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Can an advance be too big?

25 October 2004

'Everyone was throwing money at me. It was absurd. I was in a bar when I took the phone call saying it had been sold in America. But instead of doing a extravagant champagne-for-everyone, I thought: God. I'd seen a friend get a large advance. He thought that was it. It was going to be bitches by the pool in LA. But the fact was that his book didn't sell. At that point, nobody wants to touch you. I was going: is there any way we can tone this down? I didn't want them to pay a lot. I wanted them to pay enough. A rather worrying number of people assumed I would go off the rails. There was a period of six months where I'd walk into a room and there'd be this appraising quality. They'd be waiting for me to rip off the mask and reveal that I was Puff Daddy.'

Hari Kunzru on getting a big advance for his first book