So, what’s the deal about being a writer? How does one get to be a  writer in the first place? Let me try to give a quick summary of what can be a long-drawn and torturous process.

Firstly, you write a book. Yes, a complete one, duly edited, proof read and the rest of it. You then try to sell the book to a publisher. At times, and this make happen only after you are an established writer more often than not, you could be represented by a literary agent who sells your work. On publication, you get paid royalty based on the contract you sign with your publisher.

On occasion, and here’s where the glamorous image of being a writer comes in, you could sign a multi-book deal. The publisher signs you up to deliver a couple of books, without seeing what is in them. This is based on your track record and largely on what the world thinks of you, as evidenced by your book’s sales figures.

If you are good, you could be paid  an advance too. Renowned writers have been paid huge advances and a few such cases inspire every writer to believe that someday, somewhere, someone might sign them up on very lucrative terms.

But the world of publishing is becoming increasingly competitive, and I am not even talking about the self-publishing world. This too churns out a huge number of books into an already crowded market place.

As the traditional publishers seek to improve their profitability, they tend to consolidate through mergers and acquisitions at times. They seek various means to improve their business results. One move can be in the matter of advances. Here’s news that the famous writer Vikram Seth has been asked to pay back an advance. It’s only for $ 1.7 million !!!

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