Today, I received a check from SF (my former lit agent) for SURE AS SUNRISE: STORIES OF BRUH RABBIT AND HIS WALKIN' TALKIN' FRIENDS. After three years, it's earned out the advance! HM advanced a fair amount on this title, so I'm especially happy to have earned it out. The royalty wasn't much, less than $60.00 minus commission. Still, when the next editor or art director considering me for a book asks for my recent royalty statements, I'll be proud to whip this one out.
For this, I am appreciative to so many people — teachers, librarians, students, friends, family — who supported this book. But especially, I thank Texas librarians who graced this title with the Texas Bluebonnet Award (2006-07 Master List). That honor, along with the Aesop Accolade, is what helped get the word out about this great book.
Of all the milestones in the life of a book — advance, completion of art, release date, mentions in prominent journals, awards, so on — earning back the advance is one of the most gratifying aspects to me. Receiving a royalty statement with an unearned balance makes me squirm. Leaves me feeling like I've reneged on a loan (even though an advance isn't a loan, but payment for hard work).
Earning out an advance comes with little to no fanfare. No congratulatory letter like when you receive a nice review or win an award. Just a royalty report and a check. On second thought, a check — even a small one — is better than a worthless ole congratulatory letter any day.