Posts Tagged ‘Royalties’

So it comes to an end, the year that is, with a new July-through-September royalty statement . . . though as readers may know, my practice is not to reveal either publishers or titles to avoid embarrassment on both sides. But this time there is one thing worth noting. As mentioned in my last royalty report (see December 10), publishers of anthologies — where what comes in is usually shared among multiple authors — will often hold onto minuscule payments until they surpass a specific total before sending them on. And the great thing this time, it actually came out above the bar.

So to close the the year out, a small amount has been added to my account at PayPal, enough perhaps to buy a nice lunch (if one isn’t too hungry). And that’s not a bad thing.

Two surprise royalty statements received/discovered yesterday were greater than the usual pittance the short story writer expects from anthology sales. That is, as one contributor out of a dozen or more (twenty-five, e.g., in the case of 25 GATES OF HELL featured just below), whatever the publisher got for the whole book will have been divided among many authors. Think of a single sardine, for example, dropped in the midst of a school of sharks. But there can be exceptions.

The first one wasn’t so much surprising as unexpected — publishers often will hold actually paying until one’s royalty reaches some semi-worthwhile amount, in some cases ten dollars. The royalty this time actually came to a few dollars more, but was for a large enough number of years I’d completely forgotten there might be one coming. However, it does mean that this was a book with staying power, still finding buyers in this case more than ten years after its initial publication.

As is my practice, for royalty matters I name neither the book/publisher nor the amount to avoid embarrassment on both sides, but the other one (which I discovered quite accidentally, due to PayPal’s long-standing policy of refusing to tell recipients when money is added to their accounts) was for a book published less than half a year ago(!), and is enough to actually pay for a decent dinner, including a cocktail or a glass of wine (though probably not both) if one were so inclined. And for an anthology this is rare, although realistically an early sales spurt will usually not be repeated. But still . . . well, maybe I should keep an eye out if that particular publisher puts out a call for a new anthology — at least if they’re still accepting reprints.

As is my custom, I am stating neither the publisher involved nor the exact amount of royalties received in order to avoid embarrassment on both sides.  Suffice to say the report I received yesterday afternoon referred to sums in the modest single digits.  But wait, there’s more — for reasons having to do with differently formatted reports from sellers, this had to do with royalties for a full year rather than just for a six-month period.  But there may be excuses.

That is, this one was for anthology stories for which, a whole royalty being split between perhaps twenty or so individual authors, are always going to be . . . well . . . underwhelming.  But moreover this is a small press publisher that has a strong presence at SF/F/H conventions and many of their sales come from direct (that is, through the “huckster room” and/or hand to hand after panels) transactions, but due to COVID-19 few conventions are “live” in 2020, so one may look for especially small returns for the next few reporting periods to come.  (sigh)

So, we write because we like to, yes?  Or, if maybe not really that much alone, still one must remember that every little bit counts.

So we know the drill, both the amount and the particular publisher are being held back to avoid embarrassment on both sides.  Suffice to say, this time, it wouldn’t pay for even a small dessert.  Well . . . maybe a really small one.  But the point isn’t that, the point is that even during pandemic lockdowns the life continues, and that’s a good thing!

This is a British thing that I don’t really know a lot about, but I understand from Editors Sarah Doyle and Allen Ashley that HUMANAGERIE (see March 18, et al.) is eligible for nomination for a Saboteur Award for Best Anthology of 2018, as well as Eibonvale Press for Most Innovative Publisher.  As Sarah puts it:  I know there have been some amazing anthologies out in the past year (in which some of you may have appeared), but if you wanted to vote for “Humanagerie” in the Best Anthology category (and/or wanted to share the link with friends/family or via social media), that would be very welcome.  But no worries if not, of course!  As I understand it, the awards are sponsored by SABOTAGE REVIEWS and supported by a “Grant for the Arts” from Arts Council England.

For more information on the awards (with last year’s winners) one can press here while, if so moved, to make nominations press here.

Also today marks the second royalty statement for this month, this for substantially more than the last, actually topping $1.00!  I won’t say by how much nor will I mention the publisher’s name, but in full disclosure, royalties received for short stories in anthologies (that is, sharing the take with all other authors) are generally not going to be very great.  Moreover this particular one is for a series of four books published more than ten years ago, which have continued to produce sales every year from the earliest, in 2001 — and indeed, added up especially in the earliest years, have paid totals which had they been paid all at once would be fairly impressive.  (Of course — even fuller disclosure — these are a particularly bright exception, most anthologies doing well perhaps in their first year, but not having nearly that much staying power).

It often will take a few months for a publisher to gather all royalty information together, especially if there are multiple vendors reporting — Amazon plus B and N plus perhaps the publisher’s own website, for instance.  And then there may be more than one book involved.  So, unsurprisingly, the statement received today is not for the third quarter but rather a six-month total for 2018’s first half, ending in June.  And, as has been my custom, the micro-amount logged into my ledger, I shall report neither amount nor publisher to avoid mutual embarrassment.

But wait, there is something that I can add, that it may not be as trivial as it sounds.  As it happens, the royalty covers four separate anthologies with a story in each, though only two had actual sales.  But these are anthologies that were published quite a few years before, which in their day provided half-yearly amounts in the $10.00 to $12.00 range each.  And these continued over periods of several years, adding up for each, if not riches exactly, what would have been reasonable one-time payments for each of four stories, and possibly more than that for some.  Remember these are royalties, too, that are shared among every writer with work in an anthology.

So, the moral, while today’s haul might be good, at best, for a down payment on lunch, the books and the publisher have done well enough in the past for me, and it’s actually a small delight that even a few are still interested enough to buy some copies, and that enough to provide the authors any royalties now at all.

I can probably say now with some assuredness that DIGITAL SCIENCE FICTION ANTHOLOGY (cf . April 2, March 27; July 29 2017) has not yet been published.  However, Managing Editor Michael A. Wills has released a preview of the cover so more should be ready for announcement soon.  Also today’s email adds that there will now be a total of 25 stories by 25 authors, the book will contain about 125,000 words and 400 pages, and be available in e-book, paperback, and “eventually” hardcover formats.

Then one more small item (in more ways than one), today brought the first royalty check for spring quarter.  As is my custom, neither amount nor publisher will be revealed, but I can say that this time the check was greater than the postage that sent it!

As posted just below there will not be a September “First Sunday Prose Readings” scheduled because the Bloomington Arts Fair, and with it the Writers Guild’s “Spoken Word Stage,” will be on that weekend.  And now a preliminary schedule has been released, with me slotted for a half hour of “horror fiction” at 3:30 Sunday, September 3.  The reading most likely will be from TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, probably the same program I offered at NASFiC last month (cf. July 13).  Then, as we already know from the post below, I will also be a featured reader when First Sunday Prose resumes on October 1, most likely again with a story-chapter from TOMBS, but a different one this time.

In other news, PayPal has apparently adopted a policy this year of refusing to tell people when they’ve received payments, one would like to presume for good purpose.  Keeping us on our toes, for instance, or maybe trying to discourage small businesses from reporting earnings to the IRS.  I’ve asked (well . . . complained to) PayPal about this for which they’ve responded thus far by not bothering to get back to me on it.  Be that as it may, today I’ve discovered — only four days late! — that another mammoth royalty payment has been received by me, of nearly a whopping three times as much as the amount the PayPal folk skimmed off for themselves (to cover, presumably, the cost of providing such services as not emailing me that I’d received it).

For how much?  From whom?  For what story and where?  Well, as is my custom, let’s let that be secret to prevent embarrassment on all sides, but this is for an anthology that’s been in print for a few years now, and for which the initial payment had been refreshingly substantial (well, for an individual story, shall we say in a highish two figures?).

And so in the late afternoon hours of Monday, I returned to the Computer Cave to find 2017’s first mid-year royalty check in my mailbox.*  Yep, stories still selling — in this case with sales enough to provide, say, a bag of chips to go with a burger not yet earned.  But others should come in the next few

“Cutting the Check”

days for the just-completed first half of the year, so who knows?  In any event we will most likely have to wait till next week before the check can go to the bank to start collecting interest, since the banks will be closed Tuesday, though for reasons having nothing to do with my mammoth financial windfall, but rather because tomorrow is Independence Day.  Happy Fourth of July!

*As is customary I am not saying exactly how much or who from, in that way to avoid embarrassment all around.

For Mardi Gras or, more to the point, this was a six-month royalty for the last half of 2016 and one pretty generous as these things go.  But — how to say it? — perhaps more than one thing has been disappointing about the nether partindexs of the past year.  As the editor/publisher herself put it (as is my custom, to avoid embarrassment on both sides the actual publisher/book[s] will remain anonymous), [w]e hope it rebounds in 2017, and are redoubling our promotional efforts to that end.  Unless you object, we will simply hold your royalty over through this royalty period in the hopes that it grows substantial enough to pay you at the end of the summer.  And fair enough, say I.  Actually this one would buy a small meal at a discount restaurant, but why not let it slide for now and maybe, by Labor Day, have enough for dessert as well!

Laissez les bon temps rouler, eh?

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