Monday, January 28, 2013

Pub Talk: Of Money & Book Deals

This may be my favorite origami ever.
Let's talk about money.

And book deals.

Because as writers, we LOVE to talk about those two things together.

Someone emailed me a little bit ago, asking about this, and I realized it was a great topic for a Pub Talk post. Also because even though I had read a few posts about how money works with book deals before I got mine, there were still things I learned along the way.

Okay, let's say you get a book deal for a single book, and to make the math easy, let's say you get an advance of $15,000. (An advance is just what it sounds like-- an advance on future royalties. Once your book goes up for sale and you start earning royalties, you have to "earn out your advance" before you start getting royalty checks.)

So does that mean that as soon as you get the call that your book sold that you can go out and spend that $15,000? Not quite. It doesn't come in one chunk. Sometimes it comes in two payments, sometimes in four, but most often in three. (At least that's what's most common with mid- to large- sized publishers.)

1/3 Comes within 30 days of signing your contract,
1/3 Comes within 30 days of your book being "accepted," and
1/3 Comes within 30 days of publication (although occasionally that date is bumped up, but not usually).

Let's talk about a few things.  

First: contracts. Smaller presses usually have a boiler-plate contract that they send out pretty much the day they offer. Most mid and large publishers will work with the agent on the contract, so it takes longer to get it finalized. I got mine from Random House two months after they offered, and apparently that's insanely fast. Some publishers take 6 months. I've even heard of some taking 8-9 months. Then you sign it, send it back, then wait 30 days for the check. (It goes to the agent first, they take their cut, then send you a check for the rest.) So sometimes, it can take A LONG TIME to get that first check. You might even be close to your book going to copy edits by the time you get it.

Second: if you have an agent, the publisher will send the check directly to your agent, (s)he will take his/her 15%, then a check for the remainder will come to you from the agency. No taxes are taken out, so you have to plan for that part on your own. So in our example, you'd get three payments of $4,250. Make sense?

Third: "Acceptance" doesn't mean that you've just emailed your book to your editor. It means that you have gone through however many rounds of edits with your editor that it took to make it shine. It means that it's essentially ready for publication. You'll still have to go through one or more rounds of copy edits, and first pass pages (and maybe second pass pages), of course, but those are just minor things. The bulk of it is done.

Now, just for fun, let's say that you get the coveted six-figure, three book deal from one of the Big Six. We'll say $35,000 a book, for a total of $105,000. These numbers work out awesome, because on a $35K book, the agent cut is roughly $5K, leaving an easily divisible by three $30K. Nice, huh? Let's get some timing in the mix, too. Let's say you got your book deal this month (January 2013), with your books slated to come out December 2014, December 2015, and December 2016. This is how it would break down with a totally made up but realistic time table.

On signing, you'd get 1/3 of the $35,000 for each book (or 3/9 of the $105,000). So your first payment would be $35,000. (Or, once your agent takes his / her cut (and honestly, you aren't going to get this deal without an agent and yes, they are totally worth the 15%), you'd get around $30,000.) Let's say they're pretty fast, and get you your contract in April. So you'd get your first check in May 2013.

May 2013: $30,000  (Signing for all three)
Jan 2014: $10,000 (acceptance of book 1)
Dec 2014: $10,000 (publication of book 1)
Jan 2015: $10,000 (acceptance of book 2)
Dec 2015: $10,000 (publication of book 2)
Jan 2016: $10,000 (acceptance of book 3)
Dec 2016: $10,000 (publication of book 3)

So, as you can see, those advance payments can be spread out quite a bit. A very important thing to think about before you quit that day job.

Any questions? I know I left about a million things unanswered. If this brings up any questions for you, ask in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them. And if you have an experience that's different than this, tell us! I think it really helps everyone to not walk into this industry blind, so we would all love if you shared.

photo credit: Jon_Tucker via photopin cc

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Giveaway! ARC of Chad Morris's THE INVENTOR'S SECRET, + swag from four fabulous authors!

Hey, everyone! How's it going? What do you think? Should we do a giveaway? Okay, let's do this!

First up, one lucky winner will receive an ARC (Advance Reviewer Copy) of Chad Morris's CRAGBRIDGE HALL book 1: THE INVENTOR'S SECRET (March 5th 2013, Shadow Mountain Publishing). Chad also gave me an ARC, and I am so excited to read it! We spent a day together in a critique group at a conference where I got to read his first chapter. It sounds like it's going to be such a fabulous book!

And three lucky winners will each receive one of these swag packs!

Bookplates of BRUISED by Sarah Skilton.
Expected publication: March 5th 2013 by Amulet/Abrams

Bookmarks of GENIE WISHES by Elisabeth Dahl + tattoos.
Expected publication: April 2nd 2013 by Amulet Books

Necklace that doubles as a bookmark from
Expected publication: May 21st 2013 by Disney/Hyperion

Bookplates of CANARY by Rachele Alpine + bookmarks.
Expected publication: August 1st 2013 by Medallion Press

The ARC giveaway is U.S. only. The swag pack giveaways, however, are open internationally. Go forth and enter! I'll draw four winners next Tuesday morning, and post the results. Best of luck!

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Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Changes! + Books I love this spring

Check me out--- I redid all of my pages! I'm not even going to say how much time they took, because then I'd have to admit it to myself. But yay! I'm finally done! And honestly, except for some frustrating HTML moments, it was a lot of fun.

Okay, okay, I'll get down off my high of finishing and get onto the post.

Want to know one of the perks of being part of a debut group like the Lucky 13s? If we have an ARC to spare, we send it on tour to each other. I haven't read all the ones coming out this spring, but these are some I've read and loved, and am dying for them to come out this year.


Release Date: June 25, 2013

I have no words for the brilliance of this book. The voice was INCREDIBLE! And it was so very well written. The whole time I was reading, I was marveling at the amount of work that went into it, and how many revisions it must've taken to get the switching between time frames so perfect. I was so sucked in! It was one of those books where it was just killing me whenever I couldn't be in the middle of reading it.
It was SO GOOD!

Middle Grade:

Release Date: April 9th 2013

This is one of those books I wish I'd have written! I mean seriously-- telling the story of the twelve year old Rumplestiltskin? Brilliant! So fun and clever and different and with such great voice. Plus, ohmygosh-- isn't that cover the greatest? I love me a good middle grade cover.


Release Date: May 14th 2013

This book had such a fascinating premise (girl whose family was in Witness Protection and she didn't know why, bad guys after them, frequent moves, the repercussions of all that), and it was backed up with equally fascinating characters that were so real. I was rooting for them every step of the way!


Release Date: May 21, 2013

This book made me realize that pacing is one of the NUMBER ONE things in a book for me. The pacing was incredible! And it made the book un-putdown-able. It was freakingly amazing good. The characters were so likeable and unique and funny and REAL. The story was amazing, and I cannot say enough good things about the pacing. Seriously-- I haven't read a book with pacing this spot-on in a very long time.

Oh, hey-- speaking of books, wanna be friends on Goodreads? If you do, here's my link:

What are you most looking forward to reading this spring?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Quotes & Cookies: Priorities

At this time of year, I think this is a very fitting quote:

The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

~Stephen Covey

It all sounds so easy when he says it, doesn't it? I think I spent the last year trying to do EVERYTHING. (Hint: that never works out well.) This year, I plan to a) know what my priorities are and b) schedule them in. Ahh. That's the nice thing about a new year. You feel like you've got a fresh start to do things differently.

Like stare at some very large and in charge cookies, and try not to salivate. ;)

Is there anything you've decided to do differently this year?

photo credit: Mrs Magic via photopin cc

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

One of my favorite books is releasing! Alex Lidell's THE CADET OF TILDOR (+giveaway)

A few months ago, I got the chance to read an ARC (advanced reader copy) of a book by Alex Lidell, called THE CADET OF TILDOR. Oh. My. Gosh. I fell in love with this book! I savored this book. There were so many parts I absolutely loved. A lot. It's high fantasy, with political intrigue, a kick-butt heroine, and it also has a boy POV character that was fabulous. (Especially when bantering was going on.)

And it releases in TWO days! I've been dying for this book to come out so I could tell people all about it. Okay, here are the deets:

Tamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown's inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

Release date: Jan 10, 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult

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Psst! Want to have a sneak read of a scene? This is from when Savoy first learned he has to go teach at the Academy of Tildor to train their elite fighters, including the main character (Renee). Check it out:

Savoy stayed standing. “Why am I here, sir?”

“To teach.” Verin’s weathered hand took an iron teakettle off the tray and filled two cups.

“I’m a fighter, sir, and the Seventh is a combat unit. I know as little of children as my replacement knows of my men.”

Verin’s face hardened. “You are a Servant of the Crown, sworn, if memory serves me, to obey said Crown’s wishes.”

And if King Lysian even knows of my assignment, I’ll eat a goat intestine raw. Savoy
caught himself in time to swallow the words. It was not beyond Verin to take him up on the suggestion. “Is this an exercise in administrative policy, sir?”

“It is an exercise in fortifying our Servant officer cadre. The Academy believes that
a year of teaching cadets is an investment worth making.” Verin pulled up his brows. “It is a compliment to your skills, lad. One that I am proud to support.”

“It is a farce, sir. I fight in real battles, with real swords, and real consequences. I will happily demonstrate all that to whichever puppeteer arranged this ludicrousness. I—”

Verin’s palm slammed the table. The resulting din reverberated off the walls and rippled the surface of the jasmine tea. “You are twenty-three and behave like a sullen child.”

Savoy swallowed.

“The Academy is a living institution. We all carry out duties beyond these walls.”
Verin leaned forward and the High Constable pips on his collar caught the light. His tone took a familiar note of steel. “You may reclaim your command and re-sharpen the Seventh after dispatching your current obligations. I am not suggesting that task to be simple; I am saying it is one you will address at a later date. For the time being, your responsibilities are to your students, Commander Savoy. You are in the service of the Crown and are called to serve here.”

Savoy said nothing for a few moments. Ridiculous orders or not, if not for fostering with Verin, he’d be a guest in a prison instead of an officer in the Crown’s champion troop. “What do you expect me to teach them, sir?”

“They are the upcoming officer elites. Teach them what you think they need.”


The headmaster bored his gaze into him.

Savoy strained to keep the discontent from his voice. “Yes, sir.”

Leaning back in his chair, Verin allowed the silence to linger. Finally, he sighed. “You may go.”

Savoy bowed and braced to attention once more before starting for the door. His hand
was already on the handle when he turned back and asked softly, “Why am I here, sir?”

Verin sipped his tea, silent.

As Savoy walked away, he could not help but wonder how he would survive the coming year.

Makes you want to read it, huh? Some links to get you headed there:

Alex Lidell is a YA fantasy writer and was a finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award competition and lives in New Jersey. THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin) is her first novel.

You can follow the tour at ATOMR Tours

Monday, January 7, 2013

Let's update each other, shall we?

Hi hi hi! Long time no see! How was your New Years? What did you do? We did with our kids the same thing my parents did with us growing up--- we ate homemade pizza, played board games for many, many hours, and toasted the new year with sparkling cider at midnight. I love it every bit as much as I did when I was a kid.

Since it's been so long, how about we update each other? I'll start. (Or you can skip down to the comments, and you start.)


Last week I turned book 2 into my editor. There are a lot of factors that make book 2s difficult--- someday I might post about that. Needless to say, there are times that I thought it might kill me, and there's an incredible weight lifted to have it turned in. It makes me want to tackle everything I've been putting off all at once. :)

Goal: To never finish a book so close to deadline again. Especially if that deadline is January 1.


Just in case you're wondering how everything is going with my cover... it's coming along nicely. :) My editor and my cover team rock beyond the telling of it, and have been working so hard for the past ten months to get it just right. Cover illustrator #3 (yes, number THREE) is working on it now, and I'm telling you, this is going to be the one. I've seen his first color sketch, and it's incredible. I can't wait for it to be finished! And don't worry that you might miss the reveal. Trust me-- I'll be shouting about it from the rooftops.

Goal: Patience. I've had my book deal for 14 months so far... what's a couple more?


My poor, poor neglected blog. Sometimes I'll go into my stats and see that people click through all the page tabs at the top, and I cringe. Those puppies haven't been updated in a year and a half! It's a little embarrassing.

Goal: To get back to posting regularly, reading blogs, and revamping all those things on my blog that are in good need of a revamping. Or, in some cases, an initial vamping.


Getting an actual website is my current focus, and I'm so excited to jump into it! I have no idea what I'm going to do just yet, but I'm voting for something awesome. Anyone have any tips? Suggestions on what to include or who to use? Author websites you've seen that you love? I'll take it all.

Goal: To make rock. And have it do something other than just lead you back to here. ;)

What's new with you? Did you set any goals / resolutions? (Or are you anti-New Years resolutions? I totally understand that, too.) And are you as in the mood to do all those things on your to-do list that you've been ignoring as I am?

photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photopin cc