A Dose of Hard Reality

Time for some numbers. Why? Because like a lot of writers, I want to be able to make a living from my novel writing. So what’s it gonna take?

Here are the numbers. A single sale on Bookhabit nets me about $1. If I sold my books through Parus Press, at $15 per hard copy, I would retain about 7% from each sale – or $1.05.

In other words, I get about a buck from every book. That’s a real easy number to remember.

But if I want to make a living doing this… yeah, that’s a lot of books to sell. Per year.

I can try to write one bestseller, or I can try to write many books that might do okay. If I can sell better than 10K per book per year, then I have a shot at making a living this way. Otherwise, it just won’t happen.

Of course I’m going for it! What kind of question is that? I just want to be upfront about what it will take. I have so many stinkin’ novels in me I have to write them, and the more I’m able to write and put out there, the greater chance I have of selling more of all of it. But that’s what it will take.

Yeah, there are a lot of easier ways to make a buck. That’s not why I’m doing this. I’m doing it because I love writing – and who wouldn’t want to get paid for doing what they love?

Word Girl

I’m sitting here in the basement, and my children have decided this is the perfect time to watch television right behind me. Sarah (oldest) just excitedly dashed upstairs to get her siblings because “Word Girl” is on PBS.

I asked them what it was all about. She said, “It’s our favorite cartoon. It’s the only one on PBS with violence.”

Yep. These are Pastor’s kids. Sigh.

So What Else Is New?

Okay, so yesterday’s post was whiney. Get over it. You, me, whomever. We’re moving on.

There are a lot of new ideas I’m working on. In fact, I have several novels in the works. There are three sequels to The Coppersmith planned.

  • Topheth – an arsonist in Rochester New York is targeting churches. Janelle teams up with Curtis Bold again to stop him before he turns the Christian witness in this city to ashes. It’s currently about 100 pages.
  • Jezebel – just after Topheth is stopped, Janelle is immediately called away to Albany, New York, where men in a particular group of churches are being murdered. Someone has a peculiar penchant for injecting snake venom into their throats (yeah, gross, but it makes sense once the story takes off). This is around 24 pages
  • Puzzle – some years later, I expect. This happens in North Carolina (I think). A serial killer is playing games with the BAU. He is reenacting famous situational puzzles (think: a man lies dead in the room. The door is locked, the window is shut. Nothing is broken in the room except a pencil which lies in two on the floor.). Janelle teams up with Ron again to put together the pieces to the Puzzle before he destroys them all. Not even outlined yet.

In addition, I’m working up a screen play called “Age of Reason.” It’s a story about what happens when an archaeologist claims to have found the bones of Jesus of Nazareth – and DNA tests on the Shroud of Turin confirm it! (Gee, should I give away the ending?)

Another novel is called Autograph. It is the story of what happens when an archaeologist stumbles upon an ancient manuscript that may be in the original handwriting of the Apostle Paul. It’s more of an action/adventure story – not as dark, but definitely suspenseful. Autograph is around 70 pages right now.

The Novem is a science-fiction story centered around a group of students at an Institute. They have been implanted with microchips which enable them to directly access the Internet from their minds. Someone is hacking into them, and causing them to kill themselves. The Novem has about 104 pages.

One of my favorites is a story called St. Jude. It’s gone through several revisions before I felt comfortable enough to really outline it. St. Jude is the tale of a recently released pedophile who attempts to start living right and starts going to church. The reactions of the town and church people will explore the application of grace.

Another one dealing directly with grace is Heart of Stone. In this story a sociopath (ie: feels no emotion) comes forward after twenty years and confesses to a kidnapping and murder – for which he had been paid a substantial ransom. His reason: he believes in heaven and hell, and wants to be saved–but feels no remorse. At issue is the question of whether or not an emotional response is needed for salvation – or if it can be accomplished on purely legal grounds. Something like that. I have a handful of pages written for this.

There are a number of other thoughts, but these bear mentioning as the most likely stories which I will complete and submit – or make available through the Internet like The Coppersmith.

I will share samples from these in days to come.