You might wonder (I certainly do): Does being on national TV for half an hour and having your book plugged in front of hundreds of thousands of viewers actually help book sales?
Not really. Now my sales did triple for that week. Yes they did... but we're still only talking an additional 25 copies sold. Nationwide. For both my books.
These are absolute numbers (and no, the scale isn't "thousands"), and it probably represents about half the number of total sales.
At this feverish pace Flogging would sell about 500 copies a year. Keep it up and in about 22 years I'll have earned back my decent ($22,000) advance and would start getting royalties. Bookmark 2034 for a big party.
The good news is that Cop in the Hood is still selling pretty well, especially considering it's been out for a few years. This is due to professors (very smart professors, I might add) assigning the book in their classes. (#3Cheers4Indoctrination)
My meager advance ($3,150, if one subtracts the indexing fee) from the estimable Princeton University Press was paid off pretty quickly. So now I get about a buck for each copy sold. It comes out to about $1,000 a year. This money is my favorite kind: free money. But no, books do not let me quit my day job (luckily I like my day job) or live the high life (I can always buy a few six-packs of the High Life).
Give or take (off the top of my head), I think I've earned about $15,000 from Cop in the Hood. Nice for an academic book. Not so nice if you consider it took, on and off, from start to finish, nine years to research and write. Of course during that time I did work as a cop, get a PhD, and then the nice job I have now. So I can't complain. And as a professor, publishing serves purposes other than money, such as getting tenure, promotion, and respect in the field.
What I would like to do is tip my cap to writers who actually manage, against all odds, to earn a learning. As full-time job, it's tough, low-paid work without health insurance. (On the plus side, you can wear your bathrobe all day.)
As to my day job, the taxpayers of New York State pay me (an eighth-year tenured professor) $74,133 a year. That will go up just a bit with my recent promotion to associate professor. I tell you this not to gloat (I'd have to make a lot more if I wanted to gloat) or to thank the taxpayers (though I do), but because I believe it's good to be open about income. I've explained this rational before. Knowledge is power. And workers need more of both.
Besides, if releasing your tax returns is good enough for Mitt, it's good enough for me! If I can read my tax returns correctly (my wife does those, around here), we paid an income tax rate (federal, state, and local) of 20 percent (gross income) or 25 percent (taxable income).
In 2010, Mitt Romney was unemployed, but he did manage to make my annual salary each and every 30 hours of the year. His tax rate was 14 percent. Now that's the American way.
I'd prefer him to pay more rather than me pay less.