Wednesday, May 06, 2009


My publisher had a very good year, boasting record increases in their annual revenue. Everyone from CNN to NBC was reporting the remarkable accomplishment of a company that didn’t actually show a loss for the past year. I’m glad someone is doing well. However, if my latest royalty check is any indication, the publisher is clearly the only one who did, ‘cause this author is headed straight to the unemployment line.

I’m considered a midlist author. I’m not able to buy myself a new house with what I make writing and there will be no trips to San Tropez or any getaway purchases for me to boast about. Sum total, what I have made in the last six years since I was first published, isn’t enough to support a family of two for one year. You know when Uncle Sam isn’t even impressed that there’s not much for you to get overly excited about and Sam has hardly been impressed.

My last two books outsold all of my books. In fact, they sold out, went back to press a couple of times and sold out again. The last communiqué I received advised me that since it is the nature of romance series / category romance business to keep books on the shelves for a sum total of 3 months my being completely sold out was actually a very good thing because the books had done very well.

Yesterday, I was told they really didn’t do that well at all. In fact, royalties paid to this author totaled $48. My agent tried to smooth my bruised spirit by saying that they apparently didn’t print as many books as I was initially led to believe. She apologized that the news wasn’t better and that I was disappointed. Disappointment doesn’t begin to express what I’m feeling right now.

Royalty checks paid to authors only come out twice per year. And then there is this thing you have called reserve against returns where the publisher gets to hold up to 50% of the money you made just on the off chance that some buyer decides he purchased too many books and wants to send them back. They have up to a year and potentially two royalty periods within which to do this. After that year you get a full accounting, and your money, which in my case totaled $48.


I am acutely aware that I allowed my hopes and expectations to get the better of me. Reality just dropped kicked those bad boys to the curb. Strangely, I don’t feel sorry for myself. There’s no pity-party going on here. I’m just tired. Going from a two-income household down to a one-quarter income household has been a challenge. The challenges have clearly worked my spirit. I’ve been so consumed with contracts and deadlines that I’ve lost the love and joy I had for my craft. I find myself actually questioning why I bother to write at all. I wonder sometimes what it is I’m not doing right. Writing has become a chore and I would never have imagined that this thing that has sustained me for so long would ever be sheer drudgery. But drudgery it is.

I’m packing up my keyboard for a while and I’m giving up this ghost. There isn’t a story haunting me and even my beautiful Stallion boys don’t make me smile anymore. I need to regroup and focus my energy elsewhere for a while. Maybe with some serious time, the muse might come back to me.


Anonymous said...

Um, Miss Thang, began by writing about eating burnt toast and advanced to writing about the Stallion Boys...I am going to allow you to have your pity party for two days and you have already used up one. Today is national prayer day, so I will keep you in prayer.

Deborah Mello said...

Girl....I am in need of a lot of prayer. And really, I'm not having a pity-party. I am truly just tired.

Love ya!

Vee said...

Deborah I just want you to know that I really enjoyed your Stallion series. Perhaps, I was one of the few buyers your publisher was referring to. I came to this site to find out when the latest book is coming out. I imagine that you are discouraged, but KNOW that you have fans who are in your corner.

Deborah Mello said...

Thanks, Vee. I truly appreciate your kind words. The last two Stallion books will be released next year. Baby brother Luke should come in May with Lost In A Stallion's Arms and then Matthew's story will drop in August, with Stallion heat. There will also be one more book in the series, entitled Stallion Bride. Again, thank you so much for writing and supporting my writing.