On Tuesday, I got my first royalty check! I couldn’t believe it. Here was real money I had earned from something I’d created with my own little hands and half-functioning brain. I felt great, I felt like dancing, I felt like royalty. I’m considering having a parade. I sold many more books than I was expecting – so thank you, people out there who bought my book. The money wasn’t great – I earned like a $1.64 off each book. But everyone always says don’t expect to get rich being an author (unless you’re a bestseller). And since I never expected big money, I was quite pleased with what I had made.
Still I had to tell my husband who was already running for the phone, “Don’t quit your job just yet!”
Anyway, having an inquiring mind (and work to put off) I started thinking about why they call the checks an author receives royalty checks. I’m not royalty (though many times I pretend to be), so that can’t be the reason. It’s not like being an author is all that special (although others may beg to differ). So why the royal treatment?
Thoroughly stumped, I ended up looking it up in the dictionary, which also serves as my second home. This is what I found out: A royalty is the money you pay to the author for each book that is sold (which we already know). It came from the idea of a “royal right” or payment, which was given by a sovereign to the person who owned the land where minerals were being mined. It eventually evolved into including published materials and patents. The origin of the word is late Middle English, from the Old French version, roial.
Fascinating, huh? Bet you didn’t think you’d learn something as amazing as that today.
Well, I’m off to enjoy the beautiful spring day. This winter has been a royal pain in the…behind.
Thank you for your kingly and queenly support.
Queen Kristina (there really is one, you know – she lived in Sweden from 1626-1689, but I’m not her and I’m not Swedish. I am, however, Norwegian, which I think is close enough).