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Last week was one of two weeks every year that I receive a royalty check from one of my publishers. There was a time in my career when I used to rely on these for ninety percent of my annual income. Yep, that’s right. Where most people pocket a paycheck twice a month, I used to pocket mine twice a YEAR. That was back when I was writing four or five categories annually for Silhouette. Those books get very small advances, so most of what I made on them came in the form of royalties that arrived months, often years, after publication. Now that I’m writing big books (whose advances are much larger) and only publish one category annually, only about ten percent of my annual income shows up in those royalties.
But it’s still an interesting time when they arrive, because I never know what the money will be like until I open the envelope. There have been times when I’ve been disappointed by checks that were thousands of dollars lower than I was anticipating (and I anticipate conservatively, lemme tell ya), but once there was ten thousand dollars MORE than I expected, thanks to a direct mail reissue of an older title, and we got to do some much needed home improvement.
Some things about royalty week never change, however. Like Xtina, I’m a believer in doing nice things for myself when I can, to reward myself for all the crap I have to put up with being self-employed. (And self-employed in a business rife with ways to tear me down, at that.) So herewith, I give you the top then things I do whenever a royalty check arrives in the mail during the first part of November or the first part of May:
10. Weep with gratitude that it’s finally arrived.
9. Cry out in anguish when I see the amount. (Hey, I said ONCE I was surprised that there was more.)
8. Go to the grocery store and buy enough food to feed the United Arab Emirates.
7. Take a day trip with my family to one of several big cities within two hours of where we live for a little escape time.
6. Give myself, my husband and my son a hundred dollars each to spend on whatever we want.
5. Enjoy a celebratory dinner at one of our favorite restaurants (usually Mitchell’s for seafood).
4. Give myself a day off for a manicure, pedicure, haircut and lunch out alone.
3. Add charms to my charm bracelet for any books that have appeared in print since the last royalty statement.
2. Oh, yeah. Put a little bit in the bank.
And the number one thing I do whenever a royalty check arrives is:
Well, I just can’t seem to get past that weep with gratitude, cry out in anguish thing, so I’m gonna have to stick with that.
So what would you do if you received an unexpected windfall? A surprise bonus at work or a win on the scratch-off game? I’m not talking millions of dollars. Just enough to treat yourself and/or your family to something special. What would you do if you suddenly found yourself with, say, ten thousand bucks you hadn’t expected to receive?
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