Tuesday, February 02, 2010

thank goodness for royalty checks!

Hello folks. So, I finally got my W2s back. For 2009 (I don't know if any of you had noticed) I had NO books out. I remember freaking out when I knew this would happen--there were a few reasons--I was sick, I had an editor out with a baby, and so on. I also remember being assured that it wouldn't matter because I'd sell other stuff during that year that would make up for it (didn't happen). So what did this leave me with? One part of a book advance for my book coming out in 2010. ONE PART. THAT'S IT. And trust me, it's not that much money at all. We're talking just a bit over 10,000. Can I possibly live off of that for a year??? Heck no!

So for one thing, I'm sick of people asking me why I need a part time job. This is why. I need a back up when stuff like this happens. And, of course, I need the health insurance. People with autoimmune diseases can't get health insurance these days too easily without working for a large employer. I was having some hope in Obama but I'm thinking that it might not happen... but I'm getting really off track here. Anyway, my point is that ALIENS has sold quite well and some of my other books are starting to as well. You don't know how nice it is to get a surprise check in the mail when you're about to get another one of those zero APR credit cards to pay the rent with. My royalty checks weren't for that much money either but they were for just enough to get me through the rough parts. Hallelujah. (yes, I had to google this word because I'm a terrible speller. Two thumbs up for using google as a spell-check device!)

Still, I don't know how I manage. I really don't. I'm so SICK of being poor. You'd think by now that I wouldn't have to go through this.


p.s - my part time job earns me under 10,000 a year. Go me!


Grace Lin said...

Yes, I LOVE royalty checks---they are like surprise gifts in the mail. Though they always go to pay mundane things for me, like dentist bills and mortgages.

Stephanie Roth Sisson said...

...before I was married and I could get onto my husband's health insurance, worrying about paying medical stuff was a huge concern of mine. I really don't know how I survived all of those years. I did it partly by becoming an apartment manager for the apartments I lived in (that took care of most of my housing) and then I supplemented with odd jobs...It was a tough road at times not having any idea of when the next book would come up...also getting a part time or other job proved a challenge because when a book project did come up, I had to devote most of my time to that and work nutty hours...

Anyhow, I feel for you. Your books are so fabulous and funny...I hope those royalty checks flow on for years and years and you can put your energy into the next great book or creative endeavor.

Anna Alter said...

I was hopeful health care reform would make medical costs easier for us freelancers too, but I guess thats a long shot now. Sometimes I wish I lived in one of those "socialist" countries where health care isn't just for those who can afford it!

Anonymous said...

Please list all of your published books. I bet many of us readers will go buy them. Although you may not be impressed with your career right now, I sure am. I wish I could get a $10,000 advance for a book. All I get are Honorable Mentions for my poems.

What you need is a breakthrough book that will take off and I hope it happens soon. Your down-to-earthness makes your blog interesting and gratifying since many of us share what you feel. You're real. (Darn, didn't mean to make that rhyme.)

Meghan McCarthy said...

Thanks Anonymous. I want people to know what it's really like. A lot of my earlier books are out of print, but the ones that are are Aliens Are Coming, Strong Man, City Hawk, Seabiscuit the Wonder Horse, Astronaut Handbook... and I think that's it.

Christine Tripp said...

I prefer to call Canada "Civilized" rather then "Socialist" but I'll take either:)
Anna, Meghan, I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the US to be one of the last Countries to come on board the Universal Health care wagon. There are far too many VERY wealthy people, with excellent medical coverage (and the money to not care even if they didn't) and they are not about to go along with the income tax involved in supplying medical care to those with less. What will they do if their pool guy gets sick and can't work? Heck, just hire another one.
Obama might have meant well but.... the rich are also the ones with a lot of financial influence over politicians. It's just really wrong that Cuban's have care but Americans don't. Not sure why the health of all is not seen as a good thing for any Country.
Off that political/social soapbox.
Meghan, you probably never wanted to do this again (if you ever did) but with your ink sketches you were posted a while back, had you ever considered the ed market? Your commercially published art would be far too labour intensive to do the ed books but there is money to be made on them if you can find and use a faster medium. Maybe not always royalties but decent lump sum payments.
Chapter books, Early readers?
You have such a humourous, cartoon flair to your drawings.
I'm sure you have thought of this, not a new idea but I'd personally rather do ed then try and get more hours at the book store.