02 December 2014 by Published in: Uncategorized 17 comments

If you’re expecting tips on dating in other countries, or an excerpt from my next one, Forced By The Latin Alpha Billionaire, hate to disappoint you. This blog’s about tamer fodder, although the topic is near and dear to my heart: money.

It’s been a great year for foreign rights sales, largely due to the diligence of my agent in pursuing those markets, as well as increasing international interest in my books.

Germany has been a wonderful market, with Amazon Crossing having released King of Swords in April there and it selling respectably, and Luzifer having released the German language version of JET in October.

I also sold JET and JET Betrayal to the Czech Republic, and The Voynich Cypher to Bulgaria, to release next year.

Why is that important, besides augmenting my ability to pay my bar tab? Because I view all of that as found money, and because it highlights that even if you’re not madly pursuing a trad deal, good agents still have a valuable role they can play in the mix, even with indie published books.

Are foreign sales enough to live off? Hardly. But they will pay for some nice dinners and more than a year’s worth of good tequila. For something that I’ve already done all the work on, and what to me seems like money for nothing, to date myself with song. Having been in this business for a whopping 36 months, being paid for translations in countries I never even knew purchased rights is a nice kiss on the lips, in a biz that’s a roller coaster of ups and downs.

In other news, I’m in South America nosing around for some new places to get into trouble, but am writing madly, as always (on a questionable laptop that’s developed a penchant for crashing at the worst moments, and with the spottiest internet in memory). My production schedule for Russell Blake next year will take my offerings to well over 40 n0vels (figure 5 Russell books – one Assassin, two Ops Files, two JETs), with another three or four co-authored tomes (romance with Melissa Foster using my RE Blake pseudonym), and another Clive release next fall. That’s just a crazy number. Actually, with the Clive tomes and the RE Blake books, more like 45 novels. Somebody stop me.

So much for slowing down. Oh, and I’ve already mentally outlined a dystopian romp tentatively titled The Day After Never, and a conspiracy thriller that’s the first in a new series (and I’ll possibly be releasing the first in an adventure series, too), if I get the time to write ’em. One never knows. Sigh.

Hmmm. That doesn’t really seem to be a slowdown, does it?

Ah, well. Perhaps 2016…

One side note: authors will notice that I already have a good idea what I’m going to write over the next 13 months. I’m not waiting for my muse to phone it in. I have a business that requires constant production, and I have my editors and proofreader slated for my output at specific times. That’s not to say you have to do as I do, but I will point out that my income is remarkably steady from using this approach of regular releases throughout the year, most augmenting successful series, with an occasional new series tossed into the mix. Is it the only way to make a good living at this? No. Is it the way I recommend? Absolutely.

Ironically, those who argued two years ago that my approach wasn’t a good one, or that I was too dogmatic, or whatever the argument was, are still trying to make a living at this with negligible results, while every month I get emails from authors I’ve never heard of who took my counsel to heart and have quit their day jobs, earning multiples of what they were at their careers, using the same approach I have. That’s not to say I’m so smart so you can all suck it, although there’s certainly some of that, but rather that every month more authors are doing this successfully, and if my guidance in blogs like How To Sell Loads Of Books helps them achieve their dreams, awesome.

I was telling a new friend the other day that this is more like buying yourself a new job, one you love, than in winning a lottery with a single book. I think approaching it in that manner, as an ongoing vocation that requires consistent application rather than birthing a single effort every now and then and hoping it goes viral, is the healthiest perspective. It’s a job, not a final destination or a solution to all life’s problems. To me, a wonderful job where I get to flex my storytelling and craft muscles every day, but a job nonetheless. That’s becoming far clearer as the market matures and the gold rush days become a dim memory.

So those are my thoughts for the day, such as they are. Foreign sales are good. Making money from doing something you love is good. Alpha Billionaires are still in vogue, and I’m a gonna tap that shitz like nobody’s business, unless I take a nice nap instead.

Now go buy my crap. Because everybody can use more crap around the holidays.



  1. Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 11:44 am

    If you want to make money from writing books, treat it like a job.

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 12:39 pm


  2. Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 11:58 am

    Congrats on your success in foreign markets, all well deserved.

    Will you stay on with Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited? HM Blake and others are leaving the program and I see some, but not all, of your title are in KU.

    From the neophyte author’s perspective, it looks like I’m giving up a sizable portion of market access for exclusivity where the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

    Good luck with your property search. I hear Fiji is nice all times of the year.

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Of my thirty-something titles, I have about, what, a third in KU? Some are dropping off this month, some have already dropped off. Some I’ll keep in for another six months. As I’ve posted before, it’s all about diversification. You don’t really want to be all in, or all out, of anything, IMO, lest you miss a market move.

      Never been to Fiji. Have to get over there. Probably go stir crazy, though. Islands.

  3. reba kennedy
    Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 11:59 am

    What, no more Black books? Sigh.

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Well, not for 2015, at least.

  4. Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I’ve recently picked up “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. Though more “zen” than Blake’s tough love approach to the topic of authorship success, the bottom-line is always the same: move forward, work, enjoy it.

  5. Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Congrats on all those foreign sales. That’s awesome!

    I see the novella on Mugsy didn’t make it into the production schedule. Maybe 2016 will be his year?

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Alas, Mugsy has to take a back seat to bodice rippers for the time being.

      • Kim Cano  –  Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 2:21 pm

        Still would have loved another Black book. That last one had a lot of tension between Roxie and Black. I’m dying to see where that goes. Maybe he’ll finally rip her bodice off?

  6. Robert Blake
    Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Ha! At first I thought you meant you were going to put out 40-45 books THIS YEAR instead of bringing you up to that total. I already had an immense amount of respect for your level of production, but I was simply stunned for a minute there trying to do that math! “3.5-4 a month? HE’S INSANE!” As it turns out, I just can’t rede to gud.

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 2:17 pm

      Well, I may actually also be insane, not to put too fine a point on it. Some would argue that having 45 or more novels out in 48 months would be, well, a trifle loco. Of course, they can bite me, but that’s neither here nor there…

  7. Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 3:39 pm

    “it highlights that even if you’re not madly pursuing a trad deal, good agents still have a valuable role they can play in the mix”

    From what I hear, you have to make sure you get the kind of agent that’s willing to do this. It’s almost as if agents are dividing into those who are buying into the trad pub blockbuster model and are pursuing only that, and agents who are looking to chase all of the hundreds of possibilities now open for writers to exploit their work.

    Good to hear of your successes. I guess once 2016 rolls around we’re going to hear about the Golden Keg you’ve commissioned in celebration of your 50th title?

  8. Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Heck Russell, I’m trying to retire! With 38 books on Amazon, some of them full size, some medium size and some micro books (but still larger than the label on a baked bean can) I’ll need to keep up. I’ll have to start work again. Bummer!! Interesting point here though…. since you left Mexico I’ve started to make sales there. Wot’s the story??
    Seriously though I feel your success is totally deserved. I could sense this coming 3 years ago when we first had forum contact. Well done!!!!

  9. Tim Stevens
    Tue 02nd Dec 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Russell, I’m one of those unknown authors who took your counsel to heart six months ago. Since then, it’s been a novel a month, with the next year mapped out. It’s tough. Tough as hell. But the income’s starting to become regular, and if it progresses the way it’s been going since the summer, I’ll be looking to go part-time in the day job by the end of 2015.

    So… thanks.

    And I agree entirely about foreign markets. My agent sold my first novel to a publisher in Estonia, which is where the story’s set. A nice little side earner, even if I can’t make sense of the reviews on the Estonian blogs.

  10. Wed 03rd Dec 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Every time I get an email with one of your blog posts, I feel like a giddy 20-year-old about to turn 21 and legally enjoy the bounties of tequila. You have such a way with words–putting a humorous spin on the truth of this business. Thank you, as always, for sharing your experiences, observations, and advice. Can’t wait to see what shenanigans you’re going to get yourself in 2015. I’m sure we’ll all be waiting at the edge of our seats. Happy holidays to you and safe travels!

  11. Thu 04th Dec 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Russel, I wouldn’t miss a single post of yours. Total entertainment while always teaching us something. And that, my friend, is a gift most peeps don’t have. A big shout out to your agent for his/her skill in making those sales – care to expand more on him/her?


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