Authors taking pay cuts of up to 50%

<p>Authors have seen their advances drop over the past year, with some facing cuts of as much as 50% on new book deals. But deals for bestselling authors are &quot;bigger than ever&quot;.</p><p>Earlier this week Little, Brown author Iain Banks spoke publicly about taking a pay cut, &shy;telling the <em>Guardian</em>: &quot;I&#39;m getting less money for my next book contract. But I&#39;ve heard of writers having their advances cut by 80%, and others &shy;getting nothing.&quot; Agent Mic Cheetham, who represents Banks, said: &quot;The climate has changed. I think it&#39;s called &#39;a haircut&#39;&mdash;a little trim. You have to look to keep the haircut to an absolute minimum.&quot;</p><p>Clare Alexander of Aitken Alexander said: &quot;For an established author who is not a bestseller, the advance may be down by as much as 50%, or books may not be being bought at all. The decline has been very steep since the end of last year.&quot; Mark Le Fanu, general secretary of the Society of Authors, also estimated the drop in general author advances at 30% to 50%.</p><p>Publishers told <em>The Bookseller</em> that author advances had to be in line with a previous title&#39;s sales record, with advances for bestselling authors beloved of supermarkets more robust. &quot;We have had to say in some cases &#39;We cannot continue to pay you what we have been paying you,&#39;&quot; said one. Alexander said: &quot;If you get into the top 20 in hardback and paperback, there will be no decline, and maybe even an increase. The bestselling authors are bigger than ever.&quot;</p><p>One reason for this is an increase in poaching attempts. Carole Blake of Blake Friedmann said she had concluded her recent contract for crime writer Peter James with Pan Macmillan, renewing his deal with the pub&shy;lisher, despite four other major publishers coming &shy;forward to put seven-figure offers on the table. &quot;I was clear in saying: &#39;He&#39;s still under contract, we can&#39;t talk figures,&#39; but they said: &#39;The offer is on the table when you are ready to consider it,&#39;&quot; she said.</p><p>Last week <em>The Bookseller</em> reported that authors are being told their books are not good enough to publish as houses seek to save costs by cancelling titles. </p>