Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More About Money--veinglory

What a writer makes is one of those 'how long is a piece of strong' questions. John Scalzi made $164,000, Jim C Hines made $16,000 and I made... $5000. I was feeling a little underwhelmed by my year-end profit until I read that the median advance for mainstream novels is currently running at, you guessed it, $5000 to $6000 on average. Sure, some make a hell of a lot more but, um, I guess I did okay? I got paid about the same as for a mainstream first novel without getting involved with NY agents, contract lawyers or complicated accounting that pays out just a few times a year? I still think mainstream publishing is a great goal for those seeking it and a great acheivement for those that manage it--but based on the current figures... epublishing isn't looking too bad either.


  1. I made just about $1000 writing last year. Which is a substantial improvement over 2006, and the $40 I made in 2005.

    That's the proceeds from 14 short stories and half of 1 novel. A lot of publishers pay flat fee for short stories.

  2. Anyone else out there declaring their end-year total royalties? Confessions? Links?

  3. I made a little over 2700 with one novel, two novellas and a bite-sized piece. With more stories in 2008, I hope to one day be able to afford to attend a convention. But seriously, the back catalogue helps and the bigger it is the better. Here's to 2008's new projects.

  4. I won't name the dollar amount but so far this year, I've already made 3x what I made last year. I don't know if that's saying a lot because last year was rather paltry, but that is still a significant and encouraging increase, and I hope the exponential trend continues!

  5. Last year: 2 longer novella, and one supershort, combined with residuals from 1 novella, one fling grossed just a little more than Emily.

    The backlist is beginning to make a difference yay!

  6. $8k, with two novels, one novelette, and a backlist of 10 other titles. Also one short story sold to a treeware anthology. (Another novelette was released in December, but on the last day of the royalty accounting cycle, so effectively is in 2008 figures.)

    One of the novels by accident happened to hit some of last year's hot-selling trends. Dolphin Dreams is m/m/m menage, shapeshifter, and D/s. (And dolphins are Cute.) That one hit the RWA PAN minimum of $1k in its first monthly royalty statement, and probably in its first week on sale.

    The other one, Lord and Master was sold as yaoi, which was another of last year's hot trends. I suspect the title may have also attracted the D/s fans, although there's no overt D/s in it (subtext is another matter). That one made PAN in its second royalty statement.

    I'd make more money writing for the print market. But I'd have to write to their length requirements, and in spite of having popped out two novels last year, I seem to be most comfortable at long novella length.

  7. Anonymous8:35 AM

    That's fairly good money, Emily. And e-pubbing isn't too shabby, considering.....

    For instance, I have a friend who spent nearly 2 full years writing an epic historical. She then shopped it to agents, which took about another full year. The agent, in turn, took another year shopping it to NY Publishers, and she got a contract! Then she received several thousand dollars for an advance, waited another 2 years (!!!) for the book to come out, and after one lousy month, the book got pulled from the shelves and she didn't quite break even. All those years for a piddling month on the shelf! It's crazy!

    At least with e-pubbing, the book is available for (potentially, if the company is solid) years and years and years on the shelf and an author can make money on material they wrote a decade earlier instead of hoping to sell thousands of copies within a brief month before it disappears and becomes NY history. LOL

    Also, most e-pubbed authors are making much more money than NY pubbed authors...just go to an RWA convention and see all the NY authors who haven't been able to sell a title in years (Harlequin authors spring to mind), while their e-pubbed counterparts are receiving steady royalty paychecks and getting published continually.

    Yes, there's something very positive when it comes to the money and longevity aspects of the e-pub industry as opposed NY. I'd much rather have the steady income and the ability to sell new material any day instead of working for years in order to have a book spend a full month on the shelf at the brick & mortar stores :)

  8. I began in self-publishing, and this past year was my first working with several e-publishers (Aspen Mountain, Amber Quill, Torquere Press). Without considering the anthologies I sold to (which paid a flat fee), I saw a huge increase in my sales. I released several short stories, a few novellas, and one paperback last year, and gross just shy of $7k.

    Now if I can just figure out how to increase that to, say, $40k, I can quit the day job and write full time.

    Here's to an even better year in '08!

  9. One quickie release on Dec 21, 2007 (so only 10 days of sales in 2007) and I almost reached PAN.

  10. "Also, most e-pubbed authors are making much more money than NY pubbed authors"

    That shouldn't surprise me as much as it did. Wow.

  11. This really does make me feel better about my little royalty checks from my ebooks. That and reading a blog of a author who started in print and mentioned she is "getting into" ebooks.

  12. Since I started writing for the bigger epubs, yes, my royalties are a lot healthier than they used to be. Around the levels quoted here, but I really need to aggregate my dollar accounts and reckon it all up.
    I thought I was doing okay at Triskelion, but I was definitely wrong there.
    I'm not in any hurry to attract a big publisher, if they come, they come.