Discover more from The Ladybird Purse • Opening up about money
“Eight weeks later, I got a new book deal for half a million pounds.”
Following up on the anonymous TikTok author.
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This anonymous interview from the end of last year is one of my most popular posts.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, a few friends have recently got huge deals and I’m planning to write about it more, so I messaged them all asking for a quote. This reply made me so happy, I decided it deserved its own follow-up post.
Read the original interview first here:
It's completely mad how much things can turn around in a short period of time. Around two months before my life changed immeasurably, I did this interview and shared how precarious my financial position was, but also that I felt pathologically and unjustifiably optimistic.
You asked, Keris, what I would do with an unexpected windfall of £10k. The idea almost brought me to tears.
Eight weeks later, I got a new book deal for half a million pounds.
Just typing that still feels ludicrous. It's hard to explain to people outside the industry how rare that is. The money itself is unusual, yes, but also the fact that I'm not a shiny debut (for whom such mad advances are mostly reserved) nor a huge bestseller.
I have a modest sales track; my debut, for which I received a £12k advance, still hasn't earned out. My TikTok does quite well, as we talked about, but not well enough to warrant such an enormous figure.
The deal was about the story and the story alone. I can't tell you how electrifying that realisation was. That despite all the bullshit, you can still write a really fucking good book, and it can get publishers that excited.
This was the fifteenth manuscript I've ever written, and it will be my tenth published novel. It is, I will admit, a lot better than the previous nine (which brings a lot of angst in itself, because how the hell am I supposed to replicate it ohmygod). I had pretty much accepted that I was never going to be one of those huge earners, but maybe with a steady backlist and a solid output, I could carve out a livable income for myself.
Then suddenly, two days after going on sub, I got a phone call telling me I was going to be rich. In the three weeks after that, I sold more foreign rights than I had in the previous ten years of my career.
If I'm honest, I still haven't processed it at all. The signing payment has hit my account, and I've paid off a LOT of debt. I'm back on solid ground with HMRC. I booked a couple of holidays; got some new carpets. I probably never have to go back to marketing or recruitment, as long as I'm sensible.
But it doesn't feel real. Like a real thing that has happened to me. Just a very, very good dream that I'm surely about to wake up from soon.