(Does anyone read this? I really hate that I can't enable comments here, but my website designer convinced me I would just get a lot of spam. Judging from the amount of email I get from people who think I should hire them to work on the site, he is probably right).
Anyway. I got the first half of my advance for Fire in the Heart! (Minus agent commission)
But whoa there, partner. You don't want to go out and blow it all on a trip to New Zealand (tempting). I have heard horror stories of authors getting big advances (mine is not that big) and having to pay them back for various reasons. The advance is just that, an advance against future sales. The book may not sell that well. Better to save it and forget about it.
That is one thing an agent can get you--an advance. For my first book, I didn't know that was possible and so did not press for it. (And after seeing the first royalty check, I am glad I didn't). It's a tricky thing. You want to be paid for your work (though it is probably negative cents per hour, but who is counting? I never wrote for money) but you don't want to owe either. Plus, taxes. A writer friend with a book being shopped told me, "Of course, I am going to hope for more than THAT", when I told how much the advance was.
IDK. I wouldn't want more than this. You never know how a book is going to do. You naturally want it to explode onto the scene, but very few books do. I'd almost rather wait for a year for a royalty check than pay taxes on two years' worth. But this sounds like I am complaining. I'm not, just one more thing to navigate in the sea of publishing as a newbie.