Here is an opinion that states if a publisher says they’ll offer no advance to a writer, they’re basically shit and think you’re dumb, etc.

But here is something he said that especially stood out for me in his comments section:

Because in my opinion there is no good reason not to pay the writer first.

Exactly. When it’s the end of the quarter and everything is getting figured up, royalty checks go to the writers before anything else. How hard is that? Both the author and the publisher worked hard to polish the manuscript and make it marketable, then pushed it to the public. If the book sold well, they are rewarded together. If it did poorly, they suffer together. The relationship has balance and they need to work together if it’s going to work at all.

So how does the logic fit there for an advance? It doesn’t. The above link does wonders for a writer’s ego, especially from a one-sided point of view. But look at it from the other side. A person can say an advance proves that the publisher is willing to invest in the author. This is bullshit, and here’s why:

When a publisher takes on a book, they invest many hours of their time editing, formatting, planning, wheeling and dealing, not to mention all the time worrying about it, the same as the author worries multiplied by many more books. Even without counting a single penny spent on the creation or marketing the book, there is a huge investment made in the author.

So look at it on the flipside: if a publisher gives a writer an advance, what’s to keep that writer from bailing on the project? Many books are lucky to earn back the advance, if that. So what’s keeping the writer from turning in the manuscript, cashing the check, and moving on to the next project with very little care about promoting the book when it’s out? Screw the publisher! I got my money and I don’t care to help them make more.

Speaking as both an author and a publisher, I say to Hell with advances. They’re part of the reason so many big houses are hurting right now. They’re a part of an outdated business model. Earn your money together as a team, or are you afraid your book won’t sell so well?

Update:

Shortly after this post was automatically sent to my Facebook, Craig Spector of splatterpunk fame chimed in which grew into a lengthy, if not redundant, debate. I’ll post it here in case others feel it adds to the discussion. Here is the Direct Link to the convo and here is a Screencap for those who’d rather not go over there (just click on it a few times to enlarge enough to read). Call me paranoid, but I may have to air out my FB today to get rid of the strong odor of bait.