More On Numbers

Back in 2004 when I temporarily quit my day job and decided that what I really wanted to be when and as I grew up was a writer, I gave myself ten years to switch my income from 100% IT and 0% writing to 100% writing and 0% IT.

It’s three years later and now (thanks to hours of obsessive data entry and Quickbooks) I can report that in 2006 writing represented — wait for it — .3% of my income.

However! Numbers can do anything, up to and including giving hot oil erotic massages. You just have to know how to ask. Behold the data:

Decided to be a writer2004Writing income = 0
Sold some stories2005Writing income = $325
Sold some stories2006Writing income = $410Increase = 26%
Sold some stories and reprints2007Writing income = $690Increase = 68%

Yes, the dollar bits are not promising, but let’s play with those percentage increases, which themselves show an increase at a factor of 1.6. Math, start warming up that oil, ’cause we’re gonna plot those three little data points out to ten:

Decided to be a writer20040
Sold some stories2005$325
Sold some stories2006$410+26%
Sold some stories and reprints2007$690+68%
Sell more stories and reprints2008$759+110%
Sell more stories and reprints2009$1,336+176%
Sell first novel for modest advance2010$3,754+281%
First novel royalty returns2011$16,892+450%
First novel royalties + second novel advance2012$121,622+720%
Oprah loves second novel.2013$1,401,090+1152%

Oh, yeah, math, yeah.

You think that’s hot, check out what happens if I sell just one more story by the end of the year, pushing the percentage increase factor up to 4.1:

Decided to be a writer20040
Sold some stories2005$325
Sold some stories2006$410+26%
Sold some stories and reprints2007$960+134%
Sell first novel for modest advance2008$5,347+557%
First novel royalties + second novel advance2009$122,130+2284%
Skyrocketing royalties and advances + film rights = ka-ching!2010$11,435,037+9363%
No one understands why my books do so well.2011$4,389,796,35438389%
My prose discovered to have hallucinogenic properties. By the time authorities figure it out I have purchased a series of nuclear-capable nations and am extorting further book sales and fannish essays in the New York Review of Books.2012$6,909,319,971,378+157395%
Oprah loves my latest novel.2013This is where the calculator weeps for the sweet release of scientific notation and accountants depreciate into Lovecraftian madness.+645319%

This is also how the lending industry works worked.

2 thoughts on “More On Numbers

  1. K

    I see that you are still calling it “math” and not the British “maths.” Can you give us a Gopnik-esque Report from London on this particular usage of the word (brief version, of course)?

    This ranks right up there with why Bombay has changed to Mumbai in the ‘Random Things I Have Come to Accept, but not Understand’ category.


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