Canadian Andrew Davidson has received two million dollars in advance for his first novel, The Gargoyle.Â Two MILLION dollars. That’s some serious scratch. While I congratulate the young author, and remind him that he’ll need a security detail of one judoka/poet to ensure his safety, I can’t help but wonder if this represents good business decision making on the part of the publishers involved.
In Canadian publishing lore, there is only one recorded case of an unpublished novelist scoring a seven-figure advance for a single book.
This was in 1985. Ottawa’s Anthony Hyde earned national headlines after he sold his debut effort, a thriller, The Red Fox, to Penguin U.S. for a reported $1 million.
Of course, a cool million in 1985 went further than $1.25 million today. But Davidson might still own bragging rights.
He has scored a separate advance from Random House Canada, which will release The Gargoyle here, also in August. He has a deal with Canongate Books in the U.K. and with its subsidiary for Australia. Foreign-language rights have already been sold in 18 jurisdictions.
Though Davidson isn’t saying, his total advances so far (and these exclude potential film sales) probably exceed $2 million.