The end of the line

At the beginning of a publishing project, everyone’s busy and excited. Finished those revisions I asked for? How do the figures look for chapter 6? Any good marketing suggestions? Know some good reviewers who should receive preprints?

Then comes the excitement of opening the carton of author’s copies of the finished product; the even greater excitement of seeing the book on store shelves (hmm, not arranged prominently enough, here, let me just move this other book out of the way…); the satisfaction of depositing royalty checks for work long since finished; the joy of reading positive reviews; and above all, the exhilaration of occasionally being recognized and thanked by an admiring reader.

The audience for my book was small, but not too small for me to have experienced all of those celebrated rites of passage of book authors.

Now I’m experiencing the somewhat less-celebrated last rites of publishing: when sales have dwindled so far that they are outnumbered by returns from booksellers to the publisher. Behold, my latest royalty statement.

Yes, that’s negative one dollar and seventy-one cents in royalties. Ah well.

2 thoughts on “The end of the line”

  1. Ugh, so that means any future royalties will have that amount deducted? I assume you can never actually OWE them money, right? BTW, have you read Wil Wheaton’s books? He has an interesting take on O’Reilly and how they mismanaged his book.

  2. Exactly, this is charged against any future royalties, the much-less-fun flip side of a book advance. Unfortunately I don’t get to pay negative taxes on these negative royalties.

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