I think it bears noting that I am a very fortunate writer in a lot of ways — I’ve been lucky enough to cling to the side of this malfunctioning rodeo bull for ten years, and as yet it has not thrown me through the wall. And as such I’ve managed to write and have published like, a perhaps ludicrous number of books. Closing in on thirty or so at this point? I dunno. It’s wild.
And two of those books —
WANDERERS and THE BOOK OF ACCIDENTS —
— have earned out their advances.
For those not in publishing, the basic gist is this: you publish a book, you get paid an upfront advance of money, and sales of the book are “against” this advance — let’s just say there’s some kind of sinister BIBLIOMANCER CALCULUS at work here, but it’s not like the entire sale price of the book diminishes the advance by that amount. It’s wizard numbers based in part on how much we earn per each copy sold which is also delimited by format and — again, we’ll just handwave that as some kind of -mancy. But, if you manage to meet that advance in sales, you earn out.
Earning out means that the royalties made per sale actually go to you, the author, instead of chipping away at the advance. This means that big advances are cool, great, wonderful things, but it also makes it harder to reach the point where you earn out — difference between eating a chicken versus eating an elephant. Both are still one bite at a time, but you’re gonna diminish that chicken a whole lot faster.
Royalties can form part of the vital long tail of a book’s life — more specifically, too, of the author’s life. We get the initial advance, we get any foreign rights sales we can muster, any film/TV sales we can muster, any weird ancillary rights, and then, in a perfect world, we get royalties.
I’ve had some books earn out (my writing books, Invasive, Zer0es, Aftermath) and a bunch not (the Miriam Black books, my cornpunk books, my middle grade –though there, that book is still young in its lifecycle).
ANYWAY, again, to reiterate, both WANDERERS and THE BOOK OF ACCIDENTS have earned out, and this is particularly excellent because they had a pretty big hill to climb there, especially since they were part of the same deal and had to earn out together, like best friends on an adventure. They both make it or neither makes it, y’know? And they made it.
And they really only get to do that if you all are there to both read the books and tell everyone about the books, because that’s book love, baby. I love book love. It’s the true engine for what makes books find their readers. It reaches readers and it comes from readers, and it comes from librarians and booksellers (who are also readers). I’m lucky to have you. Also lucky to have such a stellar agent in Stacia and a vital editor in Tricia, and a publishing apparatus that is actually supporting these books, which is essential. (Seriously, a lot of factors go into a book’s success or failure, but one big one is how much the publisher cares to support the book. They can’t make a book magically succeed, but they can sure help it fail by starving it of their efforts.)
So, that’s the good news.
Though as the infomercials say —
First, today, serendipitously, The Book of Accidents is only $1.99 on the various e-book marketplaces, which is to say, Kobo, Apple, B&N, Amazon, and the like. Or you can always nab a physical copy — I can even sign and personalize! — through my local indie, Doylestown Bookshop.
Second, hey, The Book of Accidents was nominated for a British Fantasy Award — best horror, August Derleth Award, alongside truly talented writers like Stephen Graham Jones, Cassandra Khaw, Premee Mohamed, ST Gibson, and Catriona Ward. Like, it’s super cliche to say it’s an honor to be nominated, but with this crowd, it really is. Hell, it’d be an honor to lose to any one of them, because I’d still be a big ol’ happypants winner.
Let’s see, what else?
Ummm. I’m hearing some good rumblings from booksellers and early readers who are enjoying the Wanderers sequel, Wayward — comes out 11/15, pre-orderable now and I will also do signed/personalized copies through Doylestown Bookshop. Plus I’ll be doing a tour, I think? More details on that as I have ’em.
Oh, Wanderers also earned out in Germany! And I’m hearing maybe in Spain, France, too? Not sure, yet.
Still working on my Evil Apples book. I’m like, 130,000 words into it. Oops?
Doing copy-edits on my next writing book, Gentle Writing Advice.
And I think that’s it.
More when I know it.
HUGS AND KISSES
14 responses to “News Nukes From Orbit, It’s The Only Way To Be Sure”
Congrats and good luck. Not sure if you’re aware of the genius that is Jeff Maurer, of “I Might Be Wrong” substack + podcast fame, also a writer but of a type so distinct from what you’re slaving at that it makes one wonder about the definition of the word and leads me to believe that there really should be a richer fauna of descriptors for the industry. Anyway, you guys should be aware of each other’s existence, existentially.
Congratulations, sir! You royally deserve those royalties! (See what I did thrre? Okay, lame.) Looking forward to November!
I loved the Miriam Black books. So sad they did y earn out
Congratulations, Chuck! And here’s to the success of WANDERERS feeding into WAYWARD so that earns out quickly!
Did the Wayward thing through Doylestown. You are a compelling writer. So, does that mean that I will get to see how indecipherable your signature is?
Oh it’s total chickenscratch!
I am curious as to why you never speak about your excellent zombie apocalypse vampire books. They were the first things I read by you and I LOVE them. Did you lose the rights to them or something? Is that why they are never mentioned?
I never really had the rights to them. They’re work-for-hire and I get nothing for them, and it was a bad deal I probably shouldn’t have taken, so I’m not inclined to point people to that book, honestly.
Well that is a damn shame. I’m sorry you got screwed over. I really did enjoy them, and on the plus side, they got me to seek out your other books.
Okay. I haven’t really been in the mood for horror because it seems piling on with all that’s going on. But I went ahead & bought the ebook. Congratulations on selling out the advances.
From the perspective of one of your favorite apple growers….
I do believe evil apples deserve 200,000 words at least.
See, I knew I could count on you!
Ooh…I want to hear more about Gentle Writing Advice