Further to yesterday’s post: the size of your advance says nothing about your capabilities as a writer. It speaks only to your publisher’s assessment of your market value. They can get it wrong. How a book does is very often a crapshoot.
Several NYT bestselling authors I know of received tiny advances for those insanely huge selling books. I also know some first-time novelists who got six-figure advances, who not only didn’t earn out, but didn’t sell 10% of what they needed to in order to earn out.
In all cases the books were EXCELLENT.
It’s luck and chance and forces beyond your control.
For those who don’t know what an advance is or what earning out means go here.