Author Topic: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon  (Read 2325 times)

jrh1524

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Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« on: October 01, 2010, 08:27:36 PM »
My girlfriend was telling me today that JK Rowling was a billionair from selling Harry Potter books.  I was very skeptical, saying that she had probably made millions, but wasn't a billionaire.  After a bit of research, sure enough, Mrs. Rowling was indeed a billionair, and even more well off monetarily than the Queen of England... go figure.

Not to pry, but is Mr. Sanderson doing well with selling his books?  I know he has released quite a few so far, and they are very popular.  Is he one of the top paid sci-fi/fantasy authors or near the middle or what?  I'm not trying to find out how much money he makes or anything like that, but just how he ranks compared to others in the field.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 08:29:25 PM by jrh1524 »

ErikHolmes

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2010, 08:50:01 PM »
I think Brandon does pretty well. But keep in mind that people like JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer are in another league. Their books are at the forefront of mainstream books. Rowling as you said is a billionaire from her series, and Meyer makes like fifty million a year from her Twilight books.

My understanding is that for Way of Kings Brandon got something like 1.7 million as an advance for the first four books, but by meeting certain deadlines and sales can earn 2.5 million or more in bonuses, etc.

Then again, Way of Kings sold out like four printings before it even hit the shelves so hopefully its sales will way exceed expectations and Brandon will make even more. He Deserves it!
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Inkthinker

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2010, 09:27:03 PM »


I'd like to see a breakdown that divides how much of Rowling's money comes from actual book sales, and how much comes from "everything else". I'd bet it's a lot.

ErikHolmes

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2010, 09:59:07 PM »
Well, she's sold more then 400 million copies of her books. If you figure that she's getting 20% royalties off each book then she's made a LOT of money off of just the books.

Let me just give you an example:

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince sold in hardback for $21.85 when it first came out.

It sold about 10 million copies in the first 24 HOURS.

That's $4.37 per book, times ten million or about 43 MILLION dollars... in one day.

Then again, the Harry Potter series is the highest grossing film series of all time. It's made more then Star Wars, more then all of the Bond movies, more than LOTR.

But I have no idea how much of that money Rowling sees.
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Inkthinker

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2010, 10:22:35 PM »
Yow. That ain't bad. Can we calculate how many books she's sold overall across the series to date (surely there's a database somewhere, but I don't know what that would be) and do that math?

I still think there's a large chunk of money coming in from the movies, the games, the toys, the (licensed) costumes and accessories, and other miscellaneous merchandise. But perhaps I overestimate the percentage of the total that they represent against the books alone.


ErikHolmes

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2010, 11:23:44 PM »
Even if we lowballed it, said that she averages 15% of each book and that most of those 400 million books were paperbacks for 10 bucks a pop, that's still 600 million in sales. But she's made a lot more than that off her book sales alone. I think she's easily made over one billion off just book sales alone.

I seem to remember that she didn't make a huge amount of money off of her movie deals. I think she got like 2 million for selling the rights to the first four books. Then again, considering they are the highest money makers of all time she probably got to set her price for the rights to books 4-7.
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Inkthinker

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2010, 11:33:13 PM »
Hm... I hope she had a merchandising royalty clause in the movie licensing contracts, at least for 5-8. Otherwise she might not be making much (or anything) off the movie tie-ins.

Even if it were only a fraction of a percent, it'd be enough. Most of the merchandising is directly tied to the movies, especially now.

So maybe you're right, it is majority books.

To bring it back to topic, though, she's an outlier. Her books now represent a media franchise of titanic proportions. A significant percentage of Harry Potter fans have never even read the books, to them it's a movie series.

I think a better example of someone who's at the top of the field would be Pratchett (he's incredibly popular and respected within the genre, but he's not a household name around the world. Though he should be.) or maybe George R.R. Martin. Or heck, Robert Jordan.


Galavantes

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2010, 01:24:53 AM »
Yeah well whatever Brandon is making it isn't enough. I don't think I'm overstating when I say that Brandon's works are quickly becoming the backbone of the entire fantasy genre. He and Martin (Maybe I'll throw in Rothfuss after I read Day 2)  are almost all you need as a fantasy fan. Everything else is just filler.

So someone just give him a billion dollars and let the man write on a beach somewhere.

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2010, 04:53:00 PM »
1.7 million is definitely too high by a LARGE margin.

The really good bonuses only kick in if these books hit the top 3 on the New York Times, and the $2.5 million total is only possible if the first four books all hit #1 on the New York Times. Which obviously can't happen now. ;)

What Tor did pay Brandon was entirely reasonable for how the book has performed. Some companies have given foolish advances such as when Robert Newcomb got a million bucks or something like that. And have paid for it. Tor is not stupid.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 07:13:53 PM by Peter Ahlstrom »
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zarepath

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2010, 05:00:09 PM »
Peter: When you say "too high by a LARGE margin," do you mean too high as in inaccuracy (as in he's definitely not paid $1.7 million), or too high as in Brandon's been treated way too nicely? 

I'm prone to believe you when you say that he's paid very fairly considering the success he's had, though, whatever that number is.

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2010, 12:54:28 AM »
It's a bit of a rude subject, really. It's no more proper to poke into Brandon's finances than it is for me to poke at yours. What Peter's saying is that he is being paid fairly and well. That's about all anyone else needs to know.

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2010, 01:59:41 AM »
He and Martin (Maybe I'll throw in Rothfuss after I read Day 2)  are almost all you need as a fantasy fan. Everything else is just filler.

Um, yeah, wrong. So very very wrong. Like, so wrong you've redefined the word 'wrong'.

Sanderson, Martin, Rothfuss - they're all good, but they are, honestly, but a small segment of fantasy, no matter how big they are. And calling writers like Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, Michael Moorcock, Robert Jordan, etc nothing more than "filler" is a downright insult. By stating such, you are implying that there are no other worthwhile fantasy novels out there, and, again I must declare you so very wrong it is almost painful.

Ouch. Scratch that, it IS painful.

I love Brandon's books. I mean, it should be obvious, if you consider my work on 17thShard.com. But to be honest, he hasn't been around long enough to be a true staple of the genre yet. He will become one, though, in time, and is rising fast. But he isn't quite there yet. Neither is Martin, is you ask me - let the man get some bloody books out on a bloody timely basis and maybe I'll consider it.

To consider all other fantasy "filler" is wrong and insulting, to both the authors who write it, the readers who enjoy it, and the genre as a whole.
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schneb

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2010, 02:51:58 AM »
I wonder if the pre-orders/opening week sales were enough to cover the advance, or if we all need to go buy another copy to make it good.

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2010, 03:28:56 AM »
I mean he's definitely not paid $1.7 million. And if he were that would be too high. I do know the rough numbers, but if Brandon wants to talk about them on his blog (some authors do) that's up to him. There was a press release back when the deal was signed, but all it said was each of the four books has a significant six-figure advance and when combined with 'performance-based bonuses,' the possible total advances on the deal "could exceed $2.5 million."

Anyone who wants to buy a copy of the book to give to someone else is certainly welcome to, but what Brandon really cares about is the book getting read.
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Re: Authors, Monetary Success and Brandon
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2010, 03:49:07 AM »
He and Martin (Maybe I'll throw in Rothfuss after I read Day 2)  are almost all you need as a fantasy fan. Everything else is just filler.
I don't agree with this.

So someone just give him a billion dollars and let the man write on a beach somewhere.
I DO agree with this.
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