Monday, October 8, 2012

Feeling Royal

So I passed one of those author milestones this weekend and it was pretty exciting, so I thought I'd share it with all of YOU because you helped make this a good one!

I Got My First Royalty Statement!

I know, right?

The Deal

Apparently these come twice a year. The statement periods run Jan 1 – Jun 30 and Jul 1 – Dec 31. But the statements come a few months LATER (notice it is currently October and I just now received my statement ending June 30.)

More of the Deal

Sales are a little bit of a moving target. This is largely because BOOKSTORES are allowed to return stock they don't sell, so oodles (to be specific) of books can ship to stores, but if the stores don't sell them, then they can ship them BACK. I doubted this was THAT common, but one of my bookseller friends assures me it is—that every month they receive books at the beginning and if they don't sell a single one, they ship them back at the end. They have limited shelf space and don't have to use it for books that don't sell.

Alrightythen... a little terrifying, but what that means for me is this: They 'sold' a certain number, but reserve funds that look like they are assuming almost HALF might be returned. Hopefully NOT, but that is easier for them than trying to get the money back from ME if they pay me and it turns out they shouldn't have.

The NEWS (meaning ME)

I SOLD THROUGH!!!! This is amazing in several ways. [definition:  selling through is the point at which you've sold enough books to earn the advance you were already given... so to the publisher, it is their break even on the author end. It also serves as a sort of marker as to whether you have met expectations]

1) Ellen (my fabulous agent) assures me debut authors don't usually do this by their first statement because of both being new AND the holdback for returns. Follow me here on this wonky math... if they hold back for HALF (or nearly) and I sold THROUGH, that means I sold DOUBLE what I needed to sell through if in fact there are not many returns.

2) This is the huge part... The Azalea Assault released June 5th and it accomplished this by June 30. In one month DOUBLE selling through had shipped, so they allowed I'd sold through already...

Now I am no Elizabeth Spann Craig—her first Memphis Barbeque book sold through in pre-orders. But I am feeling pretty darned pleased with this.

I also am pretty sure there haven't been a bunch of returns since. At the end of July I talked to my editor and of the 20,500 units printed, 18,200 had shipped which is MORE than the end of June statement. And at that point she said I'd been on the best seller list for mass market mystery for 9 weeks straight. I BELIEVE that means I wasn't just SHIPPING, but SELLING as the biggest purchaser was Barnes & Noble and THEY are the place providing the best seller list we are working from. (I think--it's a little confusing, but the original bestseller title was from them)

Now there has been no word on reprint, so I think we are still working with that 20,500 number for books floating out there, but I think it's doing pretty well.

And I believe I have TWO things to thank, primarily...

My friend Katy with a tower in Missouri
The Summer Read Book Tower and Gorgeous Cover Combo (these together are ONE thing)

Visibility. Man-oh-man. If you went into a Barnes & Noble this summer and ventured into the mystery section, there I was, along with several of my friends, which is fun. But I KNOW that face view stands out and when a cover looks like mine... Totally hits my target readers! Hopefully my friend Katy doesn't mind being flashed here. I had tons of friends send me pics of them with my book, but this was the one that best shows the tower—there next to Elizabeth!

But the HUGE thing is all of YOU!!!

Thank you so much for helping me spread the word! For buying, telling your friends. It didn't really hit me until I was at that event last week that my BLOG network really had propelled me to VISIBLE before I ever had my book out there and that that MATTERED. “Hey, I know you—you're the Watery Tart!” My first response was to blush, but none of the other well established authors I sat with had anyone say 'I love your blog!' I mean sure... with THEM they could (and did) say “I love your books” but this investment is worth it. I promise.


Jessica Bell said...

That is SUCH amazing news. So happy for you, Hart! :-)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Fantastic! And...yay for royalties! (Haven't gotten my statement for the June book yet...but got mine for the Memphis ones.)

You know, from what I hear (and I'm always very vague on the business end), it's MUCH better to sell through after the book hits the shelves and not in pre-orders. Apparently, the pre-orders don't count on bestseller lists? Something like that. So I've definitely pushed less for pre-orders through the years!

Now we just have to wait for the check. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations, Hart!! That's a lot of books sold in just one month. (Sorry I didn't contribute to that total - I purchased the eBook.)

Siv Maria said...

Really great news! Congrats, you really diserve it!

Cruella Collett said...

Excellent, Tami! SO proud of you :D

Teresa Coltrin@Journaling Woman said...

Isn't that the greatest? I learned a lot about the selling process (in the store) just now.

Now let's talk about a loan? No?


Tina said...

Congrats, Tarty-Hart! Glad to be of help. I love bookstores and everywhere I went I asked for it "because my fiend wrote it and I want to take a picture of it on the shelf." I'd already bought and read it and passed it along to Best at this point. I think you're cover is a huge asset - I buy eBooks. I love my kindle almost as much as my iPhone, but when I saw your cover, I knew I had to buy the physical copy.
You're right, that had it on towers just like in your pictures, and all the clerks (this was in my town, in Denver, in Waco, and in Seattle - it was a big travel summer) knew right away what book I was talking about.
I'm so happy for you!
Tina @ Life is Good

L.G.Smith said...

Wow, that really is big news. Definitely be proud of that. And now all the rest is gravy...that you can pour over cabana boy. :))


Old Kitty said...

Your Majesty!! You are truly NAKED!!

Such great news!! Yyyayayayayyayayy!! Take care

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

I am so impressed. I think this is a great example of how all of the marketing (including your blog and FB) AND the book itself created a perfect storm. Wasn't it just last week you were wondering why things were taking so long ... they actually weren't, but you didn't know that yet.

Congratulations, Hart!

Kathy M.

RaShelle Workman said...

Congrats!!!! Awesome news. I know selling through is a BIG deal. You should be sooooo proud of yourself. Doing a happy dance for you. =)

David P. King said...

This is great information. I learned a lot just now. Thanks, Hart, and thanks for joining my blog. I gave you a Shout-Out today. :)

Marjorie said...

That's so great! It really is a wonderful book. Soak it in. You should be really proud of yourself.

Johanna Garth said...

So happy for you!! Can't wait to see pics of you parading around in the royalty purchased royal crown!!

Joe Bauer said...

Congrats! Well done!!

Mel Chesley said...

Woohooooo!!! Congrats to you, that is awesome news! Definitely be proud of this accomplishment. :)

Tundiel said...

Yay! *high fives Tami* I knew you'd do it...and I'm so proud of you!! *supersquishyhugs*

Stephen Tremp said...

Its great to receive that first royalty check. I gave up on bookstores when Borders went BK and then B&N stopped carrying my book (after decent sales too).

Best wishes to you moving forward!

Alison DeLuca said...

Fantastic accomplishments, and well deserved! I am so very happy for you, my dear!

And I must agree - that cover stands right out on the display. It's so goooorgeous. Plus, the book is damn good, as well.

HURRAY! *releases virtual balloons that don't harm sea turtles*

Jeremy Bates said...

Awesome job! Coolio. Fantabulistic.

That makes it more likely that your pub house (not the one you swill beer at) will re-up you for another.

Celebrate...then get back to writing.


Natasha said...

Read this late, very, very late. But YIPEEEEEEE!!!
And I was one of the first to read it!