Thursday, April 23, 2009

In it for the money?

First, let me update you on the clan dinner last Saturday night. It was great. Everyone was dressed to the nines in their kilts and tartan sashes, and from what I was told, it was the largest attendance they'd ever had—57 people.

James Irvine Robertson, from the UK was on hand with his swarthy British accent and witty banter, as well as telling us all about his historical fiction. We met up with friends we haven't seen since last September at the NH Highland Games, and ate very well, indeed.

My talk was very fun. Of course I can't show you any of it since the memory chip in the camera didn't hold as much as it was supposed to so only part of my presentation was recorded. I had many terrific questions asked about my writing and my stories, as well as giving the audience a preview of Despite Them, a Gregor Macgregor adventure. Oh, and yes, I sold and signed some books!

Which leads me to the title of this blog. Many people think that since I have three books under my belt, I'm rolling in money. Ha!

Let's get down to some hard number facts. Royalties are from 10-15% of what the book sells for. For all those romance writers whose books sell for $8.98, they make a maximum of $1.34 per book. So unless your name is Nora Roberts, James Paterson or Stephen King you're busting butt to make any kind of living from your writing. Fact is, there are only a handful of authors who make a decent living from their craft.

Why, you ask? The market for fiction especially, is tough. There are a lot of fiction writers, which makes breaking into the genre difficult. Then to become a bestselling author takes many years and many, many books, if you can find a niche in the already crowded arena.

When you look at the numbers and figure out what it would take to make a decent living from them, it adds up to getting your books out there, meeting your public, writing really well, publishing a book a year—minimum—and writing about something people actually want to keep reading about.

So when people ask my husband how he feels about his wife being able to make such a fine living from her writing, he politely tells them, "She's got a long way to go before decent comes into play."

Thank God for Scot-ophiles!

I know it's over-romanticizing a place and its people, but for some reason Scotland has a grand following. At the clan dinner, I met a woman who was born is Scotland but now lives in Virginia. We talked about the "aching loins" romances that portray making love in the heather with a broad-chested, long, flowing-haired Highlander an item every woman should put on her Bucket List.

"Don't they know what heather feels like?" she asked in her soft Scottish brogue. "It's woody, prickly and peat bogs are filthy places!"

Kinda takes all the romance out of it, doesn't it?

Anyway, for now, I'll be keeping my day job and continuing to write on my days off. My agent is looking forward to receiving the Despite Them manuscript, which will be happening shortly. Then, it's waiting to find a publisher to print it.

There's no resting on my laurels just yet. 


Cat said...

Did you eat haggis?? LOL

Mary Duncan said...

Och, no, lass!

I can't seem to get past the knowing it's sheep's stomach and offal filling...

Makes one wonder how the dish ever came into being.

I ate chicken, drank chardonnay (the Scotch was too pricey), and had chocolate cake for desert. Traditional American.

VP said...

As one who attended the clan dinner, you definitely overcame your dry mouth. People didn't want to stop asking questions. You were a great addition to a great program. Thanks for being there.

Mary Duncan said...

Thanks for having me, Doug! I (we) really enjoyed ourselves.