Note/Warning: In our society, talking openly about income is considered somewhat gauche. Personally, though, I think it is a social rule designed to disempower people and fuel shame. I’ve never, ever understood how not talking money is supposed to be helpful. So, I realize this post might make some people uncomfortable, but I’m not going to apologize for that. Information is power. You are, of course, welcome to hit the “back” button on your browser.
To be honest, when my first story, Connections, was accepted by Dreamspinner Press, money was literally the last thing on my mind. I was so pleased to have a story being published that I really did not care much about the profit, if any.
To a certain extent, that holds true even now; I love writing, and have written stories for years without being paid for it, and will keep writing whether I get paid for it or not.
But, for obvious reasons, I prefer getting paid!
I’m not shy about admitting that I want to make a living doing this, and while for me that’s a modest goal (single, childless grad student—I’m cheap!) in terms of money, it is hugely important to me. All I need is an income of $1600/mo. to cover all my expenses, including groceries.
For the record: I’m not even close.
That is expected at this point, honestly. I don’t have too many releases out; Connections was released just over a year ago, and for six months after that I ignored it (looong story involving divorce, major dietary changes, and starting grad school). I don’t think my career as pro romance writer started until my website went up and I submitted a second story, roughly this past January. That means for all practical purposes, my career is essentially eight months old, and I don’t have a full novel (Dawn in the Orchard) coming out until October.
So, how am I doing? My first royalty check, 3rd Quarter 2010, was for $61.00 and I damn near framed the thing. My second, still only representing sales of Connections, was for $33.00. My most recent one, 2nd Quarter 2011, does not include sales of my best-seller Mixed Signals but was for $141.35, which means it could pay my electric bill! This quarter I also received a $500 advance for my novel Dawn in the Orchard, and $50 for my story in the Cross Bones anthology (“Rough Trade”). My total earnings for 2011 come in at $706.35 which if averaged out monthly is about $88/mo. Which. Well. Not really on target yet, am I? But each quarter the royalties go up. I’ve got more releases on the horizon, and three novels I’m working to finish up and submit.
I’ll keep you posted.