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How Advances Worked in 1984

In The Atlantic, PublicAffairs Books founder Peter Osnos wrote an essay about working as a young nonfiction editor 1984–shedding light on how advances used to work.

The article spotlighted bestselling Random House authors Dr. Seuss and James Michener: “Neither author took advances. Their revenues were so large and steady that they had a permanent drawing account and relied on the publisher and their financial advisers to see that the money was properly invested.”

When former-vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro auctioned her manuscript, it sold for $1 million; prior to auction, Osnos was told to offer $50,000. One year later, Osnos paid $1 million to publish politician Tip O’Neill’s memoir Man of the House. Now politicians and celebrities enjoy much larger advances. (via Jose Alfonso Furtado)

Mediabistro Course

Women's Magazine Writing

Women's Magazine WritingPitch and publish in women's magazines with the health director of Family Circle! Starting September 30, Lynya Floyd will teach you how to wow editors with stories they want and need for their publications. You'll learn how to workshop pitch letters to endure editors will read them, master the voice and tone of women's magazines, find sources, and connect with other writers in the industry. Register now!