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Industry Insider – Why Advances Matter

28 November @ 14:00 - 15:00 GMT

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SoA CEO Nicola Solomon will chair this #SoAatHome industry insider event on Why Advances Matter, with Suresh Ariaratnam; Joanne Harris; and Rebecca Gray.

 At the US trial of Penguin Random House’s proposed $2.2bn merger with Simon & Schuster, PRH’s chief executive, Madeline McIntosh, claimed that the size of an author’s advance plays no role in determining books’ marketing plans.   Our panel will discuss the role and need for advances.  




  • Welcome, introductions and housekeeping from Nicola Solomon, (2 mins)
  • Nicola Solomon chairs a panel discussion with Suresh Ariaratnam, Joanne Harris and Rebecca Gray (40 mins)
  • Q&A with audience (15 mins)
  • Summary and closing comments (3 mins)




What will this session cover? 

  • Why do we have advances?
  • Do publishers work harder if advances are higher?
  • Author incomes and the need for advances
  • What is the perfect advance amount?
  • Risk
  • Diversity, inclusivity and access issues
  • Other models



Who is this session for? 

Anyone concerned about their own advances or interested in the economics of the publishing industry, as well as  people interested in inclusivity and diversity in publishing. This will be a general discussion suitable for everyone from the unpublished to the highly experienced.


Send us your questions in advance 

If you would like to send questions in advance, email with [email protected] with ‘Why Advances Matter’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many as we can from the audience on the day.


SoA @ Home fundraising bookshop

Browse our virtual Bookshop.org store featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate links a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.


The line-up 

Suresh Ariaratnam – Literary and Talent agent; founder, Sprung Sultan Agency

Suresh Ariaratnam is the founder of Sprung Sultan, a literary agency representing authors from Black and Asian communities predominantly, including the TS Eliot Prize recipient Roger Robinson, the Ted Hughes Award recipient Jay Bernard, and the Leipzig Book Prize recipient Johny Pitts. His interests include how income inequity for marginalised writers expresses and perpetuates itself within publishing.
Website: www.sprungsultan.com | Twitter: @sprungsultan


Rebecca Gray – Profile Books

 Rebecca is the non-fiction publisher at Profile Books, managing the non-fiction editorial team as well as working across imprints and occasionally publishing fiction, including Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Carmen Maria Machado, Attica Locke, Lucy Mangan, Emily Oster and Alan Bennett, alongside books about sheep, fabric, swearing and street addresses.  She edited a charity book for Profile – The Library Book through Quaker Homeless Action’s mobile library, which benefitted The Reading Agency.
Website: www.profilebooks.com | Twitter @ProfileBooks | Instagram @Profile.Books



Joanne Harris, Chair of the Management Committee, 2019-2022 (re-elected as Chair to 2024)

Joanne Harris is Chair of the SoA’s Management Committee. She is an author of nineteen novels in varying genres, including Chocolat, two collections of short stories, a Dr. Who novelette, various stage musical projects and three cookbooks. Joanne’s books have been published in over 50 countries and have won a number of British and international awards. [email protected] Twitter: @Joannechocolat



Nicola Solomon – SoA Chief Executive

Nicola’s role encompasses protecting authors’ interests in negotiations/disputes with publishers and agents, advising individual authors and campaigning for authors’ rights, as well as for the wider cultural environment.

Nicola is an expert in the publishing industry and the associated law, from copyright and defamation, to privacy, data protection and contract.

She is a Deputy District Judge and sits on the board of the International Authors’ Forum, the British Copyright Council and the European Writers Council.

At the SoA, Nicola liaises with the Management Committee to set and implement strategy and policy and to manage finance. She liaises with external organisations and manages the SoA team of professional staff. [email protected]


Need to know 

Before the event

  • Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with the Zoom link
  • If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive in your inbox, please check your junk /spam email folder.
  • Please add [email protected] to your Safe Senders list so you receive our confirmation, and reminder emails

During the event

  • This online event will take place on Zoom Webinar; you will not be visible on screen but will be able ask questions via the Q&A function or interact via the chat box
  • This event will be recorded but you won’t be on screen
  • Attendees have the option to turn on the live transcript option
  • This event is 60 minutes.

After the event

  • Hashtag for this event: #SoAatHome
  • You’ll be able to catch the recording on our Vimeo channel



Book your place using the registration form below.

All #SoAatHome events are free but if you can afford to, please consider donating to our Authors’ Contingency Fund and we suggest a minimum donation of £5. The fund is to help professional authors experiencing financial hardship. DONATE HERE


If you are unable to book using the registration box below, please email [email protected] with the name and date of the event you’d like to register for and we’ll confirm your place.


Accordion Content

Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.



Accordion Content

20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.




28 November
14:00 - 15:00 GMT
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