Monday, September 19, 2011

2nd Quarter Royalties: Still Wagging at the Tip of the Long Tail

Another quarter gone by, another royalty cheque. $180 this time.

It’s a good thing I like my day job. I certainly won’t be handing my notice in with those figures!

Still, it’s $180 and every little dollar (or pound in my case) is welcome in these austere times. While it isn’t a revolutionary amount, I’d guess it’s reality for most self-published writers hanging out in the long tail (and even some legacy published ones as well). For every Locke or Hocking there’s going to be thousands like me and thousands more doing even worse. That’s the nature of these things.

This was the argument behind Ewan Morrison’s recent article for The Guardian as he bemoaned the imminent demise of the author as a professional occupation. It’s all a matter of perspective really. Writers lucky or talented enough to have already made it through the gates, but have failed to find popular appeal and are reliant on ever-dwindling advances, are understandably unhappy with how the publishing world has changed. They face uncertain futures and will probably need to find mundane day jobs to pay the bills, like everyone else.

Then you get folks like me, who now get the opportunity to put our work out there for people to read. I have written two collections of short stories, A Succubus for Christmas and A Succubus for Valentine’s Day. Both have sold nearly 150 copies each and made me around $750 over the last year. That’s not a lot, but it’s more than they’d have made sitting in a slush pile, or on a free website, or locked in a drawer. Something is more than nothing, especially if that something keeps ticking up every month.

As I said, matter of perspective.

(Please feel free to contribute to that ticking up each month ;) )

M.E. Hydra


  1. Hang in there. And just think: If you had 4 books out instead of two you might have made $1500.00, all other things being equal.

    I'm just starting out too. It's easy to get discouraged, I know...

  2. More books definitely helps I think. I'm not getting discouraged. I'm loving it. I'm doing something I've always wanted to do. Early on it's a case of being patient, writing good stories and building up an audience.