So I Earned Out On FLEX. Let's Celebrate!

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 10.854% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I got my royalty check the other day, and I learned several very nice things about my debut book Flex:
I Earned Out.  
This is a very happy deal, because when publishers buy your novel, they pay you an advance fee.
That up-front cash is all many authors ever see.
What happens after that is a bit like a loan – the publishers have paid you thousands of dollars when they bought the book, and every sale after that goes to paying off your advance.  Once you’ve sold enough books to pay it down, you’ve “earned out,” and after that every book sold puts new money in your pocket.
Earning out is a rite of passage among authors, and I wasn’t expecting to do it on Flex, and yet yesterday I got a check for $221 – not a big royalty, to be sure, but definitely enough to pay the light bill.  And that means every book I sell from today on for Flex will eventually generate another check.
So, you know, thanks for buying it, talking about it, recommending it.  This is a very happy day for me.
I’ve Sold Nearly Double My “Fuck You, Ferrett” Number Of Copies.  
As you’ll recall, I am a relentless neurotic.  You can give me any triumph, no matter how cataclysmic, and within days I’ll pull it apart.
So when I sold Flex, I made a secret bargain with myself.  I chose a number of copies sold – a number that, according to nebulous sources, was the number of copies the average book sold in its lifetime – and added a thousand copies on top of that.
If I sold that many copies, I could never ever complain again about Flex’s sales.  I had beaten my goal.  I could only say good things about how Flex was doing.  That was my “Fuck You, Ferrett,” number, the number I could use to bludgeon my brainweasels into oblivion.
As of yesterday’s royalty statement, I had sold nearly double that “Fuck You, Ferrett” number.  (Well, 178%, but close enough among friends, say I.)
So: Yay!
…And That’s Only Through December 31st, 2015.
I was cheering all day yesterday, and then looked at the statement again, and realized that my “Fuck You, Ferrett” number was only tallying books sold in 2015.
…I’d somehow achieved 178% of my “Fuck You, Ferrett” number in only nine months.
The last five months of book sales hadn’t even been counted.
So, you know, this doesn’t make me a bestseller or anything – a $221 royalty check means I can buy you a beer, but not champagne – but it’s a happy personal triumph.  I’ll probably sell more copies of Flex when Fix, the third and final book in the ‘Mancer series, arrives this September – and I just got my preliminary editorial notes on that, which look good.  (He said “Book 3 is very good, better than Book 2, which was better than Book 1.”  So hey, prepare to have hearts broken.)
So this is just a happydance.  My debut book did way better than I expected.  Is that an objective triumph?  I don’t know.  Solid mid-tier book sales numbers are hard to come by, as the public data usually reveals either Harry Potter smash bestseller numbers or nothing.  I honestly don’t know whether my “Fuck You, Ferrett” number was chosen accurately.
We’ll see when I discuss exactly how many copies I made in a future post!  But today?  We celebrate.


  1. Skennedy
    May 17, 2016

    Congratulations, Ferrett. It’s a good book, and deserves to sell well; I’m pleased for you! *toasts*

  2. Heidi Mull
    May 18, 2016

    Congratulations Ferrett!!! Great idea on picking a number, I play those sorts of games with myself all the time to overcome my jerkbrain tendencies.
    Hey, when are you making a book out of all your most informative essays? I’d buy that in a heartbeat. Fiction usually isn’t my thing but the way you write about navigating life is totally up my alley, and I’d personally love to see you reaping tangible rewards from that, too.

    • TheFerrett
      May 27, 2016

      I would, but nobody’s biting yet. We’ll see if I can work it, but getting that package up is a huge deal.

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