"My first book took me six years to write, and no publisher will give you an advance that will cover six years of living expenses.
"I had to finance all my research and travel expenses from my advance. I was always working part-time jobs and constantly trying to get my publisher to give me more money. The second book took 10 years to write and the third book took me eight, so winning the MacArthur was a godsend. I still had to scramble for money, but I wasn't scrambling nearly as bad."
Sad that such an accomplished author had to scramble for money. We read a lot about million-dollar advances and first-time authors hitting it big, but this is a reminder that the reality is much grimmer.