Here's a wonder: I'm a million dollar baby.
After glancing at my most recent royalty statements, I went back through the years and totalled up the gross earnings on all of my books (the amount my books have made for the publishers). I was astounded to discover that my books have earned more than a million dollars for these publishing firms . . . and probably closer to two million.
Of course, I've only seen a small fraction of these dollars over the past fourteen years, since my books have never sold enough copies to earn me the upper-echelon of royalty percentages, but I have to feel good about what my creativity and work have provided. I've helped to employ editors, printers, publicists, accountants, and even loggers. And when I think about what my books have provided for just one of these publishers in particular, my books have most certainly paid the editor's salary . . . just my work alone.
I don't feel badly about this. I feel blessed to be able to create in this way, and to help make publishers successful. I love the work of writing, and meeting editors, and trying to work out deals and contracts.
Although publishing has changed dramatically in the past five years, and most publishers don't want to work with mid-list authors like me (everyone wants a best-seller and a million dollar baby!) I am still proud of the work I've produced . . . work that has most certainly "turned a profit" for every single publisher who has worked with me.
I'm not a million dollar earner. But I am a writer who has produced a million dollars in revenue for others . . . which gives me some satisfaction as I cash my $40 royalty checks twice a year. And come to think of it, I've written most of my books for free.
Anyone else out there want to publish one of my books? I've got lots of them now. They are stacked up like wood in my closet and saved on a hundred floppy disks.
And who knows, one of them might be the next million dollar book!