Tuesday, 15 January 2019

My writing earnings!

A bunch of articles and statistics have been floating around recently on the subject of author earnings. Are they going up, going down? What are the mean, mode, and median? What's the variance, the kurtosis? All good questions.

Statistics is a murky area of mathematics though, and still largely a mystery to me despite the fact that my Ph.D was all about one small corner of it.

A mean salary is pretty meaningless when there's no obvious way to draw a circle around the population of interest. Where do "authors" stop being authors. If we include everyone who has ever self-published an ebook then their average annual salary might be a dollar because we would include a vast number of folk who put out one book five years ago which sold ten copies.

If we include only those who make their living as writers then of course the mean will be a reasonably healthy living wage ... by definition ... because we have only included people who make a living at it.

And the same problem exists if we confine ourselves to traditional publishing. When do you stop being an author? Mr X published a book in 2012, it earned well that year. But is he now in our data pool with his sales of 50 copies in 2018?

So, yeah, the data will say what you want it to. And the fact is that it is very difficult to make a living at this game. Better to do it because you love it, keep the day job, and if it ever starts making money ... hooray! You've won the lottery (but probably not the jackpot, just one of those prizes that are still stupidly unlikely but pay far less).

Anyway. This is how my earnings have fluctuated over the years.

There's no absolute scale, because that's just going to enrage someone, either from the "he's rubbing our noses in it" end of the spectrum or the "oh my God, I thought someone who sold that well should be a millionaire" end.

And here is the data on my advances and royalty payments, which you can read more detail on here.

Each year since 2013 my income has been a mix of advance payments guaranteed when I sign contracts, and royalties on books that have "earned out". Before 2013 it was just the advance on my first trilogy being paid out in stages.

And that's all I've got!

I have four books out this year, which accounts for much of last year's record total. Next year it will likely be just the one, so things will settle down (boo, hiss!).

And when will I stop being an author? Maybe not until the day I die. But I am sure that my earnings will tail off at sooner or later, at which point I will need to survive on whatever has been squirrelled away in the good years and/or get a day job again.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The Stabbies - reddit r/fantasy awards 2018

The Stabbies are the voted award handed out each year by r/fantasy in many categories, including Best Book, Best Debut, and Best Self-Published Book. 

Check out the official results and the nominations

Unfortunately I can't bring you the top 5 in each category this year as the Stabbies have become a victim of their success and voting was subject to some manipulation this year. To avoid acrimony the organisers are withholding the rankings.

I recused myself from the contest this year since I won the Golden Stabby last year. Though I did contribute to Petros Triantafyllou's The Art of War which won a Stabby for Best Anthology!

The book results (many more categories on site)

Best Fantasy 2018

Bloody Rose - Nicholas Eames

Best Fantasy Debut 2018

The Poppy War - R.F Kuang

Best Self-published / Independent Fantasy 2018

Ghostwater - Will Wight

Congratulations to all!

See the results of the 2017 Award2016 Award2015 Award2014 Award2013 Award and the 2012 Award.

Reddit r/fantasy has 482,000 members (up from 243,000 last year, 145,000 the year before, 85,000 the year before and 69,000 the year before that) and is the most active fantasy forum on the internet. Well worth checking out - though the interface is a steep learning curve at first.

population growth on the sub reddit over the past 7 years 

Saturday, 22 December 2018

A sense of scale!

I was looking at the figures on the sales figures list for bestselling SFF authors over on the Wertzone, and decided to make an infographic scaled by Agatha Christie's sales figures for her detective fiction.
It takes the six bestselling SFF authors of all time to match Christie's record, and it should be noted that this really includes a huge chunk of real world horror/thriller writing from Messrs King, Koontz, and Crichton. George RR Martin sits in 10th place on that list with less than half of Crichton's sales.

So, despite the exciting surge in mainstream acceptance of SFF seen in the last decade or two, fantasy, particularly of the sword swinging variety, is still a small fish in the book ocean!

Sunday, 16 December 2018

A Year in Numbers ... Eight!

It has been a very good 2018 all told! Following on from similar posts at the same time in 201720162015201420132012 and 2011 I record a year of ups and less ups. I take a minute to do the sums and raid the scrapbook.

High points include the release of Grey Sister. Grey Sister turned out to be my eighth novel in a row to make the Goodreads Choice Award semi-final and became my first since the Broken Empire books to make the final ten! Another high point was when Red Sister made the finals of the David Gemmell Legend Award!

And on the 19th of December my Book of the Ancestor short story, Bound, goes on sale. Snag a copy on Amazon!

2018 has seen last of the Broken Empire special edition from Grimoak selling out, with all of the initial 1000 gone, and the announcement of the special edition omnibus for The Red Queen's War. You can pre-order a copy here.

April next year sees the arrival of the third and final Book of the Ancestor, Holy Sister, and the first of my sci-fi series, One Word Kill. Pre-ordering both would be a mark of genius! 
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse card game kickstarter finally delivered! Hoorah for Gallant Knight Games! See the game here and maybe get a deck for Christmas!
I also did my first writing for a computer game, crafting lore and legend and characters for the recently released multiplayer game, Ashen!

Lies, damn lies, and statistics to follow:

I now have almost 250,000 Goodreads ratings and over 600,000 'books added'! The numbers boggle my mind.

Prince of Thorns passed 75,000 ratings and my Goodreads follower count has exploded from 11,475 to 39,489 in 2018!

& some Amazon stats

The blog got its 2.5 millionth hit in 2018, though I have been neglecting it somewhat. Must try harder!

Blog traffic since inception.

I'm still on InstagramPintrest, and Tumblr

And finally, Twitter, where I've broken the 20,000 follower barrier!
Which is really very small beer in the world of tweeting. My biggest follower (Joseph Morgan has 2.5 million followers!)

Many thanks to all my readers for keeping me going! I hope you all have happy holidays!

Saturday, 15 December 2018

My reading in 2018

I've broken my record for recent times and read a staggering 16 books this year. Go me!

And yes, some bloggers read 250+ books a year. I have no idea how they do it or how they absorb so many stories so quickly. I still have elements of these 16 books rolling around my thoughts, if it were 250 I think my head would explode!

See my 2017 reading here.

The rest of my reads in the order I read them.

Demon killing galore. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2018


Prince of Thorns reaches 75,000 ratings on Goodreads today!

I remember wondering if it would reach 1,000 and later being amazed that it had reached 10,000. Sales figures are nice to see, but somehow the fact that 75,000 people have taken the time to rate the book on Goodreads seems a more concrete and impressive number.

75K is a good milestone. Sights now set on six figures!

And of course the younger members of the Lawrence book-family are giving chase. Congratulations are in order for Prince of Fools currently celebrating on 21 and Red Sister recently reaching 18!