The Heron Kings Has Earned Out!

The Heron Kings Has Earned Out!

Last week I received a slim envelope from my bank in the mail. Oh, great, I thought, what is it now? Through the thin paper I could make out the words Flame Tree Publishing. Crap. It’s something to do with my book. A bit of mild panic set in. Were they canceling the contract for The Heron Kings’ Flight? Did they want their advance back? Did they just take right out of my bank account without asking me because it’s 2021 and corporations to whatever they please to whomever they please???

I opened it right then and there without even going inside. One sheet of paper. A few lines. A…wire transfer statement. Huh. Wait, it was a transfer to me, from the publisher? Okay hold on, lemme read this thing. Well, you could’ve knocked me over with a feather. Or a grain of sand. A C60 Buckyball would do it. It was a payment. A royalty payment. Royalties for my first novel, The Heron Kings, for the first two quarters of this year. The amount was…not much, but we won’t talk about that. It was money, in addition to my advance that I had already been paid.

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What does this mean? If you’re not familiar with how the basics of publishing work, you could be forgiven for asking this. An advance is paid to the author on or before a book’s release, the amount based on how many copies they expect to sell. You don’t see any more money until the amount you get from the book’s earnings, usually 15-ish percent of the revenue, matches the advance. This is called “earning out the advance,” and many books don’t actually get to that point. Earning out is usually a good sign that the book has met or exceeded the publisher’s expectations, and it is definitely no longer a waste of money.

I kind of understood these things, but I wasn’t sure if this was the case or if there’d been some mistake. I’ve been watching the book’s rank on Amazon (cursed be its name) and it is not selling at all, even the Ebook, but I don’t have access to actual sales numbers. Well, I got up the courage to email the publisher’s accountant and ask straight out. Yesterday she got back to me and confirmed that yes, The Heron Kings had indeed earned out. Yay! Now, it was a very tiny advance, token really, so in money terms this doesn’t mean much. What it does mean is that they should be more enthusiastic going forward about publishing my second book, The Heron Kings’ Flight which we already have a contract for, and possibly my third, The Heron Kings Rampant which I’m drafting now.

This is an extreme relief to me, since I have considered (and to some degree, still consider) the book to be a failure. After all, no one’s buying it, reviewing it or posting about it on any of the online groups dedicated to similar books. But at least enough are that there might be some further role for those ornery rebels yet to play in my world before its ending. Even if no one likes them, they’re still here. I can empathize.

 

heron kings logo The Heron Kings by Eric Lewis dark grimdark fantasy novel