It’s The Principle of the Thing

I had a new experience the other day. For the first time since my return to creative writing, I earned royalties for a short story. Specifically, I received an amount proportionate to the number of words my “One of Us Is Dying” occupied in Death of a Bad Neighbour. It was a surprise, and quite welcome. Just as novelists only rarely make more than their advance money, so too do short story writers typically rely on the payment upon acceptance.

Of course, as shorts are, well, short, we’re not talking much here. In rock and roll band terms, it’s what we call “gas money.” But I’m tickled, not least because it means that Jack Calverley (the anthology’s editor) has made enough to deal his authors another hand. And in fact, compared to my musician friends, I’m doing pretty well. For example…

A very good friend of mine is the principal songwriter and driving force behind a progressive rock group that has gained significant critical acclaim over the course of the band’s several-decade, multi-album career. The last time I was at his home in the Nashville burbs, I noticed he had one of his royalty checks framed on his home studio wall. It was a three-digit figure, but two were to the right of the decimal point. He tells me that he routinely gets royalty checks for less than the postage required to send them to him.

The best one, however, may involve my friend (and occasional commenter) Michael Dearing. Mike was the bassist for a formerly Very Big Act when the VBA was at her Very Biggest. (VBA has since dropped into obscurity — I’m not saying it’s because she dropped Mike, but I’m not saying it isn’t, either.) When I say he was the bassist, I mean for the touring band — the usual hired guns played on the sessions (Welcome to Nashville.) As part of the touring band, he made TV appearances backing VBA, and for one of them, he received a residuals check.

For two cents.

So comparatively speaking, my royalty payment is big league, in that it’s enough for me to get my usual at Taco Bell. Twice. With a drink each time. (And of course, you can help me repeat the experience by buying the book, if you haven’t already done so.) While I might not be diving into vaults of cash a la Scrooge McDuck, it’s a great feeling to have a story earn a little more than I expected.

Ah, the glories of showbiz.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Culture, Literature, Music, Pixel-stained Wretchery, Why I Do What I Do. Bookmark the permalink.

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