Sunday, 6 October 2013

Royalties: The Glamorous Life of a Writer

I admit it, one of my favourite aspects of being a writer is the concept of royalties, that little bit of the contract that says I will continued to be paid for the sales of my books for the rest of my life. Eventually, I’ll be able to just kick-back and let the money roll in. Right?

Well, this week, I got my royalty statements from Osprey publishing, who hold the rights to all of my royalty-earning books. Here’s how they look:

The American Civil War Quiz Book

As it turned out, this book did not sell well. It certainly didn’t sell anywhere near as well as The Military History Quiz Book, which unfortunately I do not earn royalties on. So, according to my statement, my royalties for The American Civil War Quiz Book are -£655.08. That is to say my royalty earnings for that book are still that far below the amount I was given as an advance. That’s actually a £41 improvement over the previous statement, but considering the book has now been out for several years and probably sold the vast majority of copies that it will ever sell, I don’t think I’ll be including future payments from this book in my long-term financial strategy...

Zombies: A Hunter’s Guide

This is the original version of the book and not the newly released hardback edition. I won’t see any royalties on the new addition until the next royalty payment six-months from now. Anyway, on this book my total earns were 
-£6.26. Actually, this book has sold really well. At one point, this book had earned out its advance, and I actually earned about £15 for it on my last statement; however, since then, there have been some returns. So, despite selling a few copies and sales of the ebook, I’m in the red on this one as well. With the new edition out, this older one isn’t likely to sell too much, but some day, it might creep back over £0.

Dragonslayers: From Beowulf to St. George

My latest book netted me -£406.58. Sigh. Now, on the plus side, this book only had about three months of sales in the royalty period, so there is still hope for the future, but not a huge amount really. 

And there you have it, a big lot of negative. Now, just to make clear, I don’t actually owe anyone any money. The advances I was given for writing the books are not refundable. However, those advances do have to earn-out before I see another penny.

There is still hope. I was not paid an advance for the new addition of Zombies, so royalty earnings for that volume will start at £0. 

Something to look forward to anyway.

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