After the Draft: Let’s Talk Money



There’s been a movement among authors lately to be more open and transparent about what they earn.  Jim C. Hines has been sharing an annual report for seven years already, while Hugo winner Kameron Hurley made waves last week with her own blog post.

The purpose of these reports is not to boast. Far from it. Instead, these authors and many others are trying to give aspiring writers more realistic expectations of what a career in publishing looks like. And if more people understand that not all creatives are swimming in Scrooge McDuck money, just maybe a reader or two will think twice about torrenting or otherwise pirating the next book they want to read.

I support this drive towards greater transparency, so I’ve decided to add my own data points to the conversation. As readers of the blog will know, I’ve recently signed my very first book deal with Angry Robot Books for my debut novel THE ARK and a sequel. Here’s the final deal:

THE ARK (Fall 2015)

Advance: £3,000 ($4,500 at current exchange rate)

TRIDENT’S FORGE (Summer 2016)

Advance: £3,000 ($4,500 at current exchange rate)

As far as I can tell, these advances are a little on the low end for a debut author from a major publisher, but that is not a reflection on Angry Robot Books’ generosity. In the case of this deal, my agent and I decided to take smaller advances in exchange for retaining audio rights. This gives us opportunities for more sales in the future and multiple revenue streams, although there are certainly no guarantees.

I think I’ll follow Jim’s example and make this a yearly report for those who are interested, and I encourage other writers to do the same.

Comments (6 Responses )

  1. Dan Emmons - 02/03/2015 - 8:44 pm #

    Current exchange rate is 1.14, so 3420. If you did 1.5, it must have been long ago!

    • Patrick S. Tomlinson - 02/03/2015 - 10:30 pm #

      Not sure where you’re getting your info. Today’s exchange rate is 1.51 U.S. dollars per pound sterling.

      • Dan Emmons - 02/04/2015 - 12:32 pm #

        Silly me. I trade this shit all the time but I don’t use the symbol, I use the bloomberg or nymex symbols of EURUSD or GBPUSD. Yes, pounds are the right rate. I was thinking in euros.

  2. J - 02/04/2015 - 9:01 pm #

    As the great Dave Chappelle said.

    • Patrick S. Tomlinson - 02/04/2015 - 10:40 pm #

      Yup, rollin’ in it. But these are only advances. If the books sell well, and my publisher is optimistic that they will, then future royalties once they earn out could be pretty nice. Also there’s the potential for selling audio rights, foreign translation rights, etc. If a book is successful, the advances are only a small part of the final tally.

  3. J - 02/21/2015 - 2:29 am #

    Hopefully your attorney didn’t get a D in contracts. 🙂