Skewed, Which Rhymes With...
March 13, 2011
I hope everyone is having a good weekend. No matter how bad it gets, hey, you're not in Japan. Those poor people. Every time I go online to see what's up things seem worse. So, hey, ultimately, I got nothing to complain about.
Anyway, I just spent the last hour or so organizing my taxes for meeting my accountant later this week and because I was in a statistical, bookkeeping mood, I started analyzing my expenses for fiction versus my income for fiction. Which in 2010 was pretty damn shitty. So, out of curiosity, I went back to 2009 and factored in that year (although I didn't break out fiction expenses) because I had two book advances that year (And none in 2010). Then, I also factored in the expenses and income from fiction to-date for 2011.
And, Mark, what did you find?
I found that I have spent roughly 1.45 times the amount of money on promoting and/or advertising and/or e-book production costs than I've made on them. And that does not even count the 1,369 miles I put on my vehicle for book signings or the gas I spent doing it.
Now, granted, I haven't received a royalty check yet this year from my novels from Oceanview--sometime in the next month or two, I would hope. And most of the e-book expenses were in December, so they're making money month by month over the course of, well, forever, so I can't really get a good and accurate sense of things until 2011 is done (if then), but as of today, well, it sucks dead bears.
But hey, Mark, how about in nonfiction? Or, how about, overall?
Glad you asked. Overall, with writing in 2010, I made 14 times my expenses. It was a good year. The problem, of course, is that about 53% of my total expenses in 2010 were related to fiction. Another way to put it is that I earned more than 26 times the amount of money on nonfiction than I spent on it.
So, clearly, the figures are skewed. So to speak.
Nonfiction, as you can see, subsidizes my fiction. Maybe, over the course of a couple years, the fiction will at least pay for itself. What's most difficult for me with this are two things. First, it's a stupid way to run a business. Second, for the last 20 years or so authors and publishers and agents have assured me ad nauseum that the promotion time and effort and money you put in doesn't show up on this book, but on the next and the next.
To which I'm inclined to respond in my politest way by saying: "Boloney."
But who knows? It's so hard to predict what's going to happen in the future.