Inheritance of Magic – Six Month Mark

We’ve almost finished with the Five Limits in the Beginner’s Guide to Drucraft series – the fifth and final article will be on the Limit of Operation.  That’s all written and ready to go (and will be coming out next Friday), but as of this week, we’ve just hit the point at which An Inheritance of Magic has been on sale for six months.  So this post’s going to be an overview of how the book and the series is doing.

First, a little bit of background on how the publishing industry works.  Books published by mainstream publishing nowadays generally use the advance against royalties model – you can read the details in that link, but the short version is that you can roughly measure how well a book is doing by dividing the royalty earnings by the total advance.  As a general rule, the break-even rate for the publisher is around 100% of the advance – if the royalties are below 100% they’re probably making a loss, if it’s above 100% they’re probably making a profit.

In the case of the Alex Verus books, all 12 eventually cleared the 100% mark, meaning that all of them were profitable for the publisher.  In some cases, they were very profitable – while writing this post I went and looked up the US sales figures for Fated, and the total royalties compared to the advance are currently sitting at around 650%.  This was the reason my US and UK publishers were so happy to keep on publishing my Alex Verus books – I’d earned them a lot of money.  It was also why I had such an easy time getting them to publish the Inheritance of Magic series afterwards.

So how’s Inheritance of Magic doing?

Well, the short answer is:  pretty well!  I’ve just got my royalty statements for the second half of 2023, and my UK royalties from book 1 come to around 80% of the advance.  My US number are harder to estimate, since they take an extra month to send me my sales reports, but depending on how I eyeball it, the numbers come to somewhere between 50% and 90%.  Given that this is after less than 3 months of sales, it’s looking as though both the UK and US editions are on course to comfortably break the 100% mark, which is the important thing.

So it looks as though the series is going to be a success, which means I’ll be able to keep on writing it, probably all the way to its conclusion.  I was fairly confident that this was going to happen, but it’s nice to have it confirmed.  I put a lot of effort into developing the setting and storyline for the Inheritance of Magic series – if you add up planning, writing, and rewriting time, the first book alone took years.  I could have scrapped all of that and started over from scratch – I’ve done it before – but it would have been a pretty miserable job, so it’s a big relief to know that I’m not going to have to do it.

As to when that conclusion’s going to be, I don’t have any solid numbers as yet.  If I had to guess, though, I’d estimate the series length of Inheritance of Magic to be somewhere in the ballpark of Alex Verus – i.e. around 12 books.  Which means, at the current rate, with me putting out 1 book a year, the last one is likely to come out around the mid-2030s.  It feels a bit crazy to plan something THAT far ahead, but looking at my writing speed and my writing patterns, that does feel like the most realistic prediction.  But then again, who knows – maybe I’ll get faster at writing, or more condensed when it comes to series length, we’ll just have to see.  In any case, it’ll be interesting to look back at this post 10 years from now and see how accurate it was . . .

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10 Responses to Inheritance of Magic – Six Month Mark

  1. Seantheaussie says:

    Congratulations on the success of Inheritance. I look forward to following that series even longer than I followed Alex Verus (I discovered it in July 2012).

  2. Celia says:

    Fascinating! I really enjoy your insights into the publishing world. I’m glad Verus is still going strong, and the new series is a success as well. Here’s to the 2030’s and onwards. 🙂

  3. Jason Enberg says:

    It was so fun reading the Alex Verus series, waiting each year for the new installment. The books would often come out around my son’s birthday and reading Alex’s growth was like watching my son’s growth. I have fond memories of both my son’s childhood and the Alex Verus series.

    So I’m extremely gladden and excited that Inheritance of Magic is successful and I will have something from you to look forward to each year. Looking forward to lots of rereads of previous novels as each book comes out.

    Thanks again.

  4. Jim Sackman says:

    I appreciate the update. As a reader in my 60s, I look forward to being alive when the series completes. All I ask is that if your situation and ability to complete the series changes, please let us know.

    • Benedict says:

      Don’t worry, I’m not George RR Martin. I’m expecting to finish the series over the next decade or so, but if that changes, you’ll find out about it here.

      • Jim Sackman says:

        It is not GRR that worries me. I gave up on that a long time ago. I am more worried about the Dresden Files. At the current rate, the Inheritance series may conclude first.

        • Benedict says:

          I’d like to be able to give you some reassurance as far as that goes, but . . . yeah, assuming current trends continue, the Inheritance series will almost definitely conclude first.

  5. Bill says:

    Very pleased to hear the good news about book sales!
    I too was a onetime fan of the Dresden files but found that the story seemed to bend in an implausible way in the middle. Spoiled my enjoyment of the whole thing. I’m assuming that (unlike you?) Butcher hadn’t planned the whole series out and wrote each new book as a series of add-ons…
    I’m assuming that the IoM will get darker in the forthcoming books as Stephen ascends in power and perhaps his corruption by power…
    Anyway, I am very much looking forward to the next books and glad that it is now only (?) six months to go!

  6. Charles says:

    I really liked the Alex Verus series. But… I like this series even better!
    So glad sales seem to be supporting its ongoing story telling!

  7. Noah Body says:

    I have to admit your entries about the business of write are the ones that interest me the most.

    And of course a huge congratulations on the series.

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