India based publishing house Westland has doled out what can easily be termed the biggest advance any author in this part of the world has ever received for a book series that has yet to come into existence. The recipient in this case is Amish Tripathi, who has penned the famous Shiva trilogy. The Oath of the Vayuputras which forms the last of the mythological fantasy series, has gone on to sell half a million copies in just the opening day of sale itself.
The CEO of Westland, Gautam Padmanabhan, said, “We made the deal based on Amish’s sales record… It’s a pre-emptive bid of Rs 5 crore for the book, audio, and e-publishing rights to his next series for the south-Asian region. It’s the largest advance we’ve ever paid, and the largest Indian deal.”
However, the above mentioned figure could well shoot up to a few more million dollars if the forthcoming book series is looked at from a worldwide angle.
As Amish’s agent Anuj Bahri of Red Ink Literary Agency puts it, “Amish’s advance is only for the south-Asian rights, which means it could turn into a $4 million deal by the time we finish with film, foreign, and translation rights.”
Some publishers though believe it’s a gamble on an author who has delivered in the past but will have to account for twice the number of books sold to allow the publishing house to recover its dues. The Shiva Trilogy has gone on to notch a sales figure of over a million copies in the last two years, which translates to a gross retail sales of about $4.5 million. However, Westland has exuded confidence and is banking on an expanding market and the author’s star stature to arrive at a healthy profit margin.
“But the market is expanding and we don’t know the top end yet,” said Padmanabhan.