This was an eventful year for me, writing wise. Star Wars: Crosscurrent hit shelves in January and was well received, hitting the NY Times Mass Market Bestseller list at No. 10. In June, The Erevis Cale Trilogy was released and it has sold many times the expected number of copies (assuming the beancounter I discussed this with was not lowballing sales expectations to me; thanks to all of you for helping me make that beancounter cry).
Also, I wrapped up work on my next two Star Wars novels, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived and Star Wars: Riptide, signed with Del Rey to do another two books in the Star Wars line, and got the whole “you got your chocolate in my peanut butter thing” resolved with Wizards of the Coast, which made The Cycle of Night (continuing the Erevis Cale and Drasek Riven story arcs) a go. Woot.
I also fired one agent and signed with a new one, all while trying to find a publisher for a supernatural thriller, a superhero novel, and a sword and sorcery novel. Alas, no luck on any of those fronts just yet, but I’m ever an optimist.
Now, before I get into actual numbers, let me say that I know this can be an awkward subject (perhaps doubly so in these hard economic times) and obviously there’s nothing that compels me to share this information. I do so for two reasons. First, I remember the very, very unrealistic financial expectations I had about writing when I first started out, and I think candid posts of this kind can prevent new and aspiring writers from getting the same kind of unwelcome shock I received (“That’s it?! I remember saying, when I saw my first royalty statement). Second, I think some financial transparency is helpful to published authors and other professionals in the business. Most writers prefer (or are obliged) to stay mum about financial matters and that’s perfectly fine. But there is a decided paucity of data points about writers and finances. Me, I’ve always been okay with a fair degree of candor when it comes to the subject of money though, due to contractual confidentiality provisions, I can speak only in generalities (i.e., I talk only about aggregate numbers, not advances, royalties, sales, etc. connected to particular books/publishers/lines). Still, I think that even general information is better than none. So, here goes.
Last year, my earnings from fiction totaled $66,999.09. Most of that was in the form of various advances, but royalties made up a decent chunk. I think that puts me in “mid-list writer” territory, though that territory’s borders are admittedly ill defined.
If you have a look at my previous posts on this subject, you’ll see that my writing earnings have been on a fairly steady upward trajectory (though the slope is not as steep as I might like :-)). Mostly that’s because my back list has stayed in print and continued to sell pretty well (and ebooks will help writers keep back lists active for decades, hopefully) and the size of my advances has increased.
The upshot: I couldn’t quit the day job even if I wanted to (I don’t), but writing professionally is still a pretty good (and damned fun) gig.
I guess that’s it. As always, questions and comments welcomed.