I Got My First Royalty Statement!
I know, right?
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.
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|
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.