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Ann the Downer

12 Dec 2008

Fellow Author: I got The Call!

Me:  OMG!  Congrats!  Deets, hon, deets.

FA:  [Publisher] for a two-book deal.  I’m typing up my resignation as we IM.

Me:  Wow!  Major deal?

FA:  Well…not quite.  Low five-figures.  Very low.  But I’m sure my royalties will at least double the advance.

Me:  Is the advance per book?  Or for both combined?

FA:  Both.

Me:  Hmm…

FA:  What?

Me:  The publishing industry’s…tenuous right now.  Authors are getting dropped left, right, and center.  And there are plenty of NY authors who have been in the biz for more than a decade making below the poverty line.

FA:  So…

Me:  You’re a single income with a mortgage.  Keeping the day job is probably smart.  Steady income, health and dental benefits…  Just sayin’.

FA:  But I won’t have time to write two full-length novels a year if I work!  And to be really competitive, I should be doing three a year.  I can’t succeed if I don’t concentrate on writing full-time.

Me:  Even if you sell out your advance with the first book, you won’t get any royalty checks until three to twelve months after the release date.  Can you live off the advance for almost two years?

FA:  I’ll still get the monthly royalties from my e-books.  I can get by if I cut back.

Me:  *shrug*  Up to you.  But you know I think “Do what you love and the money will come” is a total crock.  If it was true, every single author you and I know would be rolling in it.

FA:  You don’t plan on quitting your job?

Me:  Only if I get offered what the day job pays me…plus 25% to cover the extra cost of health and dental, pension, stock-matching, etc.

FA:  How much is that?

Me:  [My salary + 25%… (actually, I gave her the figure I was making two years ago because my income is between me and Revenue Canada)]

FA:  Oh.

Me:  That’s per annum and it’s guaranteed.  I don’t have to sell a minimum number of books for it.

FA:  So, you’re never quitting.

Me:  Not likely.  I have expensive sisters who are still in university.  In Calgary, tuition ain’t cheap.

FA:  😦

Me:  Hey, in twelve months I’ll be buying your book at Wal-Mart!

FA:  😦

Me:  And I’ll buy extra copies to give away as gifts?

FA:  How many?

Me:  Five?

FA:  🙂

6 Comments leave one →
  1. azteclady permalink
    12 Dec 2008 9:08 AM

    It’s not you, Ann, it’s reality.

    Which sucks bricks, no doubt about it.

  2. 12 Dec 2008 10:11 AM

    Good advice, Ann. I’ve heard 70% of books don’t earn out. If you don’t earn out, you can’t get royalties (in my experience), so counting on that money is never a good idea.

    On the other hand, I hear where your friend is coming from. Some sacrifices are worth it. My kids are in day care/preschool part time, for example, and I pay for that with a significant portion of my earnings. I consider it a career investment.

    Congrats to your friend! Sounds like a nice deal.

  3. Jane permalink
    12 Dec 2008 2:23 PM

    You’re a good friend, Ann. You’re just telling it like it is.


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