A personal followup to John Scalzi’s big deal


If you missed my post about it last night, John Scalzi just landed a major deal: $3.4 million for 13 books over ten years. He doesn’t even have to accept basket accounting.

Shortly after, I tweeted this:

And look at all those RTs and Favorites! It hasn’t translated into new sales, though.

But because contrast is fun, I’m going to take a moment to update you guys on where things stand for me. Spoiler: I don’t have a contract with any publisher for any dollar figure.

So the Kickstarter was successful, and it paid for the five books I’ve released, plus. However, that was the fall of 2013. All of 2014 was a struggle. The StoryBundle I did last year helped a little but money, shall we say, was tight. In fact, I stopped taking deductions on my taxes because it was too much. That’s the problem when you earn in one year and spend in the next.

However, the Kickstarter is almost over. Just today I sent the second-to-last update, giving backers access to one of the last stretch goals.

Also, the last of the books came out in the beginning of March, and sales have been fading for weeks. To be clear, the books are selling better than most self-published authors’ works ever will (So far I’ve made about $40K from all my indie work), but I’m paying bills with this money, and putting some aside for Uncle Sam. What’s more, judging by the way things are going, the last 8 months of the year won’t be as good as the first four.

And that’s all fine, except this income has to hold me until my next book sells, and I haven’t even started writing it yet.

What’s the holdup? I have one more Kickstarter reward to fulfill. I thought I’d been super careful when I planned this whole thing out, but it turns out that I underestimated the amount of work I would be putting into the Fate Core supplements. What was supposed to be a few thousand words has turned into 45,000, and I still have to edit it. None of this is wasted effort, because it will be useful promotion for the trilogy, but yikes, I did not expect the worldbuilding to take up so much page space. I really, really need to cut this shit back.

Then, finally, I get to start my new project. After self-publishing six books, I’m aiming this next one at New York. I could use the marketing bump.

Anyway, the books are doing well enough that my wife hasn’t asked me to get a day job; we’re still homeschooling our son and I’m still hopeful about this dumb career. But I haven’t replaced my lens prescriptions from 2007 and I haven’t gotten my teeth fixed. We’re still in the crappy apartment. We still don’t have a car, or cell phone, or cable TV.

In short, I’m still aspiring to the midlist.