I'm an established full-time author - willing to answer questions if you have them



I’ve ordered your novels back in 2015, so I have a lot of copies at home.

Will be answering indepth.


That money is larger than – and separate from – money he earns from the book.


but the fact that he only earns a thousand dollars a year from his book is mind blowing.

esp since i see his books all over the place right now.


I’m not sure he does. He probably has an “option” on his work (someone who has agreed to license the books in film and are doing an adaptation) – I do, too. But an “option” is a long way from a produced film. There are many steps in-between, script, director, actors, financing. Once a film starts production chances are pretty good, but even a fair share of those don’t make it to release. A movie deal is only “real” once it is finished and scheduled for release.

I thought you were considering self-publishing the translation - which would be hard. But to answer your question. Yes, publishers will buy translation rights. For instance, my Riyria books are translated to Japanese (and 12 other languages) but those deals come from “picking up” a work that was first published in English. When published traditionally you’ll have more chances of getting translation deals. When I was self-published I had a few (but they were smaller markets and lower advances) the big markets generally only take traditionally published works.


Nice! Thanks for the support. I hope you’ll enjoy them.


It is. But it comes in different ways. To get “the option” is generally very small…maybe $2,000 - $10,000 and the “smaller the book” (from sales) the smaller that number. If filming starts, there is usually another payment and that can be larger. Then if the film is released there generally another payment. Most authors don’t get a “cut of the box office receipts” - they are paid one fee that is spread out (and paid only if that milestone is reached).


Well, if the movie becomes a reality his book sales WILL increase. Not too long ago Jeff Vandermeer had a movie released of his books. He “briefly” (a few months) came on the Top 100 Fantasy Authors list on Amazon but has faded off again.


this article seems to make it sound as if it’s a done deal.

anyway no, i dont wanna do the translation myself lol. but thanks for thinking so highly of me =D

can you shed some light on how these translation deals go about and how much the author takes? it seems like once a trad publisher takes your book, you get a tiny sum of whatever money which is kinda sad


yea but still earning 1k from a book that is everywhere right now is…really sad to hear about


To elaborate a bit on movie deals… as Michael says, usually the book gets optioned first. How that works is that someone who wants to produce a movie of your book will give you a small amount of money (small in movie-making terms - thousands or tens of thousands of dollars). In return, you promise not to allow anyone else to produce a movie of your book for a certain amount of time - a couple of years is typical. If, by the end of that time, the movie hasn’t started production, the producer can either pay you some more money to renew the option for a couple more years, or let it lapse. In the latter case, you keep the money and can allow someone else to option your book or produce a movie.

The reason it works like this is that making a movie is a complex and expensive process, and a large number of people have to come together to make it happen. (And to be fair, it’s also because movies are a high-stakes business - a big movie can cost tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. If it’s successful, it can take ten times that at the box office.) Having an option on a book allows the producer some time to have a screenplay written, find a director, maybe find some actors, and convince the studio executives to finance the movie… without having to worry that the author will pull the rug from under them by selling the movie rights to someone else who came in with a higher offer.

Most books that are optioned never go on to have a movie produced. Some writers think this is the best of both worlds - from the writer’s point of view, if the movie is never made, they still have some free money, but they don’t have to worry about Hollywood ruining the story, or deal with fans who are upset that a character on screen looks nothing like how they imagined him…


As far as self-publishing, then, is there a “best” platform to use? Amazon, etc?

And is it true there’s a ton more work on your end because you have to self promote and self market?


p.s. loved your bio on amazon. Actually very inspiring…Can your wife give my husband tips on taking over publication tasks? Haha.


Don’t some contracts give the publisher the option for publishing your next book? It’s only if they don’t want it that you’re free to look elsewhere or self-pub.


Np, I have the titles The Riyria Chronicles
, and Age of Myth. I’ll get around to reading them soon.


Tina Engler (pen name = Jade Black).

She wrote erotic romance which she called (and trademarked) “romantica.” I guess it had too much sex back then so every publisher rejected her. So she basically self-published (this was before KDP) and sold (e-book only) on her own website (Ellora’s Cave).

When she was successful, the same traditional publishers that had rejected her begged her to publish with them. I believe she did even though she was now a publisher herself. But they did come knocking on her door.

Of course the success of KDP put Ellora’s Cave out of business.


I have a friend who received an unsolicited 6-figure offer from a Big 5 in her email. She deleted it as she thought it was joke spam. It was for real :wink:

Mind you this was a few years ago when her genre (NA) blew up really hot and the Big 5 were poaching the top sellers. She’s also a multiple USA Today/NYT bestseller and (in my biased opinion) an incredibly hard working and talented indie with a voracious fan base.

From what I understand such unsolicited approaches don’t happen any more.



I’m interested in self-publishing my books someday. I’ve already completed five manuscripts years ago. I’m currently doing the research and preparing a list of professionals to help me polish a professional product.

You mentioned after you put out the first book and let it sit and work on another book then once you get three books out–you can market them.

If I already have written those number of books and after I polish them where they can compete with traditional books, should I market one book at a time?

You also mentioned in another comment to wait about 6 to 9 months before putting out the second book. So when my second book is already polished, should I still wait that 6-9 months before releasing that second book?

I’m also currently writing my sixth book too. Should I go ahead and take a break from writing to market my other books?

Lastly, is there a self-publishing guide that lists the best and experienced editors, cover artists, etc? I’m building my list of professionals and was wondering if there were any websites that might have a list like that.

Thank you.


Yes, I’m aware of that article…and no, it doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. His chances are certainly better than many authors. But it’s still a LONG, LONG, LONG way and I’d say it’s still less than 5% chance of being made. I wouldn’t be counting those chickens yet.

On translation – I meant you’d be PAYING for someone to do it for you.

In traditional publishing, foreign translation deals will depend if you sold “English language rights” or "All language rights as part of the original contract. FWIW I HIGHLY recommend you ONLY do English language – and if possible limit it to North American rather than World…the reason? You can get more money by selling those unsold rights to other publishers.

So, foreign publishers have “scouts” that watch the English market and look for books that (a) sell well and (b) are well received (have high ratings). If the see something that looks interesting, they reach out to see if the rights are currently sold or if they are available. If available, they’ll work with your representative, that rep will determine if the publisher is (a) legit (b) well-respected for quality releases and © pays their bills. Now who your “rep” is will depend on if you sold those foreign rights as part of your English contract. If yes, then it will be your publisher (and not you) that says “yea” or “nay” and you have no say over any part of it. And you loose some % of the sale (usually 50% but sometimes just 40%). When you keep the rights. The rep is you and your agent and you keep all of the money (minus agent fees, of course).


It’s actually much better than some authors my wife tracks. To put it in perspective…when the same tool is used on my books the calculation comes out comes up to $288,000 - $360,000 a year, - but I have (a) 2 self-published titles (which earn well) and (8 traditional titles). More books definitely make a big difference.


All exactly correct.