September 4, 2015 Leave a comment
It’s that time of year when my royalty statements come in, from four different companies. Believe me, it cost more to send a couple of them than the amount printed on the statements.
What’s the best royalty statement (or check) you ever got?
Many of us are disappointed, or begrudgingly shake our heads with acceptance of a small or non-existent royalty because we’re still earning out our advance.
It’s easy to wonder… is it worth it? And when e-book publishers give royalties only, “No advance” doesn’t motivate like a contract with at least a small advance.
We don’t write for money? No… but if we don’t get money with writing, we have to get a paying job, so yes we want money so we can write.
Sort of reminds me of “good works don’t save you, only acceptance of Jesus” and yet, if we are saved and have Jesus then good works follow. James says, “faith without works is dead.” The two go together.
How nice if writing and money could go together. Other professions in which Christians work pay money, including the ministry/work of a pastor. The primary purpose isn’t for money, but without the money how does one survive?
My first published piece was seven rhyming lines of iambic pentameter for which I received $2.57 (strange amount) – was it worth it? Oh yes, happiness galore, great joy. I became a published writer, a professional making money, and that’s before I even attended a writers conference.
When I am penniless (almost) and bewail my plight of poverty, I get a letter or email saying how my book changed a life.
My book, In Shady Groves (story of Hosea and Gomer), helped save a marriage. A man called me and thanked me (later sent me a gift). His wife could not forgive herself for her actions and this book helped her realize God forgives her, her husband forgave her, and she could forgive herself. There’s no amount of money worth that!
One of my novels had a main character who visited the young woman she had sponsored when they both were young. Other of my stories included mention of sponsoring children in other countries. Readers have written to say those stories influenced them to sponsor a child. Maybe the money on the royalty statement didn’t show a lot of sales, but if one child was given a chance in life by a reader, because of the story, then that’s the payment.
A woman wrote to me, saying she was not a Christian but my book made her think, and she was going to read it again. That’s a better reward than a few dollars.
Most writers have stories like that to tell. That’s why it makes me wonder about the phrase, “don’t self promote.” I have yet to hear a writer promote self. We promote our books, articles, devotions, etc. that God has enabled us to create, and these stories touch other lives. The product of our profession needs to be promoted.
But… at those times of the year when royalty statements come and they are a disappointment we can thank God we are in a profession that ministers and touches the lives of others in positive ways. And as I write, I probably learn the faith message embedded, and need it, even more than my readers.
Through the years I’ve probably bemoaned my failure about royalty statements more than I have thanked God for the surprising ones and even a couple abundant ones (never got rich!).
Eventually, I think about my best royalty statement. Galatians 3:26 says, “You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Jesus Christ is King of kings, Lord of lords. I’m his child. That makes me a princess.
What better Royalty Statement could there be?
YVONNE LEHMAN is author of 56 novels, founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for 25 years, and is now director of the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat held October 18-22. Registration now ongoing. Click Novel Retreat or http://ridgecrestconferencecenter.org/event/novelist. Great faculty: DiAnn Mills, Lynette Eason, Eva Marie Everson, Eddie Jones, Torry Martin, Edie Melson, Robert Whitlow, Diana Flegal, Lori Marett, Ann Tatlock. We’ll see Robert’s movie, Mountain Top, have a six-hour class on Social Media, have critiques, contests, classes on craft of writing including writing scripts. Also private appointments with faculty and half a day on Brainstorming. Would love for you to join us!