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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

More John Scalzi on earning-out advances, and the pitfalls thereof, over at the Whatever.

John's experience jibes very well with mine, although--being in paperback--I'm in a slightly different place in terms of selling through my advance. Which is to say, based on the limited information at my disposal (get back to me in September; I'll have some real news for you then) Hammered is doing pretty well for a first novel. Quite possibly, better overseas than in America, which isn't entirely unexpected--I've heard from various sources (emails from booksellers and friends, mostly) that it's been on bestseller lists at SF bookstores in the UK, Australia, Canada, and, um, Minneapolis. Which might, in fact, qualify as another country--although all of the wenches I know in the twin cities are in at least moderately good health, last I checked.

I know the book went to a second printing, based on pre-orders. I know I have to sell around 15,000 copies to sell through my advance, which amounts to a little bit less than 50% of what's in print.

On the other hand, I also know that it's a trilogy, and each book is going to sell fewer copies than the last. So... a third printing wouldn't hurt. (Me? Greedy? Um. Yes.)

50% sellthrough on a mass market paperback is pretty good. And pre-orders were good; the books are out there. So now it's just a waiting game, seeing if the readers find it, and like it, and tell their friends about it--and seeing if Spectra is going to pick up my next book.

And it's more or less out of my control. All I can do is write the best books I can figure out how to write, and get the hell out of the way. It can be a bit nervewracking, especially if you're a bit of a control freak.

You just sort of put your fate firmly in the hands of the higher power of your choice and go work on the next thing. And then the next thing. And then the one after that.

Which reminds me, gotta get another fifty pages or so on that CEM today. And do some more critting. And maybe see if the Tindalosi New Yorker story is ripe yet....

And reread Blood & Iron and The Stratford Man before I start work on Whiskey & Water. Hmm. Maybe if I stall long enough, I'll sell the first one, and l'agent will get back to me with notes on the second, and I'll have to reread them/refresh myself on them/rewrite them.

That would be convenient....

Comments

I really, really need to get the "Annex Minnesota" icon made with the little maple leaves all over. If not the buttons.
BTW, I will (hopefully) be in town the first week of July. Are you and your lovely men available for, yanno, something?
My mother will probably insist on meeting you. She adored Hammered.
I'd love to!
We sometimes have used markgritter's vacation time to see family around the Fourth, but we're almost sure to be around and able to see you for some portion of when you're in town. Let us know the dates when you know them, and we'll plan on it.
It sounds like a plan!
muscles in on the Minneapolis fest

Coming for Convergence, by any chance?

A little too media oriented for me, I'm afraid....
15,000 to earn out the advance? Is that for all three books, or just Hammered?
Just Hammered.

I have to sell about 20,000 of each of the other two, because I have, thank God, separate accounting. *g*

*puts on best what-me-worry face*
*eep!*

*buys Mom a copy of Hammered for birthday*
*dies laughing*

You are a true and loving friend. *g*
On the other hand, I also know that it's a trilogy, and each book is going to sell fewer copies than the last.

Interesting. For some reason, I wouldn't have guessed this. I actually thought it'd move the other way.
alas.
But when the other books come out, won't they drive additional purchases of Hammered?
People who don't buy book one in a trilogy generally don't buy book two.

Sometimes people wait and buy all three at once--at the end--but that's still not more copies of book two than book one.
I was thinking more that people see it first as a new book, then it loses attention. But when the next book comes out, people who didn't notice the book the first time will have another opportunity to notice it.
Oh, sure.

But you're still selling more copies of book one than book two or three. *g*
Very few people will buy book 2 without buying book 1, but there will always be those who buy book 1 and do not (due to rampant insanity in this case) buy book 2.
Heee.

I am short sttention span lass, so I tend to assume my readers are, too. *g*
I am so glad that the second book is coming out in July and not a year later because I need to know the rest of the story!
I'm *really* happy Spectra gave me an every-six-months interval. Couldn't be happier, really.
Well, I've been pushing Hammered on all my non-writer friends (my writer friends already know to read it). I have friends who mostly read Big Fantasy Trilogies, but I keep pointing them at the short story about Jenny you posted (here the first one's free). It seems like shortly afterward I'll find a copy of Hammered in their homes. Glad I could help put you on the Minnesota best seller list!
Friends who pimp friends are the best friends. *g*
There's something that's just not jiving here. Scalzi writes: Basically, Lipsyte probably got hosed because his publishers spent too much money for a book that was deeply unlikely to earn out its advance.

But I'm not sure I buy that. Sure, stuff like that will always happen when there's a derth of working crystal balls, but publishers know the business. They don't just pull advance figures out of their butts. (Or do they?) Lipsyte's publisher, for whatever reason, must have believed the book warranted such an advance.

Turns out, it hit the stands on September 11, 2001. Very little book-buying happened that day. I wonder if, rather than being the victim of a thoughtless over-enthusiastic advance, his timing just sucked. It would be interesting to take a look at sales figures for all the books released that day.

Point still remains, though: Getting a phat advance isn't always a good thing.

By the way, thx so much for posting this stuff, Bear. I love reading about your journey. Keep 'em up!
*nod*

I mean, someday I'd like to be making those high five-digit advances--and earning them out--but really, I am willing to wait.

Royalty checks are money too, after all.