Amish Tripathi, the bestselling author of The Immortals of Meluha and The Secrets of the Nagas, has received the fattest advance ever for an Indian author from Westland, an Indian publisher. Westland has given him Rs 5 crore as an advance for his next series.
With 5 lakh copies of his latest 'The Oath of the Vayuputras' selling within 24 hours of release, Amish is now the new "literary pop icon". Westland is paying the fat advance even though he is unclear about the topic for his next book.
Amish had been a banker before he quit to become a full-time author. Some previous advances that had created ripples --- approx Rs 8 crore for global rights to Vikram Seth's sequel to 'A Suitable Boy' and Rs 97 lakh for Ramachandra Guha's seven-part history of post-independence India, both by Penguin.
Nandan Nilekani got Rs 25 lakh for his 'Imagining India' while last year, Random House India paid Rs 50 lakh for cricketer Yuvraj Singh's autobiography. Celebrated nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, entrepreneurship expert Rashmi Bansal and thriller writer Ashwin Sanghi are also said to command high advances. Chetan Bhagat, whose titles have sold more one million copies for each, is another high earner.
Most authors get a part of the money before the manuscript is given and it is adjusted against the royalty payment later. The advances have zoomed because of potential book sales. An advance is a direct multiple of expected sales and it is a calculated risk for the publisher. Such advances range from Rs 30,000 to tens of lakhs, and are a function of the author's writing, experience, brand value and sales record. The figure is usually a multiple of the book price, royalty percentage and expected sales, but the amounts have risen rapidly with even first-timers getting up to a lakh in competitive bidding.