Six Myths About Publishing

This is a post that’s been in my draft file for awhile, so I thought I’d set it free. I did do a quick rewrite–I’m not a complete sloth–but basically I’m hip-deep in Lavender right now, so I’m throwing this out to feed the blog. Feel free to disagree; I’m often wrong.

For some reason, I’ve been hearing all of these a lot in the last year, so in the interests of efficiency, I thought I’d put my refutations in one place.

1. Myth: Agents and editors are out to steal your work, so you have to be really careful.
Truth: Stealing ideas is notoriously difficult, unprofitable, and stupid, which is why nobody does it.

Writing fiction is hell even when you love the story. If you don’t love the story, if it’s something your agent or editor has suggested you write because it’s hot right now, it becomes a special kind of hell where you’re whoring yourself out for the dime and ignoring the story you need to write. Plus it makes no sense from a business point of view. This post by Moira Allen (ignore the egregious use of quotation marks; I know it’s like a fingernail down a blackboard, but she says really smart things [also thanks to Another Editor on the Cherry Forums for the link]) explains it in much more depth but essentially, nobody is going to steal your story. It’s a lot cheaper for editors to just buy it from you if you can write it well. Ideas are easy; good writing is hard.

2. Myth: Editors today don’t know a good book when they see one.
Truth: Editors today are just as smart if not smarter than editors in times past but they have a different mandate than back in the day when publishing was subsidized by rich guys: They have to buy books that will sell.

I was on a panel once with an author who was bitching because no editor would buy his VietNam novel even though they all told him it was good. He suspected a plot, but he should have known better: it was marketing. I’ve never met an editor who didn’t love good fiction, who didn’t want to publish good fiction, who wasn’t willing to go out on a limb for something she thought had a chance. But none of them were dumb enough to go out on a limb for something they thought didn’t have a chance because their jobs depend on them buying books that sell. In the VietNam guy’s case, the market at that time was flooded with VietNam books and they were all sinking like stones. It didn’t matter that his was well-written; if they published it, it was going to sink under the public perception that VietNam books weren’t interesting. It was awful for him, but not because editors were plotting against him. If you offer a book to an editor, you are taking that book to the marketplace, and if the marketplace doesn’t want it, she has to reject it.

3. Myth: Publishing your writing is a good way to make money.
Truth: You can make more money doing almost anything else.

Big numbers are bandied about all the time in publishing news, but they’re pretty much meaningless to the average published writer who is working a second job because the vast majority of writers do not make enough to support themselves. Don’t believe it? Look at the numbers.

Let’s say you’re an author who just got a $100,000 advance for a book. Very few writers get that, especially now, but let’s use that figure because it’s easy to do fractions with and I’m not a math whiz.

First you have to remember that you don’t get $100,000. You get $85,000 because your agent gets 15%, and if she got you a $100,000 advance, baby, she deserves it.

So now you have $85,000. No, you don’t. You need to take out national, state, and local taxes because nobody’s doing that for you. Figure about 30%, and now you have $59,500 in your hot little hand. Let’s say $60,000. And no you don’t.

You contract will stipulate that your advance pays out in sections. You’ll get about 10% when you sign the contract, another 30% when you turn in the book and it’s accepted, another 30% when the book is published in hardcover, and another 30% when it’s published in paperback. Sometimes the payments are dragged out even longer than that, but we’re not going to go there. So you’ll get four payments of $6,000, $18,000, $18,000, and $18,000. The key is when. Let’s say you sold a finished manuscript so right now in 2010, you’ll get $24,000 (signing and acceptance). It takes a year for a book to come out, so that’s it for this year. In 2011, you’ll get another $18,000 when the hardcover comes out, and in 2012, you’ll get another $18,000 when the paperback comes out. That’s not peanuts, but it’s also not high-roller numbers.

But, you say, you’ll write another book and get more money. From your mouth to God’s ear: more than 90% of writers only write one book. It’s called Second Book Syndrome and it’s real; that second book is a nightmare to write because you probably wrote the book of your heart on the first one. But you already know what you’re going to write next? Well, you have to sell it. SMP rejected my second book proposal even though we had a two-book deal. They wanted another book from me, just not that one. Earlier, Harlequin rejected two books after my first one even though they were already written.

But don’t you get royalties? Yes, you do. When your advance has earned out. Sometimes the publisher doesn’t print enough books: I still owe Bantam on The Cinderella Deal and Trust Me On This even though they had a 97% sell through because there weren’t enough books out there for me to earn out. Plus there’s something called Reserve Against Returns which means your publisher can hold onto those royalties for a very long time in case bookstores return their unsold copies. Do not count on royalties ever.

So there’s your income for three years, not counting the money you’ll spend on computers, paper and ink, postage, websites and whatever other promotion you do, and all the other expenses that accrue (babysitting while you try to meet a deadline, aspirin and antidepressants, therapy, divorce attorneys . . .).

Oh, and chances are overwhelming that you’re not going to get $100K for your first book. The average advance used to be about $5000, but that may be lower now since publishing was hit just as hard in the economic downturn as everybody else. The good news about $5000 is that you’re probably in paperback so only one pub payment and your taxes aren’t as high, maybe nothing, which means your payouts are probably $3000 this year and $2000 next year when the book is published, not that much waiting. The bad news is that you’re midlist, so you’re not going to get promotion and you’re going to have to spend more time and money on your own to get the word out, fighting your way up to lead title which can kill your soul and wreck your life.

Being a published writer is a terrible way to make money. I’m not saying don’t do it, I’m saying keep your day job. You’re going to need it for a long while (it took me ten years to be able to support myself with my writing and it’s still touch and go sometimes).

4. Myth: If your book is published in hardcover, it means it’s better than a paperback; that is, you write paperbacks until you get good enough to be published in hardcover.
Truth: Hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market paperback have different audiences. Your book will be put into the format where it will make the most money.

Paperback readers buy by genre: they browse mysteries and SF, romance and horror, and they buy a lot of books because they are (relatively) cheap. Hardcover readers buy a specific hardcover: They buy the book they have to have, the book that got the great review, the latest book by their favorite author, the book that everybody’s talking about. Paperback and hardcover readers can buy the same book, but they buy it for a different reason. Hardcover buyers may pick up a paperback in an airport because they’ve heard of it and they missed it the first time, paperback readers may buy a hardcover because it’s by a favorite author and they can’t wait for the paperback. (Ironically, it’s the paperback that’s probably the most important: many publishers consider the hardcover advance publicity for the paperback which is where the majority of sales will be.) But generally the different readerships buy for different reasons which means that putting a writer who writes books that would appeal to a paperback crowd into hardcover can kill or at least seriously wound her career. Alternately, a paperback author who becomes a big name often finds that her backlist is being reissued in hardcover: since her name is so recognizable, the hardcover audience will now buy her. It has nothing to do with how good a book is, and everything to do with how the different readerships buy. (Note: I have no idea how e-book readers buy, but my guess is they’re impulsive, self-indulgent, and addicted to convenience; that is, me.)

5. Myth: If a book is on the New York Time’s Bestseller List, it means it’s a success with lots of copies sold.
Truth: Bestseller lists are about velocity, not total number of copies sold. Lots of books on the lists have failed in the long run.

This one is self-evident once you really look at it. Bestseller lists are about how many books were sold that week; that is, bestseller lists are about velocity of sales not total number of sales. If Author A sells 50,000 copies the first week and Author B sell $10,000, A makes the list and B doesn’t (depending on who the other authors are that are vying for a place on this list). But then word gets out that A’s book isn’t really that good and the next week she only sells 10,000 copies, while the buzz starts on B’s book and she sells 10,000 again. After five weeks, A’s book is dead in the water, and B’s book is riding buzz and still selling 10,000 copies a week, still not enough to hit the list, but now outselling A. A year later, B’s book is still selling a hundred or so copies a week, and A is trying to sell her next manuscript to a publisher. Okay, that’s exaggerated on a lot of levels but it illustrates my point: The bestseller list only means anything for the week it surveys. It says nothing about the overall success of the book.

6. Myth: If your hardcover book shows up on the remainder table at Half Price books, it means you failed.
Truth: If your hardcover book shows up on the remainder table at Half Price books, it means it was published.

Publishers send the hardcovers that don’t sell to booksellers to be sold at deep discount. They’re basically dumping their hardcover stock to make way for the paperback. All published hardcover titles end up on the remainder pile. But isn’t that bad, shouldn’t the publisher have sold all the books? Nope. If the publisher sells all the books he’s printed, he’s screwed up. It means the bookstores ran out of copies, which means that some people came in wanting to buy the book and couldn’t find it, which means the publisher lost sales, which is bad. So how many books should a publisher sell? The rule of thumb used to be 70% of those printed (aka a 70% sell-through). The norm today appears to be 50%. Which means if your publisher prints 50,000 books and he’s done his math right, 25,000 of those books will end up on remainder tables. Congratulations, you’re a success!

There are a lot more myths out there–the only thing I know for sure about publishing is what William Goldman knows about moviemaking: “Nobody knows nothing”–but these are the ones I keep tripping over. Ignore them and write the best book you can. It’s the only thing you have control over in this business and at the end of the day, it’s the only thing that matters.

101 thoughts on “Six Myths About Publishing

    1. Krissie loves that one, too. It’s just wrong. His book later was remaindered, too. We all become the Remainders of the Day.

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    1. Oh, no, you can still quit. But you’ll be living on ramen and your credit cards for a couple of years. At least. Publishing money is sloooooooow.

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  1. Jenny, I’ve seen a few of your collaboration hardcovers in the clearance piles. Not many- two or three here, two or three there. They can’t be found there long, though, because I buy every copy I find and give them as gifts. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. The remainder table can be a great place to be. A reader who might not buy a full price hardcover and take a chance on a new-to-her writer might buy gamble five bucks on a remainder and love it. I’ve had that happen lots. I can’t think of the last time I went to a bookstore and *didn’t* buy something off the remainder table. If Stephen King, James Patterson and Nora Roberts can be remaindered then a new writer shouldn’t feel bad about winding up on the same table.

    I really hate the myth that hardcovers are better or more worthy than paperbacks. We seem to perpetuate that as a society, I’ve been a many a library that keeps their paperbacks in spinner racks and completely out of order and their hardcovers on the shelves. It’s like the idea that literary fiction is better than genre fiction. Yes, some genre fiction is poorly written crap but so is some of that pompous, self important blathering they call literature. A good book is a good book no matter the format or the story.

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    1. That’s happened to me a few times – indeed, I first discovered both Marian Keyes and, er, Jenny Crusie, because I took a punt on a $5 book

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      1. I totally agree. Waaaay back when I was a travelling sales rep I lived for remainder bins. Through these I found many authors I’ve grown to love and become obsessive about reading their latest work. As times and financial circumstances change, people are prepared to pre-order/buy their favs. Remainder bins definitely have their place. Plus, I’d rather see a book in someone’s hands, being read, than being pulped any day of the week.

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        1. My first Lani book came from the remainder table. I’d been tempted by the full price version for months, but I’d been burned by new-to-me authors before. I love the remainder table. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      2. I probably shouldn’t mention that the first Crusie book I bought cost a whole quarter.
        (Hey, some Harlequins that I’ve read weren’t worth that much, I really hesitated over the purchase.)

        Mind you, I ain’t tellin’ how much I paid for the Nameless book. When I find a good author, I buy their books regardless.

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    2. I too LOVE the remainder table. I’ll buy something on a chance, something I read and don’t own, something I think someone else should read, etc. I don’t think I ever forget to check the table.

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    3. My first Crusie was a hand-me-down from my mother (Fred’s book…. loved it to pieces.) but the second, I found on a remainder table at the news stand. Sizzle. Got if for a DOLLAR and I laughed all the way through it.

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  3. And thus says Jules Renard, “Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.”

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      1. Wholly Crumolli! That made me laugh. I never thought of it that way. I do I make stuff up. The unfortunate part is I find myself making things up at my day job too, and it’s not so appropriate there.

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  4. First of all, what I have to say has nothing to do with today’s post. Sorry. However, someone who read my own blog today, directed me to you, specifically your essay “A Writer Without a Publisher is Like… I have to say thank you to her and thank you to you. It was terribly profound for me after what I had just written this morning. Truth be told, I was close to tears as I read it. I really just want to write what I like and I like quite a bit, but I just don’t fit into the shape of hole that keeps getting shoved in my face. Maybe you’re right…lots and lots of ladybugs! (If you are a romantic movie buff, I have no doubt you will get the reference)

    P.S. I’ve been looking to purchase American Dreamer for a while now. Think I’ll order it from Amazon.

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  5. Nooooo. You just killed my back up plan. I was going to finish my novel, instantly get an enthusiastic agent and impressive publishing deal and then quit my job. Waaah. Now I have to go to work. You know, work, that place I got all those degrees so I could be. Drowning. In. Hopelessness.

    Okay, maybe I’m just a teensy bit dramatic cuz I had to get my husband up at 4AM today. Sleep deprivation makes me theatrical.

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    1. Look on the bright side. It worked for Barbara Novak. She knew that to get her man, all she had to do was go blonde and write an international bestseller . . .

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  6. Dang. There goes my brilliant plan to quit my soul sucking job and stay home writing the next Great American Novel while my babies romp like fat little sheep in a pasture of shag carpet and when it’s done and I’ve received my imminent seven figure advance I can rescue my hubbin from *his* soul sucking day job so he can herd the sheep whilst I toil in anguish on The Second Book.

    Is that hysterical laughter I hear?

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    1. Everybody needs a dream, baby. Go for it.
      Besides it does work for some people. I think Janet Evanovich just signed a four book deal for fifty million dollars. Even after you do the math, that’s pretty good.

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      1. But what are your thoughts on her books? I’m having a hard time getting into One for the Money, and that’s only the first one in the Plum series. You give thought out and intelligent reviews, so I would love your opinion.

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        1. you didn’t ask for my opinion but here i am… her books are funny, her narrator’s sassy, and ranger’s hawt. she writes good beach reads–nothing you’d take to your women’s studies class, but very likeable.

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          1. Thanks Lora. That’s what I thought about her Full series (except for the last one, which I didn’t care for at all). I just couldn’t decide if I should give the Plum’s another shot, or just wait for the movie, which apparently is in the works.

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          2. You didn’t ask for my two cents either, but I’ll throw ’em in anyway. One through twelve are good–they are funny and warm and the mysteries–if that is what you like–are not so simple you have them solved by the third chapter. Steph is trying hard to grow up and figure out who she is instead of what her parents and her community think she is. Or should be. She tries hard at a job she is completely unqualified to perform, often with hilarious results. Just thinking about the pack of dogs in four makes me laugh. The two men in her life are hot and oddly devoted to her, and in their own ways, they help Steph grow.

            In twelve Steph has an epiphany, and as a reader, I thought, “Hooray!” Sadly, after this Evanovich falls into thirteen year-old boy territory–lots of fart jokes and destruction of property. I agree with followingtheroad in that the books become repetitive to the point of eye-stab-worthiness. There is a pattern to the men that is aggravating, especially since Steph’s choice is already clear. With thirteen through fifteen the endings feel rushed; kind of like Evanovich realized she had dealt with the relationships, but hey–there’s still a bad guy to catch/crime to solve.

            Overall, her books are like chocolate chip cookies–nutritionally meh; they leave you with a good feeling, but you couldn’t live on them.

            And a recommendation, if that’s alright. Toni McGee Causey’s Bobby Faye Sumrall books…kind of like Stephanie Plum with a backbone.

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          3. From time to time I spend my idle thoughts composing an essay on the very good reasons why genre books belong in the college classroom. A lot of them, unsurprisingly, are the same reasons that children’s books belong in the classroom. The first, and probably foremost, reason is that people read genre fiction. They also read children’s books. I know it sounds revolutionary, but I think it might be– well– interesting, and maybe valuable, to take a look at the things people are– you know, reading.

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          4. I’m not a fan of the Plum series – for me, Stephanie is TSTL. Although Ranger is in fact hawt. But while I may not read her, I am very happy for Evanovich and any writer who can score in quite that way. They’re clearly touching a nerve (in a good way) with many, many people and so I say more power to them. While I wouldn’t scoff at a 50 mil 4 book deal, I really want my writing to have that same effect on those who read it – they can’t put it down and they want MORE!

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        2. I started One for the Money and liked it many years ago and then put it down for some reason and wandered off. When I realized we had the same editor, I decided it would be better if I didn’t read her, so I can’t give a review, I don’t know the books.

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          1. It always kinda shocks me when I see a recommendation like that, and then I sit here and grin stupidly and happily for hours. Thank you, Ami. ๐Ÿ™‚

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        3. I listened to the abridged audio version of One for the Money. Hated it. Haven’t bothered with the rest of the Plum series. – that’s my opinion

          Librarian me: Evanovich’s Plum series would be called soft-boiled mysteries along the line of the Alphabet series by Sue Grafton. The primary sleuth tends to have a reason for investigating like being a private eye but not a cop nor a sweet old lady. The old ladies tend to be in “cozy” mysteries. The sleuth can be injured and more violence is seen as part of the story instead of being off stage. Evanovich has also written other series and romances. I haven’t personally read any, but they may have a different tone and be more appealing. Sadly, I don’t have access to Novelist which is an awesome resource that many public libraries offer that has great “read-a-like” recommendations.

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          1. I’ve read lots of her books, but I hated the audiobook of One for the Money so much that I’ve never picked up another of the series. I couldn’t enjoy the comedy part of the book because the crime part was so vicious, plus I find the protagonist annoying beyond belief. I remember thinking that I wanted her to either write a dark crime novel or write a romantic comedy, but not try to do both at the same time.

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        4. I tried to start the Stephanie Plum series with book 2. I was on a beach vacation and it was loaned to me. I liked the grandma but for the rest of it, I kept thinking “some people think this is funny.” I didn’t so I gave up about 3 chapters into it.

          Writing “funny stuff” is hard – it doesn’t always hit every reader. I always think that Jenny’s books are funny because they’re never forced. I think Ms. E tries too hard.

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      2. People who allegedly know about these things (people I talked to at RWA National) said that it wasn’t for that much. And that the $40mm she was saying she made at St. Martins wasn’t that much either. Apparently everyone exaggerates. I’m quite disillusioned.

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          1. The earlier ones were the best. They flagged somewhere in the middle, becoming silly instead of funny, and I nearly gave up. The later ones improved enough to keep me interested. I suspect that may be as far as she can take the series. The problem is that we could accept Stephanie’s flaws early on, but as the series goes on she needs to grow up a bit or it all gets old. Unfortunately, a grown up Stephanie can’t go places the old Stephanie did without a lot of backsliding. So it’s a catch-22 situation.

            Still, they are fun, quick reads and many days that’s exactly what I need.

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          2. Book 8 was the beginning of the end for me. Something happened that was Very Important — it wasn’t written about, and then everything went back to the way it was before the Very Important thing happened and it REALLY irritated me.

            I liked the fact that it was somewhat predicable, but book 8 really made me feel very cheated. I tried to work up enthusiasm after that, but I finally dropped off altogether.

            However, I still have my copies. I think the first one was fabulous. I was actually pretty unnerved by the villian in that book.

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  7. “I still owe Bantam on The Cinderella Deal and Trust Me On This even though they had a 97% sell through because there werenโ€™t enough books out there for me to earn out.”

    Maybe I’m dense, but this confuses me. They didn’t print enough books for you to earn out on, so even if every copy sells you still owe them money? Seems to me that they’d want to print at least enough copies for you to break even and not make any more but not owe anything either. Is this a common occurrance for newish-to-publishing writers? Or even for seasoned ones? It sounds kind of shady to me.

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    1. It doesn’t work that way, and it isn’t shady. It’s not like they expect you to pay them back the advance if it doesn’t earn out.

      The advance is just that — an “advance against earnings” — you don’t get any more from the book until it’s made back the advance. They can make money without it earning out, and they can lose money even if it does earn out, publishing is weird. But the writer doesn’t get any more for that book until the advance is fully earned out.

      So say there’s a book called Cinderella and it came out in 2000 and the author got paid $10,000, and it didn’t earn out, indeed the author’s still into them for $5000. But the author’s doing well, so it gets reissued in 2010 — and every penny it makes, up to $5000, the author already got paid ten years ago, and it’s only when it breaks that magic figure that she gets any more.

      This really is confusing. This is one of the things we pay agents 15% to explain to us in little words. The first time I got a royalty statement — no money, just a statement — I could have cried. But the more you think about it the odder it is, because not only are we making things up for money but we only make it up once and get paid not for how good it is but for how many they can sell. It’s not like painting a picture, one picture, some money, goodbye — it’s one story, but you can sell it to lots of people over and over.

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      1. Exactly.
        The whole idea of an advance is to give the author the money she’ll make on the book up front, so in a perfect world, the author would never get royalties, the advance would be exactly the amount of money her royalties would add up to. Generally, they don’t hit it on the nose. Sometimes a book never earns out its advance and then the writer keeps the extra money (and probably gets a lower advance the next time). Sometimes a book earns out its advance and then keeps on going, and the writer cashes in on the back end.
        In the case of the two books I wrote for Loveswept, everybody knew the line was going under. My agent sold two books there so I could eat and got me a higher advance than most people got, but then Bantam printed the same number of books that everybody had (print run). If my advance had been the same as most of the others, I’d have earned out, but my agent was a shark–wonderful woman–and got me more.
        There’s nothing shady about the advance process at all. But a 97% sell-through makes you grit your teeth.

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  8. “I still owe Bantam on The Cinderella Deal and Trust Me On This even though they had a 97% sell through because there werenโ€™t enough books out there for me to earn out.”

    Maybe I’m dense, but I’m confused here. It sounds like you’re saying they didn’t even print enough copies for you to earn out, even if they’d sold 100% of the printed copies. Is that right? And if so, is that a common occurance? I’d think they’d want to at least print enough copies for it to all be a wash in the end with no loose ends to tie up, assuming everything sells.

    Or are you saying that even a 97% sell through rate wasn’t quite enough for you to earn out because they printed only the bare minimum for it to all break even?

    Math makes my brain hurt, even simple math.

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    1. Bugger, it told me the first comment didn’t post, so I retyped and now they’re both there. Sorry for the repeats.

      It did the same thing with this comment, so we’ll see if we get a reply there too.

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  9. BTW (off topic blog hijacking) I’m looking for commenets on possible covers over at my blog today. Come over if you want to play.

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  10. I need to share this with non-writing friends and family who are convinced that if Brenda Would Just Finish Those Novels all the financial issues would be forever resolved and success would be immediate. Although if I share these numbers with Rick, he’ll never think the cost of Nationals would be justifiable, especially since I’m NOT Janet Evanovich. $50 Million? Yeowza.

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  11. The publishing world is fascinating. I could see how a person wouldn’t be able to support themselves at all and still be published. Huh. All of my delusions of the Grand Style of Living I had about you and Lani are crushed.

    Does this mean you don’t have a solid gold doggy bowls?

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      1. Ooooh, chocolate cupcakes. I’ll take that over a solid gold “whatever” any day. As well as chocolate cheesecake, chocolate hand-dipped candies, or chocolate cake with raspberry filling. Life is good. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  12. This is FABULOUS! I want to forward this to every single person who, since the announcement of my book deal, has said one or more of the following to me:

    * Wait, so it’ll only be paperback and not hardcover? That’s too bad. Good books are always in hardcover, right?

    * Published author, huh? So you’re set for life now?

    * You have descriptions of your book on your website but it doesn’t hit shelves for a year. Aren’t you afraid someone will steal your ideas?

    *sigh*

    I’m also really fascinated by your commentary on the NYT Bestseller list, since that’s something I hadn’t considered before.

    Terrific post all around. Thanks so much for writing this!

    Tawna

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  13. Starting down here so I won’t explode the blog. I read One For The Money when I was about 16 and caught up with the others not too long after that. I’m grateful now that they’re spread out – I think it’s about one per year. That said, I love ’em! There are hot guys, a protagonist with a self-deprecating sense of humor, over-drawn wacky characters and farcical situations. The unabridged audios are great – along with Jenny Crusie novels, my husband will happily visit Trenton for eight hours or so. Finding books we both enjoy listening to is not always easy. A Plum book is always part broad comedy. I’ve been trying to think of movies that give me the same feeling and came up with Foul Play, or Ruthless People with a little of The Hangover and a little Dodgeball thrown in. Sure, the books are repetitive in some ways, but I like the larger than life characters so much I’m happy to visit with them once a year. And there’s Bob the dog. Gotta love them just for him. Still, that’s a lot of dollars. I heard somewhere that the first Plum is going to be a movie and others are optioned. Maybe some of the money is for that.

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    1. Yup, coming out next year. The cast looks pretty good too – Debbie Reynolds is playing Grandma!

      I’ll be going as soon as it comes out cause I loved the first few books (consumed them in a few days the first time Iread them) but I gave up on the books by book 11, thought they were going to formula by that point.

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      1. I hadn’t heard about Debbie Reynolds. I read that Katherine Heigl is taking on the role of Stephanie Plum.

        And if anyone has read Something Borrowed there’s to be a movie of that starring Kate Hudson.

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  14. I buy hardcopy and paperback books I want to keep, always by author. I buy ebooks that aren’t by those authors. I’ll also buy an ebook that’s a recommended author and cheap and that I can’t find in the library. Even so, I still reread the ebooks. I bought The Help that way. Surprise. It’s been in the top 5 WSJ for well over a year, and is a real keeper.

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  15. I’ve been working toward being a published romance author for a while now. Friends ask if I’ll quit my teaching job when I sell. I ask if they’re kidding. I still have kids to put through college, a mortgage to pay and I would like to eat from time to time. “But Stephen King is rich…” they say. So he is.

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  16. I totally agree with Marly’s analysis of the Plum series. I love Janet. She is very funny in my opinion. If you read her book, How I Write, you’ll learn some good things as well although I haven’t found anything that teaches me as well as this blog & Lani’s classes.
    I also absolutely love Evanovich’s book Metro Girl & Motor Mouth and the new graphic novel follow up Troublemaker. Sam Hooker and Alexandra Barnaby are so funny.
    I can also second the notion for Toni McGee Causey’s books and if you like that format, Shelly Fredman’s Brandy Alexander series. Shelly is self published. I know you can get her books on amazon but not sure otherwise. Oh and Sophie Metrolpolis books by Tori Carrington and Lola Cruz books by Misa Ramirez.
    I found these people, and Jenny, because Janet suggested them on her website when someone asked her who to read.
    I have all Crusies and I have all Evanovich’s. Oh incidentally she has a new series starting that will revolve around Diesel from the Plum in-betweens but there will be no Stephanie. Diesel is hysterical. The books revolve around the seven deadly sins and the first is out in Sept. called Wicked Appetite.

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  17. Ami, Thanks for the recommendations. I looked up the Bobby Faye books on B&N.com and they look pretty good! That will give me something to do until the next Crusie book comes out.
    I would also recommend the Spellman books from Lisa Lutz. They are well done, with a great cast and great stories. And they are written kind of like a screenplay, so they are pretty quick reads too.

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    1. I’ve read all three of the Bobby Faye books by Toni McGee Causey, more than once, and they’re wonderful. I don’t think there’s anybody in fiction like Bobby Faye. She’s in a class all by herself. I concur with the Lisa Lutz recommendation, too. Isabel “I have no idea what you’re talking about” Spellman and her family are terrific. Don’t you love the little sister?

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      1. How can you not love Rae? (or not be terrified that you’ll get on her bad side and she’ll lock you in a storage room overnight). I have heard that there will be one more Spellman book. Originally the newest one was going to be the last, but now there may be one more. I have an autographed copy of the new one, thanks to my sister-in-law in LA who went to a signing for me!

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        1. I’ll hop the Bobby Faye bandwagon, too. They are fabulous. But be warned, once they start they DO. NOT. STOP. It can be a little exhausting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Oh and for those who think Ranger is hawt. YA’LL. You ain’t seen nothing til you’ve seen Trevor in action. Just sayin.

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          1. I have to agree. I love Ranger. But Trevor is more real. I actually prefer Morelli in the Plum series. It seems to me like Trevor is the best of Ranger combined with the best of Morelli only more grown up.
            (Still love the Plum series though.)

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  18. I expect to be able to buy the product. Turns out I can’t preorder MTT for the nook at B&N, but I could for a Kindle. Might be getting an alternate ereader this weekend that maybe could read a kindle version so… stupid B&N. their website is miserable. Why do they make it actively hard for me to buy their products?

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  19. (-: For all of you guys who want to give up the day job, just remember, Chaucer kept his day job, and people are still reading him 800 years later. Don’t know how much he actually made with his writing, though (-:.

    Besides, doesn’t the day job provide a lot of raw material for the dream job? LOL! I can picture a couple of the teachers I work with as villians . . . not to mention the dozens of heroes out there . . . .

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  20. It appears we’ve killed the “reply” button up on the Plum comments. Sorry, Jenny. I just want to heartily second the Toni McGee Causey books. They are hilarious AND fulfilling.

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    1. We were talking about you at lunch. My friend’s BOB is named Calvin Trevor Morelli. (Calvin for Cal Morrissey, your Trevor, and Joe Morelli.) Now MY head’s explodes every time I think about it.

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    1. marly… um, what’s a BOB? (I am flattered, I, uh, think. :))

      Clever Cherry–being an otter, I’m working on something entirely different. It’s dark and heartbreaking and it grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go. Have you ever done something and realized that all your life, that was what you were meant to do? I feel that way about this story.

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      1. Oh, that’s Battery Operated Boyfriend – the single girl’s BFF. I know you’ll tell us when the new book is going to published, so I won’t nag. Much.

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  21. I have to say this–there wouldn’t have even been a Bobbie Faye or a Trevor or Cam if there hadn’t been Jenny’s Welcome to Temptation. When I was just about sick to death of screenwriting and was sort of lost about writing in general, a friend gave me WTT. I hadn’t read anything that had made me laugh like that book in years. And then I re-read it, because I thought, “YES. This is what fiction should be–heart and soul and laughter and wry, wicked fun.”

    But then, everyone here already knows that. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  22. This was so fantastic and honest.
    I had a friend ask what would or will happen if and when I get published. So I cut and paste and sent the payment part to my hubby so he can forward it on to him. I do not have a day job now thanks to the economy, but once I do, at least I will have more fodder for my stories.

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  23. Wonderful post. I will save it to show to everyone who thinks I should be cashing in. And thanks to all for the recs! I’ve got Bobby Faye #1 and the Spellmans #1 in my cart.

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  24. Really enjoyed the post. What a shame the average reader doesn’t know the facts.They think we are all rolling in the green stuff.

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