyone who, like me, wants to one day make a living in this field had better be sure they’re doing it for love and not money.

The figures remind me of when I did a work placement at a publishing company in London as part of my creative writing degree. I won’t name names, but I had the opportunity to look through files of contracts, and an established fantasy writer whose work I like and respect, and who has now sadly died, received – if I remember rightly – £10,000 split into two £5,000 payments for his latest novel. A world-famous musician who was publishing his autobiography, on the other hand, got £1 million, divided into three equal payments.

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