The short answer to this is "yes", but that's not worth a blog entry of itself. There are a couple of fascinating posts on agent Kristin Nelson's blog on the whopping advance Audrey Niffenegger has received for her second novel. I'm always happy to see writers make money, and since The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favourite novels, I'm doubly pleased to see Audrey getting the rewards her work deserves.
Both Kristin and Niffenegger's agent Joe Regal stress the point that she wrote the novel first and then sold it--despite the fact that she could have negotiated a sizeable advance on the back of The Time Traveler's Wife's extraordinary success. Regal, in particular, is trenchant in his attempts to distance this deal from Charles Frazier's astronomical advance for Thirteen Moons - a book which sold well but could never have earned out its advance: the episode killed Frazier's career. (David has a great post on this topic from a couple of years ago). Regal is also alarmed that word of the deal has got out (as if it could ever have been kept secret) as it might create a backlash against his writer.
A fascinating pair of posts on several levels:Regal concludes with the advice "write the best book you can and then sell it." It's an interesting perspective for those who think the agents' sole frame of reference is to chisel out early, vast advances for their writers. As MNW writers, of course, we don't have a choice--but it's interesting to see the approach advocated at the more cutthroat end of the industry.
And with my second novel, The Last Free City, submitted to MNW yesterday, the last thing I'm worried about is advances. "Yes please" will do just fine...