Monday 3 November 2008

Keeping Track of Royalties

Keeping Track of Royalties
Am I just about the saddest person in the world?
I received a royalty cheque last week. It was a healthy three figures and came from an educational publisher for whom I have not worked for about three years, though I wrote for them steadily between 2001 and 2005. They were the second publisher to publish me. They started off as a small press and now are much better known. I’ve probably earned more from them than from any other publisher.
Of course, a nice thing about royalties is that they generally represent a payment for work that you did some time ago. It is particularly nice if you receive them in September, while you’re still on holiday. Your books earn for you while you are doing nothing. And every time you pick up a new royalty, the amount of money an individual work has earned for you goes up.
I actually keep a spreadsheet to show this. That’s what might be sad, in case you were wondering. It shows each individual book’s performance It’s a bit of cheat, because I don’t include books which are not being sold yet. So there are some hours of work which will never earn me anything. It’s great fun, though, to add in the new royalty payments and see the end figure wiz up. The downside is that it plunges when you add a new title in.
Well, I’m above minimum wage now and I earn almost as much per book hour as I do per teaching hour. I still haven’t beaten the 1,000 word article which took me one hour to write and which earned me £100. I have just a few titles which earn me below minimum wage and one is still earning less than £1.00 per hour. I have some real goodies that go to £60.00 + per hour, with most books coming in between £15.00 and £25.00 per hour.
Well, it may seem a strange thing to do, but it helps me to prove to myself that I am a writer.

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