Kate Allan

The online diary of Kate Allan, author

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Lady Soldier in Oz, and royalties

Thousands of miles from here, on the far side of the world, I discovered today that someone has borrowed The Lady Soldier from Beerwah Branch Library in Australia.

I also came home this evening to my first royalty statement. Robert Hale issues these twice-yearly so this was for the period 1/1/2005 to 30/6/2005 for sales of The Lady Soldier, which was released on 31/05/2005 so the statement only records sales in the first month. Attached to the statement was a cheque for small sum - hurrah!

However, before we get too excited that is actually possible to make much money from writing fiction - here are the truths:

Truth 1 - I'm in this for the love of writing stories.

Which is just as well as you will see when we come to Truth 2...

I'm told that The Lady Soldier hasn't done badly at all because it's possible for hardback fiction these days in the UK to appear and sell less than 200 copies. The Lady Soldier has actually sold over 400 copies.*

Truth 2 - Even if your book 'does quite well' there is not really any money in hardback fiction.

The royalty statement states that up to 30/6/2005 The Lady Soldier sold 210 copies at home (i.e. UK) which made enough for us to earn out our advance. In addition there were 63 export sales copies sold, and these garner a smaller royalty - I get £22.90 altogether for these export sales which works out at 36p per book, but as The Lady Soldier was co-written I only get 50% of the royalties, so the total royalties for a copy sold export would be 72p.

Assuming that The Lady Soldier stays in print for a year or so, I would expect sales to trickle in a little further, perhaps taking the total hardback sales to 5-600 copies. In additional to this, we have sold Large Print rights** which garners less per copy for the author as export sales so it's a nice extra, but nothing staggering. However, Large Print means more copies in libraries to boost PLR, which is the payment UK authors can claim against public library borrowings. So with a bit of luck with PLR and all that I guess I would expect The Lady Soldier to make me around £1,000 over a, say, two year lifetime, with a trickle of PLR coming in for an additional few years after that. Not a lot of money for so much work, and I have invested around half that sum on promotion in any case.

At least it's Buy A Friend A Book Week this week***, so if you've not bought a friend a book for no good reason yet, buy one now. Us authors need all the book sales we can get!

* My best estimate to date, and includes some author copies sold at events which would not appear on any royalty statement.
** Out next year sometime.
*** Thank you Wenlock for the heads up.


  • At 6:52 pm, Blogger Jessica Raymond said…

    Hi Kate -- Thanks for your comment and encouragement on my blog! I was very interested in this post of yours. It's nice to see how things span out for an author after their book is published. Maybe I can post my own experiences one day! Jessica x


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