PDA

View Full Version : What would this writer earn?



lachel
06-21-2011, 06:08 AM
One of my characters is married to an author, who strikes it big. I'd like to know exactly what that means. He writes middle grade fiction, and he had a few mildly popular books and then started writing a series that is very popular: like Lemony Snicket popular. It was made into two or three movies, there's some licensing (I'm not entirely sure what yet), and maybe a TV show. Maybe he just sold the option for a TV show?

Can someone give me an idea of what is a realistic ballpark amount for him to be making in royalties, licensing deals, etc? I also assume there was a lot of money all at once, when the movie/tv/product deals were made, but also a few steady years of royalties. It's a very controversial book, as it includes a lot of bad language and obnoxious children, and it's always on the ALA's list of "most banned books."

Would he realistically be able to buy a house that costs maybe 2-3 million? He lives in an expensive area of the country, so while that's obviously a whole lot more than any house I'll ever live in costs, I want it to be a "very nice, ocean view, but not crazy extravagant" sort of thing.

LloydBrown
06-21-2011, 06:26 AM
The details vary by the contract. Some contracts are very good, while others are not. The house you describe would certainly be possible based on what you've described. A series of books could mean a few hundred thousand (based on 100,000 total sales, some of which is foreign-language rights, royalty on gross, better terms on the later books, and at least 5 titles in the series). Two to three theatrical releases means, in all likelihood, at least $120 million gross for the studio. Add in merchandising and TV, and it's possible for him to have a short-term annual income in the millions.

Also, people do overbuy, so even if he just had 1 million, he could have managed to get the house. Whether or not he keeps it might be an issue for the sequel.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-21-2011, 01:09 PM
Don't you watch the 'Castle' documentary series? ;)

lachel
06-22-2011, 02:57 AM
The details vary by the contract. Some contracts are very good, while others are not. The house you describe would certainly be possible based on what you've described. A series of books could mean a few hundred thousand (based on 100,000 total sales, some of which is foreign-language rights, royalty on gross, better terms on the later books, and at least 5 titles in the series). Two to three theatrical releases means, in all likelihood, at least $120 million gross for the studio. Add in merchandising and TV, and it's possible for him to have a short-term annual income in the millions.

Also, people do overbuy, so even if he just had 1 million, he could have managed to get the house. Whether or not he keeps it might be an issue for the sequel.

Thanks for the info, that is very helpful. Also to think about all the various different things that would bring in money. I hadn't even thought about things like foreign-language rights, though obviously such a bestseller would have one.

A quick question about the movie rights: that sort of thing is in the original book contract, right? Or is it something negotiated later?


Don't you watch the 'Castle' documentary series? ;)

LOL, no I don't know what the Castle series is... is there a writer on it? Sorry to be so culturally out of it.

Drachen Jager
06-22-2011, 05:12 AM
Castle is a procedural cop show about a writer in New York. He was being sarcastic when he suggested it as reference material. It is funny, well acted and written, but not accurate.

thothguard51
06-22-2011, 05:24 AM
If he has a good agent, each right is negotiated separately.

lachel
06-22-2011, 05:54 AM
I'll give him a good agent, for maximum income. :)

The nuts and bolts aren't hugely important, though obviously I want to get them right. He's actually a fairly minor character, even if he is my main character's husband. I wanted something that would move them up in the world very quickly: I was thinking about a space of 2 years between publication and when they could buy this house? By then the first movie would be released, and the second one filming, and he's be churning out the series at 3 or 4 per year, with a plan to write 10 total. Does that sound realistic?

I also needed something that would make him travel for long stretches: I figure book tours, festivals, signings, and meetings would explain that. It also offers some low-level fame, so everyone has an opinion: the books are controversial among adults because of bad language and rude characters, but kids love them.

This is all pretty minor in my story, but I was looking at house prices in the sorts of towns I'd like to set the story in, and wondering if I was over or underestimating just how lucrative this success would be, and if I should find something else.

dreamcatcher
07-02-2011, 10:54 AM
On average, authors get 10% of a book's RRP. So say a novel costs $25 and the author gets about $2.30, and sells a million books, that's $2,300,000 profit. That's already a lot of money. I think it's very achievable in 2-3 years on the book alone, assuming it's widely famous.

dreamcatcher
07-02-2011, 10:55 AM
Btw, apologies is my maths is incorrect! :P

Dix
07-02-2011, 11:09 AM
I'm currently reading Lisey's Story by Stephen King. Lisey, the main character, is the widow of a famous and successful author. All increments of wealth are apparent in the story but no monetary detail, no "nuts and bolts." I can see how you might feel you need that info for yourself, as the writer, so you can have the right take on the progression for your character's circumstances (obviously King has it first hand), but, as the reader, I've not given it a thought. It just is.