Surprise, $60K, & steady as she goes

It’s hot. My house is hot, my yard is hot, my pets are hot. I know some states are far hotter, steamier or dryer than mine, and my heart goes out to them for the misery I know they feel right now. As for me, I’m uncomfortable and uncomfortable does much to quell the creative process. Forget actual writing progress today. I think adults are too grounded to escape the heat. We’re too aware of reality to miss high humidity, too cognizant of our immediate comfort to miss the fact we’re sweating profusely and our clothing feels like a sauna suit.

I don’t remember the summers being this hot when I was a child. I can picture my much younger self – the only little redheaded girl on the block getting sunburned day after day after day in the days before sunscreen. My skin is a veritable carcinoma time bomb from all those regular blistering sunburns. Thinking on that now, I’ll bet this is where my high pain tolerance comes from! Hmm.

Like I said, I don’t remember summer being hot in the sense I feel it in today.  I do remember the sidewalk being so hot in the city you had to leap from shady spot to shady spot if you were barefooted. I remember too the grass on sidewalk’s edge had a warm humid quality that barely made a difference to comfort. I also remember tar bubbles coming out of the asphalt and how daring it was to run quickly to the street, scrape a blob with a stick before you were seen and some protective adult yelled, “Hey kids, get out of the street!” The hazard was well worth it. We could entertain ourselves for a good long while with a blob of tar and some twigs (think Tinker Toys with tar instead of wheels) I recall I once left a single crayon on the porch and returned later to find the paper tube of its wrapper sitting in a puddle of grainy magenta wax. That was my favorite crayon too. No use salvaging, the pigment had separated out from the paraffin into a grainy mess that seeped a permanent stain into the wood of the porch and got me a scolding for not picking up after myself.

LOL It’s been too hot to pick up after myself and everyone else around here lately. I’m sitting in my air conditioned bedroom cramped on the only available space on my husband’s desk, taking care of author things like my posts and my blog. Below the effect of a house full of people for the weekend waits for me to tie my hair up and tackle it. Blah, I’d rather be working on my latest work in progress but my brain is too hot! The words trickle out of me rather than flow. It’s kind of frustrating actually.

With this crazy heat wave comes a regular mass of unstable air. Recall I mentioned how my electricity was off for five days after storms raged through my area downing trees and power lines. The other night a lightning storm so wild, you’d swear a thousand paparazzi were flashing their cameras.  It made for a very sleepless night. There’s just something about natures potential for violent destruction that makes one a basket of frayed nerves. I haven’t been so unnerved since my family was trapped under a cell of tornadoes for a fret-filled five hours in a small Wisconsin town years ago . Anyone who says this violent weather is not a consequence of global warming, or worse, that global warming is a lie, is foolish. It’s not all about exhaust from cars, thermal mass from cities, or methane from cows. Sure, each adds to the problem. When man messes with the planet’s regulating systems through deforestation or water pollution, something is bound to happen. And it won’t be good.

Not much new besides heat and ungodly storms. I did receive my first full royalties payment from my publisher and the small amount nearly knocked me out of my chair. I went to my author’s group to ask if this is normal and they told me the 3rd party sales – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc come a full quarter later. Whew. I feel better now. That skimpy notice was for sales on the publisher’s site. I know I’ve done good at Amazon because I’ve watched the number of books they have for sale go up and down all week long and have consistently since mid-May.

The other group, the main author’s group for my publisher, is populated by a lot of first time authors like me. The past few days there have been quite a few posts wondering about the small sales. It’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one confused by the dinky royalty notice. Especially since this came to everyone last week:

Siren-BookStrand’s past 12-month gross revenues were over $5 million for our own published titles sold worldwide. Congratulations to over two dozen Siren-BookStrand authors who will receive a 5-figure royalty payment to be paid out on July 30th. Out of these authors, half a dozen will receive a royalty payment between $20K and $39.9K, and another half a dozen will receive a royalty payment between $40K and $60K.

Wow. I’d do cartwheels and backflips all the way to Nova Scotia if my books had that kind of payout. I went looking at the works by the few authors I know of who’ve hit the big time so hard. I do believe Siren has found a niche market in their works. The authors I know of in that big $$ category write either gay cowboy romances like Brokeback Mountain, or ménage stories with one woman and multiple partners. There are twists to these stories though. Some cowboys are werewolves, some ménages are vampire or vice versa. Mix them up and you have werewolves at odds with, or loving, vampires. Research says there’s a market and I know could write these flights of fancy with one hand tied behind my back. Unfortunately, I have enough trouble fessing up to my kids over the things I write right now! I can’t even think what the response might be if I suddenly wrote gay-ménage-werewolf-vampire-cowboy stories. But after reading those figures, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted.

I mentioned before how lucky I was to fall into this smaller group of twenty writers. I absolutely love their steady perspective on things. Several wrote me back right away to explain the whole publisher royalty and 3rd person sales process. And that’s why I’m doing all this – to learn all I can before the MO (unnamed magnum opus) gets published.

The reason I’m sharing glimpses of (paraphrased) emails between us is I have dedicated my blog to learning. Should a new author or would be author, stumble upon my blog and learn from my experiences as written here, then that’s the point of keeping track of it all. Here are just a few comments received:

Honestly, this is a very competitive business.  If you’re only in it for the check, then your writing will suffer.  You have to love every minute of writing, and not do it for the money.  Love what you’re doing, whether anyone else does or not. Hang in there, girl, your book’s great, the money will pick up.

Don’t fret too much, my first check was very small, too.

It does take time to build your name and things improve later on, but you had also better do what you do for the love it, if you know what I mean.

It takes a while to become established and several books to begin to make a name for yourself. Hang in there. You’re not alone. Hermes Online is very well written. You’ve got good content and a good cover. Keep churning them out.

A novel is a product, not just a labor of love. There’s no magic path to selling books unless you’re some kind of celebrity. Even then, your name is selling the book.

Invaluable opinions all. Thanks ladies.  🙂

Yes, I write because I have stories in me itching to get out. I love writing I’m also trying to make money to buy a piece of land. Patience has never been one of my strong suits. All around me properties are up for sale. This wretched state of the economy might work in my favor by allowing me to be able to afford a small piece of land at a reasonable price. In other words opportunity is on the horizon. When my ship comes in, not only do I not want to be at the wrong port, I don’t want to be at the right port and not have enough cash to buy a ticket! So until the ship with a hull stuffed with $$ comes in, it’s steady as she goes.  🙂

About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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