Something happens the minute a person realizes you’ve sold a book – that unwritten rule about not discussing another person’s salary just disappears. Although my friend Gena Showalter told me it would happen, I was still unprepared. The first time was at a PTA sponsored party at my oldest’s school. I was passing out the cookies with another mother, and boom!
“I heard you sold a book. How much did you get?” My eloquent response ran along the lines of uh, duh, hmmm. I think I finally managed to say something about how first time authors don’t make a lot of money. I could tell she was disappointed – she wanted real numbers. I’m sure she expected multiple zeroes.
Somewhere along the lines, people got the impression romance writers came along with buckets of money, dogs, bigs houses and pink. Lots and lots of pink. Have you seen the movie She-Devil?
When I was in college, a friend of mine said they knew where Janet Dailey lived and we decided to drive by her house. (Contrary to how the story has been retold, there was NO trespassing involved: see previous rule following blogs.) After seeing her place, my then fiancee now husband lifted a brow and asked, “You still want to write romance? Do it.”
Just like in any genre, some authors make quite a bit, some not so much. Below is a link (and we’ll see if it works) about how much money authors can expect. Brenda Hiatt’s Show Me the Money via Karen Fox’s website is an excellent resource. If you’re not familiar with royalty statements (and since I’ve not received one yet myself – the knowledge I’m about to impart is all just hearsay) the money listed is not paid out in a year or even in two. It takes awhile for an author to earn back their advance and for the publisher to determine reserves against returns. Additionally, writers are typically paid twice a year.