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Celebrity book advances: How much stars got paid to write

13 October 2016

From News.com/AU:

Celebrities can get paid staggering amounts of money to write books.
Stars typically receive a handsome advance which is like a signing bonus that the author receives before the book is published.

As Brian Klems from The Writer’s Digest explained, an advance is “paid against future royalty earnings, which means that for every dollar you receive in an advance, you must earn a dollar from book sales before you start receiving any additional royalty payments”.

. . . .

  • Tina Fey, Bossypants (2011). Advance: $US6 million
  • Amy Shumer, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo (2016). Advance: $US9 million
  • Keith Richards, Life (2011). Advance: $US7 million

Link to the rest at News.com/AU and thanks to Dave for the tip.

Big Publishing, Royalties

15 Comments to “Celebrity book advances: How much stars got paid to write”

  1. This sort of non-news news is getting really old. The publishers are heard to whine that they can’t give actual writers much in the way of advances/royalties, but they always seem to have sufficient money for celebrity schlock. Usually the celebrity doesn’t even do the writing.


  2. I’d be very interested to learn which ones earned out, and by how much.

  3. I’m curious how these advances are structured. What’s the chance the celebs get all the money the publishers brag about?

  4. Living in Tucson, I go to the Tucson book fair. A lot of these celebrity books end up in the discount bins, and everyone picked over them trying to find something good and interesting. The $1-$3 used paperbacks were the best finds. By bf does claim the Amy Schumer book is funny.

    • Remember Gary Hart? Senator Gary Hart? There was a time, years ago, when I could have gotten everything he wrote (at that date, 6 or 8 books), in hardcover, for 25c each at my local grocery store’s “manager special” aisle, when the manager decided to buy a few pallets of remainders. No, I didn’t bother. I’ll bet a few $$ got lost on that deal.

  5. One thing is for sure, celebrities want all the money upfront, knowing that they will not see a cent afterwards. They don’t take risks as average writers are asked to.

    • I’m remembering that that’s how the big bestsellers get paid too. They don’t expect royalties because they don’t earn out, but do expect to get their money up front.

      Of course, publishers start making a profit well before most books earn out anyway.

  6. I’ve long noticed that tomes penned by “Celebrities” — or more accurately ghosted by someone with the Celeb’s name on the cover — seem to wind up on the remainder tables muy pronto.

    But even at reduced, bargain-basement prices, I’m rarely interested in buying any of them.

  7. I find it interesting that a vast majority of these outlandish advances go to devotees of one particular political party.

    Just saying, it’s well known that the entire publishing world leans heavily liberal – it may be best to remember that if you think/feel differently and are working closely with an agent.

    I’ve run across more than one agent who insists on liberal tropes inserted into my proposals.

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