Here we are at the end of September, which means that we writers get our royalties statements (and money, one hopes).
Basically, the royalty statement arrives twice a year, calculated from January to June and July to December, but it takes 3 months or thereabouts before you get it, no matter who the publisher is. (How many of you would be happy if you were paid 3 months late…?)
A writer gets a statement, even if they have not earned out yet on a particular book, in which case the amount is expressed in a negative amount. “Earned out” means you have earned enough royalties to cover the amount of your advance. In other words, you don’t get anything after the advance payment – until you have earned out. Got that?
So over on Pub Rants a while back, the literary agent Kristin said about earning out (in USA, I assume):
…the statistics are rather grim when it comes to authors earning out their initial advances. …what I can safely say is this: the percentage of books that never earn out is high—over 50% of the books sold (and probably reality is more like 80%…)
So I suppose I should be really chuffed that of the 6 relevant books on my statement, 4 earned out some time back and are still selling. Two haven’t got there yet, but are also still selling. And that is one really fabulous thing about Harper Voyager Oz – they keep their authors’ books on the bookshelves in the bookstores, which is more than many publishers in many countries. The Aware, published in 2003, is therefore still earning me money…
The bad news is that I shall have to wait till end of March before I have the faintest clue how The Last Stormlord did at the till. Did putting it up free online for two weeks increase or decrease expected sales? Or did it have no affect? I have no idea. And what should I expect anyway? The only figures that I have to compare it with would be the sales figures for my other books.
So all you readers, if you liked it, tell someone, and come March, I’ll tell you how the sales went…in the end, you guys are the ones who determine whether a book does well – or not.