Pennies From New York

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006 • 1 Comment on Pennies From New York

There was an envelope from my agent in the mail the other day.  I was rather surprised to see her handwriting and my heart jumped a little bit.  Back in the day when I was writing and submitting novels, envelopes from my agent meant a couple of things: a revision letter from an editor or a royalty check from my one book sale.  My heart would do this little flutter every time I saw an envelope from my agent, even though I almost always knew the contents already because she’d either called or e-mailed to tell me to expect a revision letter or a check (or just a financial statement about my book).

This time, I had no idea what to expect.  My agent doesn’t represent my short fiction and it’s been quite some time (4 years?) since I’ve submitted a novel to any publisher.  It’s been even longer since my book sale (8 years) and I’ve long since been paid for even the most obscure foreign sales, so I couldn’t imagine what the contents of the envelope could be.  There are a couple of manuscripts that made the rounds so many times it’s possible some editor who was still in high school when I submitted it might have discovered it on a shelf somewhere and decided to publish it.  I can hope, right?

But no, it wasn’t a letter to tell me I’d sold a long-lost book.  It was a royalty check for, apparently, a reprint sale of my book to France.  Books occasionally get picked up for foreign reprints, though generally not this long after the original publication.  Still, a sale is always nice, even if it’s a small sale.  And I mean very small.  $3.41, to be exact.  Granted, there was some accounting thingy on there noting that the actual sale was a little over thirty bucks, but due to some negative number (perhaps I was overpaid for another foreign sale?  I can hardly remember, as it’s been several years since I received a royalty check), once all was said and done, my check was for $3.41.  Woo.  I should celebrate!  Perhaps I’ll buy a… hmm… tall iced mocha from Starbucks.  Sorry, I can’t treat anyone this time, but the outstanding payments for my anthology sales add up to about two hundred times that, so I could buy dinner for a few of you if you don’t mind waiting until the end of summer when I will (hopefully) see most of that money.

My little windfall reminded me of how nice it is to get royalty checks in the mail.  I think I need to spend my summer break doing what I can to generate some more of those.  After I finish this crazy summer semester, of course.

Posted by Kristina in Writing
  • Well, who knows? If you can sell at this late date to France, maybe there are more foreign sales on the way. There are—what?—like 100 countries out there. That’s $300 at least.

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