Some celebrity books make millions. Other examples are more like that of Sarah Silverman who supposedly got $2 million for The Bedwetter, and which the Daily Beast says Bookscan shows only selling 34,000 copies. Even if Bookscan misses half the market (and it’s supposedly actually captures 70 percent), then that would mean Silverman’s book has only earned a little over $175,000. It doesn’t seem possible the publisher will ever recoup the rest.
So why publish books by people who are famous for things other than writing? Daily Beast also says, ““Celebrity book deals are the closest thing the publishing industry has to a sure bet,” says Jason Boog, the editor of the publishing blog GalleyCat. Adds Ron Hogan, the former director of strategy at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, “This is the way business is done now. It’s kind of like an addiction: Publishers keep putting all their chips on these books and for every dozen hands they don’t win, there’s one that works well enough for everyone to believe in the process.””
Read more here, with lots of good links.