Treated Like Royalty

moneyI received my first royalty check yesterday. At least I thought I did. The statement indicated royalties of $77.31 . And I had grandiose plans for my earnings. I considered blowing the whole wad and fleeing to Peru to live like, well, royalty. More realistically, I could have splurged and taken the family out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. Say Applebees.

That was until I realized the $77.31 was in parentheses, the universal sign for deficit. On closer inspection, I realized that by the end of 2008 I hadn’t yet earned out my (paltry) advance. I still “owed” the $77 to Morehouse until more copies sell. Oh well. I guess you could say my royalty check became a reality check.

It was interesting to note how many copies had sold since “What Size Are God’s Shoes” came out six months ago: 1,040. This included 18 sold in Canada and 15 in Mexico. I may have to translate the book into Spanish to feed my growing South of the Border market. And and a few “ehs” into the text to attract more Canadian readers.

With these numbers I finally understand why I haven’t made the New York Timesbestseller list. Though I still check every week just to make sure I haven’t leap frogged over “Eat, Pray, Love” or John Grisham’s latest.

Obviously I didn’t write the book to make money — I’ve surely lost money on this deal. And I’ve donated a portion of the sales back to my church’s memorial garden fund. But I’ll keep at it because I believe strongly in the message. And perhaps next year I’ll be able to buy myself a family-sized package of beef jerky or something.


5 Comments on “Treated Like Royalty”

  1. padremambo says:

    You should still go out and buy yourself a bottle of scotch, even if the money doesn’t exist yet.

  2. Father Tim says:

    Yeah, who knows? Maybe they’ll accept a book as payment at Briarcliff Liquors.

  3. You should see the {number} on my statement. At least your book is perceived as fun! Mine is being roundly ignored which, given the most recent PR snafu in the Christian world, gives me pause. And also a headache.

    Not to worry, Tim, you’ll cash out that advance very soon.

  4. Solange says:

    The royalty “reality” statement for my book, “Life on the Line,” shows FIVE figures in parenthesis – without the decimal point. Can’t beat that, Father Tim! This is possibly why Random House does not call me on a regular basis. Clearly, a good review in the NY Times does not necessarily translate into the folding green.

  5. Father Tim says:

    My mother wrote a great cookbook in the late ’80’s called “The Desperate Gourmet.” It was full of humor and entertaining advice in addition to some terrific recipes. It never got the promotion it deserved (what book does?) and didn’t earn out the advance from St. Martin’s Press. Of course her advance was ten times what mine was, not including the adjustment for inflation!

    In my next life maybe I’ll come back as a celebrity and write dopey children’s books that receive huges advances. Or better yet, I’ll have someone ghost write them for me.


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