Thursday, August 6, 2009

How Depressing!

Bad news, folks. Only 10% of books earn out their advances, which means the advance is all you’d get. All the royalties earned go toward paying down the advance. Sad, isn’t it?

Here’s a quote from agent Kristin Nelson: “--Don’t quit you day job until the back end royalties can pay for your daily living expenses without issue. Back end is the royalty money you earn once your advance has earned out. This does not include the advance you might earn for your next book because that’s an advanced that hasn’t earned out yet. And just an FYI, statistically speaking (and this is by no means exact), only about 10% of books actually earn out their advances. The good majority of them don’t. And here’s another interesting tidbit, if a book does earn out the advance, it can take 2 years or more before that happens. One of my authors just earned out (which is hugely exciting) but it took 4 years. Now you know why I emphasize back end royalties that pay your daily living expenses without an issue.”

You can read her posts here for part one and here for part two.

How does this make you feel? Frustrated? Challenged? Depressed?

22 comments:

  1. Those sorts of statistics used to depress and frustrate me, but I've decided I would write even if I never earn anything, so I just continue to plug away and hope for the best.

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  2. I'd read somewhere that 79% of all books published only sell 100 books. Period. If I were writing to make money, I'd shoot myself. But since I write because I love it and because I hope my writing can help others, I try not to pay attention to these statistics.
    Karen

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  3. I don't let it bother me. It would be nice to make lots of money from my books, but I've learned that that's unrealistic. My ultimate goal is to get published, not rich or famous. Just to know I've written something is good for me.

    I mean, it would be *nice* to get rich via my writing, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. *Shrug.*

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  4. First things first for me. Agent. Then worry ;)

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  5. I feel the whole gamut. But I think, more than anything, it makes me feel like I should keep going, like I could make it happen despite the odds.

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  6. I think it's a challenge. In today's world, if you want to keep publishing you really have to earn out. The publisher wants to make money. You want to make money. So, I would consider this a challenge.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

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  7. Meh, I can deal. It's a lower standard for those of us who only expect our writing to be supplementary income, not support-a-family-on-it income...

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  8. Gosh, I guess my primary goal is to be taken on by a traditional publisher I haven't dreamed of money yet lol!

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  9. Yeah, it's depressing, but it doesn't change anything. I would keep writing books anyway, I just have to. Hopefully one of us will be the next JK Rowling and break the statistic. Then we can all have a toast and whoever the lucky one is can buy the round! LOL.

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  10. I guess it depends on if you write for money or for the love of writing. Either way, publication is a validation in itself, yes?

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  11. I like what Sharla said--here's to hoping that we break the mold, beat the odds, accomplish amazing things. As for the statistic, is it really any worse than hearing that 90% of queries get rejected? I think it's just further proof that we have to be crazy to be writers. :]

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  12. Most of the published authors I knew wrote for Harlequin/Silhouette and they almost always made money...although no, most authors I've known didn't make all that much of a living. It depends how prolific you are too. The authors I knew who could only put out one book a year never quite made it out of the poor house as far as I knew. But then I never wanted to get rich writing. I can retire at 53 and I'd just like to be able to supplement my retirement income (half of my salary for the rest of my life).

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  13. Those stats make me want to work even harder to become a better writer. We can all dream that we'll be the one to beat the odds, right. It only pushes us to try more!

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  14. That's interesting. I thought the number would be hire. It almost makes me realize that we have to work hard at marketing and not leave it all up to the publisher.

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  15. Actually, I wasn't surprised. I joke about quitting my day job, but knowing the chances of that happening are slim to none. After reading your post, I just amend my chances to none. Not that it will change anything. I'll keep writing.

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  16. ill just settle for an advance on something at this point :)

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  17. I'm planning on self-publishing. It's all about the writing.

    I wrote greeting card verses for years and didn't make a whole lot of money. But my work was published and out there for people to see and buy. The publishers made most of the profit.

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  18. I guess deep down I am not really holding my breath in regards to getting published. I am so new to the journey, I need to pay my dues and spend the time learning the craft. So, I don't dwell on the future and plug away with my what I have before me.

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  19. I'm glad to see most of us aren't letting this news get us down. We'll just have to work our butts off to make sure we're one of those who does do well in this business. We can do it!!!

    Lynnette Labelle

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  20. I write out of necessity. My necessity to stay sane by giving voice to the people living in my head.

    I write because I love it.

    I write because I must.

    If someone, someday will pay me anything for it, then yipee. But I don't worry about that. I just write. :)

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  21. Very sad. That kind of squashes some hope for us newbies. :O(

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