Saturday, 21 April 2012

Sponsored Classics

With the contraction in the book business it seems the Advance is shrinking faster than a Spice Girl on a postpartum diet. For those of you who aren't familiar with advances - which planet are you from, by the way? - they are a lump sum paid by publishers to authors as a way of sealing the contract between them.  The term really means an advance of royalties, so naturally the amount offered will reflect:

a. how much the publisher values the acquisition and feels confident about selling

b. how much effort and expense they are therefore likely to expend in promoting the book

That was back in those halcyon days before the world economy collapsed and Amazon was just a scary story Acquisition Editors told their juniors to keep them in line.  In these cash strapped times advances are hard to come by.  So what can we authors do to find alternative sources of income to support our art?

Perhaps it is time to find commercial sponsors?  It happens on TV after all.  Product placement is hardly new.  Maybe it's time classics new and old carried some familiar household products to help generate revenue?

We could have: 

Hard Times by C. Dickens, sponsored by Rotary Watches.
The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre, sponsored by Levington's Compost
Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, sponsored by Whiskas
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, sponsored by Thomas Cook
The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, sponsored by Stannah Stairlifts
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, sponsored by Nytol


Fiona Faith Maddock said...

Brilliant post.

pdr lindsay said...

Actually there is a new Small Press doing just that. They seek suitable sponsors to put an ad in the middle of the book.

I think we have to let the huge advance go. We need to come to a gentle arrangement which allows the writer a living allowance until the first royalties come in.

And perhaps with e-publishing and its far greater percentage royalties we will find ourselves better off with these publishers?

Sandra Patterson said...

Thanks, Fiona.

Why doesn't that surprise me, PDR? I wonder what the criterion is for choosing a sponsor. And do they have to mention the product in the book? Hm, it's food for thought.