HERE’S A WORD PROBLEM (remember those?).
…[M]ost authors will never earn out their advance. Hmm. Let’s think this one through, as we know that advances are pretty blooming low anyway, and have dropped from 5K to 4K and falling…. (if this reminds you of the improbability drive, that’s because that is what is.) Let me run this one past your logic circuits: If the buyer of patented new mousetrap offers you a royalty of 5% and advance of $4000… and somehow you never earn back that $4000 in royalties, let alone any additional royalties, and the mousetrap manufacturer has shall we say opaque accounting practices… But when you offer him your newest mousetrap design, he sighs and says that out of the kindness of his heart he’ll take that off you for $3500… and that he’s bought seven other new mousetraps and none of them ever earned his advance… do little warning lights come up? Does the circuit that alerts you to improbable events say that the chances of someone paying MORE than the item is actually worth, repeatedly, are several million to one, against?