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Writing Books/Advances for first novels


Hello, I am writing my first novel, a supernatural horror and I have just signed a contract with an agency. I know its early days yet but what I would like to know is, what is the average advance paid out to a first time novelist? thank you. Theresa.

Hi Theresa,
First of all congratulations on getting so far down the way to having your book published. Many people simply don't make it this far!

You have done the right thing in getting an agent as they will protect your interests and represent you to the publisher. As far as advances go, there is no set amount for a first or even subsequent novels. It depends on the estimated print run that is intended, the size of the market and the publisher's faith in the book. I have heard of advances as low as $2000 and as high as one million.

I'm sorry I can't give you a definite figure - just remember, you are getting published - that is the greatest reward.

All the best,


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Sandy McCutcheon


Author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a memoir and children's fiction.I can work with people on the process of writing, what to expect and ask for from an editor. How to work with the publisher`s marketing and publicity people. And how to survive book launches and publicity tours!


Published author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a young adult and three non-fiction titles. Visit his Moroccan blog at for a look at his blogging work.

St Andrews, Helsinki University and other institutions. Adult Educator of the Year Award, Australia

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