I once attended a $120 seminar given by a self-publishing guru who travels the country teaching people "how to get published." The whole point of her seminar was that it was impossible to get published by a mainstream press. Therefore, self-publishing was the only realistic option for would-be writers.During this seminar, she gave an explanation of what an "advance" was. It's not entirely clear to me how she knew about advances, since she had never been published outside of POD. Anyway, she made the statement that authors had to pay back advances if their books didn't earn them out. She claimed that Hilary Clinton had to write a huge check to her publisher becuase her book didn't earn back its advance. I tried to verify this story on the web, and found nothing.This is what I paid $120 for. And this was a seminar held at UNLV.That's why I'm glad blogs like this exist.
Advances do not have to be paid back if a book doesn't earn out.
Even if you are the Senator from New York (and her book sold nicely, thank you)
Even if you are a lying, agenda driven huckster selling seminars to would be authors.
You have to give back the money if you don't deliver a book (P.Diddy) or if the book is claptrap (Joan Collins went to trial over this and won).