A survey was recently undertaken by The Writers Workshop that was only open to professional authors, and on Thursday Harry Bingham posted the results. You can read the piece here.
As a would-be novelist it's interesting to see how the 321 published respondents answered the questions set them.
After all they have agents and publishers already, so they should be relatively happy, right?
Well some don't seem to be when you look at the data closely- look here.
I think most of us know that writing books is not going to make us rich- though if your initials are JKR that won't apply- and any advance you are likely to get has got to go toward supporting you while you write the next book; as it can be quite a while before your latest manuscript reaches the shelves in its novel form, and starts earning back the advance, so you can then start getting royalties...
But £1,000-£5,000 seems to be the going advance rate for many authors- not much once you split it into three to reflect the different stages.
I know from discussions with other writers that marketing is very important if you want to get book sales, especially if you've self-published or have e-books for sale.
So I was quite surprised by the answer to the question on whether the authors were closely consulted on the publisher's marketing plan. 99 of those who answered opted for 'there was no attempt at consultation'.
And those who had consultation were not that impressed either (that's my interpretation).
The good news is that payments were clear and prompt, so that's good news among the less encouraging.
Nicola Morgan of Help! I Need A Publisher! has two valid points to add to the comments.
There are a lot more interesting responses to a variety of questions, so I recommend you take the time to read all the data.
Despite some of the negatives the data highlights, I doubt that many writers would turn down the opportunity to have a well-known publisher supporting them.
We just need to remember that when that happens, it's best to leave the rose-tinted glasses behind...