Millionaire Indian author Vikram Seth can expect to gross a minimum of US $3 million in advance royalties for his latest proposed book before he has even put pen to paper.
Seth's most successful novel to date, A Suitable Boy, sold a million copies in hardback and earned the author "bucketloads" of money, according to publishing sources in London.
They describe Seth as "brainy, astute" and "a delightful human being" who is thoroughly deserving of the financial rewards for his literary efforts.
The Doon School graduate went to Oxford and Stanford universities before opting for a full-time writing career.
Speculation about how much he can expect to earn in advance royalties for his next project has reached fever pitch because of the impending Frankfurt Book Fair where publishers compete with one another for the best deals.
In London last month, Seth clinched a £1.4 million [approximately US $2.2 million] deal with Little Brown, a subsidiary of Time Warner, for his intended Two Lives memoir dedicated to the Indian uncle and German aunt who looked after him during his schooldays in the United Kingdom.
The manuscript is not due to be handed in until 2005.
Seth's British literary agent, Giles Gordon, who boasts of how "very few authors sell the quantities Vikram does", explained that the Little Brown deal applies only to his client's UK rights.
Negotiations have been in progress for separate US, Indian and Australian publishing rights, not to mention other languages such as German and Japanese.
Gordon told rediff.com how there was a bidding war for Seth's next intended work. At one point there were nine publishers competing for the exclusive UK rights. In the end Seth himself opted for Little Brown, which also happened to be the highest bidder.