Payday: Cashing in on a best-selling book …

Preface: In class, we just finished doing a case called “Dewey the Cat” … Teams had to recommend a price to pay the author for the rights to the book, and develop a marketing plan for the book.

So, this real-life story is very timely.

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What’s it like, financially, to have the book go viral and be near the top of the bestseller list?

Patrick Wensink wrote a book titled ““Broken Piano for President”.


According to Wensink, writing in Salon:

Last summer, my novel, “Broken Piano for President” shot to the top of the best-seller lists for a week.

After Jack Daniel’s lawyers sent cease and desist letter (because of the book’s cover graphics), the story went viral and was featured in places like Forbes, Time magazine and NPR’s Weekend Edition.

The book was the No. 6 bestselling title in America for a while … selling more copies than “Hunger Games” and “Bossypants.”

So, how much do you think Wensink netted on the book ?

Answer: About $12,000.

Here’s the rest of Wensink’s story:

The book sold plus or minus 4,000 copies.

Being on an indie press I receive a more generous royalty split than most: 50 percent after expenses were deducted.

I just started getting my royalty checks  the other day (the publishing industry is slow like that).

From what I can tell so far, I made about $12,000 from “Broken Piano” sales.

I never thought I’d see that kind of money.

Previously, my largest royalty check was about $153.

When a friend of mine, who is a terrific writer, told me he was offered $5,000 for his latest book, which came out on a major publisher, it left me kind of flat.

It left me even more silent when it became clear that’s a pretty normal deal.

The truth is, there’s a reason most well-known writers still teach English.

There’s a reason most authors drive dented cars.

It’s not because we’ve chosen a life of poverty.

It’s that poverty has chosen our profession.

Even when there’s money in writing, there’s not much money.

Here’s the Amazon link if you’re feeling sorry for the guy …

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