Why Dragonlance's Margaret Weis Left TSR: A Slaying the Dragon Excerpt

This excerpt from Ben Riggs' new book, Slaying The Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons and Dragons describes how Dragonlance changed the course of Margaret Weis' life, and why she left TSR.

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TSR was a company that discovered geniuses, and paid them to create worlds for the rest of us to live in. The company knew it needed brilliant minds to do this work. It went to great lengths to find creative souls to employ. Yet it was less than careful about retaining them. Once these worlds were created, management's attitude seemed to be that these great minds could be replaced with cheaper labor. So New York Times-bestselling authors and pioneering game designers would be discovered, nurtured, and then allowed to leave the company. It happened to Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax. It was a fate that would also befall Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

Margaret Weis said that the success of Dragonlance, “changed my life,” because it allowed her to leave TSR.

Why did Weis want to leave? Her work at the company transformed her from a book editor to a New York Times-bestselling author. And why couldn’t the company convince her to remain? It had discovered her, groomed her, and marketed her as an author for years. The company had a vested financial interest in keeping Weis right where she was, producing Dragonlance novels. Why couldn’t it do so?

When I asked Weis why she left, she immediately spoke of Lorraine Williams. She clearly felt that Williams took the company in the wrong direction. She said, “The creative spirit in the company seemed to die when Gary was gone. He truly cared about D&D. After he was ousted, management seemed to care only about making money, though without any real idea of how to do it. All the while spending money on wasteful projects such as remodeling offices and promoting self-interests (such as Buck Rogers).” Weis said, “I never really interacted a whole lot with Lorraine, but when I did, I really didn’t like it.”

Furthermore, TSR was simply not paying Margaret Weis what she was worth. Weis and Hickman proposed another book series, entitled the Darksword Trilogy. The books would tell the story of a man born into a world where everyone has magical powers, but he was born without them. The company decided to pass on it. Weis and Hickman then took the Darksword Trilogy to Bantam Books. A few weeks passed, and the pair’s agent, Ray Puechner, called Weis to say that Bantam wanted to make an offer.

Weis said, “Oh wow! That’s really cool.”

Puechner said, “And they want the whole trilogy.”

Weis said, “Great.”

“And they’re going to offer you $30,000.” (That’s almost $75,000 in today’s dollars.)

Weis was excited by that number. She said, “We’d been getting a pittance from TSR” for the novels they’d been writing so $30,000 for the trilogy seemed like a great deal of money.

Enthused, Weis said to Puechner, “$30,000 for three books!”

And Puechner said, “No no no. That’s for each book.”

Weis said, “Oh my gosh!”

At the time, Weis said that even though she was a bestselling author whose work had helped keep the company afloat during troubled times, she wasn’t making $30,000 a year. The company was paying her like a freight handler or entry level graphic designer.

She called Tracy Hickman to tell him the good news, and that was when they decided to leave the company. The capitalist calculus of it all was brutal and swift. Bantam was offering them more than their annual salary per novel. It was more money for less work. Who wouldn’t take that offer?

Success at TSR meant that Weis and Hickman could leave TSR.

When artist Larry Elmore heard that Weis and Hickman would be departing to write fantasy novels for Bantam, he wanted a piece of the action. Could they get him the job of painting the cover of the first novel?

It is worth noting that to the artists working in Lake Geneva, painting fantasy covers for the New York publishing houses was seen as the big time. Doing their novel cover for would be a real step up in terms of prestige for Elmore.

The publication of a book by Bantam was a similar step up for Weis and Hickman, and when she responded to Elmore’s request, she had skyscrapers and Times Square goggling her eyes. She said, “I don’t know Larry. This is a big New York publisher.”

But she wouldn’t forget his request.

Later, the pair were flown to New York by Bantam. There, in the city where shining towers touch the sky, and the subway trains rumble like dragons in their dens, the big wigs at Bantam took them out for lunch.

Margaret Weis of Independence, Missouri was meeting with a major publisher in a city so absolute and grand and final that on the east coast you can simply say, “the City,” and everyone knows you’re talking about New York. She described her emotional state at that moment on the day she was taken out for lunch in New York City with a single syllable of onomatopoeia: “Woo!”

But despite the majesty of her surroundings, and the corresponding majesty of the big wigs taking her out for lunch, she didn’t forget Larry Elmore, who was stuck back in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, painting in the former Q-tip factory on Sheridan Springs Road.

But the skyscrapers and the food and the suits! What would the big wigs say about Larry Elmore? Would they say they never heard of him? Would they laugh at her for being a mid-country rube to think that her friend who painted elves and dragons in outstate Wisconsin could make the grade in New York City?

Weis recalled that “with fear and trepidation, I said, ‘You know, if it would be at all possible Larry Elmore would really love to do the cover. . .’”

One of the big wigs replied, “‘Oh my God. We were going to ask you if there was any way you could get Larry Elmore to do the cover!’”

Elmore was hired, and not long after, he left the company as well.

The Darksword Trilogy was published by Bantam in 1988, along with a role-playing game called Darksword Adventures. Each had a cover by Larry Elmore. One can see in these books the outline of the product that might have been if it had been picked up by TSR. Clearly, a trilogy of novels would have been written, along with a series of adventures set in the world. But it was not to be. Weis and Hickman were gone.

Yet as was so often the case, TSR was not done with them.

Years passed. Weis and Hickman went on to write another trilogy, entitled Rose of the Prophet, again published by Bantam, again with covers by Larry Elmore, but set in a fantastic ideation of the middle east, with sheikhs and djinns and a pantheon of 20 gods.

Weis doesn’t remember at what convention or in what year Lorraine Williams threatened to sue her, but it was definitely at a convention. It wasn’t Gen Con, of that much she was certain. But it was at a convention, and Lorraine was there.

Weis was in the middle of a conversation when Williams appeared. She had a simple message to convey: She was considering suing her and Hickman over Rose of the Prophet. She believed that the pair had worked on material for the trilogy while at TSR. If so, it was company property under their contracts and she had standing to sue. With that, like a bad dream, Williams was gone.

If she had threatened to sue over the Darksword Trilogy, it would at least have made sense. The Darksword Trilogy was obviously developed while the pair had been at TSR. The company, after all, had turned the project down. The acceptance of the trilogy by Bantam and their commensurate pay raise was the reason the pair had left. The idea that Williams and her baying pack of lawyers could have found any hard, tangible, proof that the pair had worked on Rose of the Prophet at the company years after they left was at best unlikely. Furthermore, given the pair’s talents and proven sales track record, she should have been trying to woo them back by hook, crook, love, or money. Instead, she was haunting them at conventions to make illogical threats of legal action. That was likely to irritate Weis and Hickman, not win them back into the fold. And from the point of view of the bottom line, that was the winning move here: Get them back writing Dragonlance. After all, the pair were still making money for the company, selling tens of thousands of copies of their novels every year.

For their part, neither Weis nor Hickman took the threat to heart. She said, “It didn’t mean a whole lot. We actually thought it was just kind of funny.”

Yet to approach the pair of them at a convention to threaten a lawsuit seemed so excessively aggressive. Why would the CEO of a multimillion dollar company do that?

Weis said, “You had to know Lorraine.”

The break between TSR and Weis and Hickman seemed complete. Why would the pair ever come back while she was casually threatening frivolous lawsuits against them?

It is worth pausing for a moment to measure the caliber of disaster that the departure of Weis and Hickman represented. You couldn’t swing a vorpal sword in the company offices without beheading a genius. Every department was thick with them, women and men whose minds sparkled like obsidian in firelight. Given the success of Dragonlance, Weis and Hickman were certainly geniuses. But I believe I have interviewed dozens of company alumni that I would rank as creative geniuses for this book. So curiously, the quality that might make Weis and Hickman standout against the general populace was not what made them standout at the company.

They were, there is no other word for it, stars. Perhaps the first the company produced after Gygax himself. They had fanatical devotees who knew their names, even if in confusion they misgendered Tracy Hickman. The company sold 14 million copies of Dragonlance novels, settings, and adventures by 1997. At conventions, people would crowd their table for autographs. For years at Gen Con, Tracy Hickman hosted two hour sessions of what he called, “Killer Breakfast.” Fans came up on stage with D&D characters, and Hickman killed them as amusingly as possible, sometimes dispatching up to 200 in a go. Other fans have taken their books to war with them. One wounded veteran returned from Afghanistan and gifted the pair his Bronze Star and Purple Heart, saying they deserved them because the Dragonlance novels helped him earn those medals.

To call the people faithful to the works of Weis and Hickman a fanbase is to damn with faint praise. The pair reached out with their words and touched something elemental and profound within their readers.

Yet TSR seemed to believe that sort of allegiance from an audience could be replaced. It acted on a theory of interchangeable creativity, as though a novel or adventure would sell equally well irrespective of who produced it. Writers were machines that made words to sell. Other machines would make words if they would not.

Acting on this theory set a pattern that would recur again and again during the Williams era: the company would discover and support talent. That talent would mature, make amazing products, then leave, often due to low pay or perceived disrespect.

Once Weis and Hickman were gone, along came a crisis: What fantasy setting would replace Dragonlance, and what author would replace them?
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

MGibster

Legend
Nope. She just brought the cash the Blume Brothers needed to oust Gygax.
TSR was not in good shape when Gygax was ousted. According to Jeff Grub, "When she came on board, we were about two paychecks away from closing the doors....We were all on pay deferments" and describes her as the "grown-up" who knew how to talk with the banks. She even made sure the staff was paid all the money they were owed with interest. John Rateliff said, "Every single person I talked to who worked under Gary and the Blumes and then worked under Lorraine preferred working under Lorraine." This is from Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons by Ben Riggs.
 

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TSR was not in good shape when Gygax was ousted. According to Jeff Grub, "When she came on board, we were about two paychecks away from closing the doors....We were all on pay deferments" and describes her as the "grown-up" who knew how to talk with the banks. She even made sure the staff was paid all the money they were owed with interest. John Rateliff said, "Every single person I talked to who worked under Gary and the Blumes and then worked under Lorraine preferred working under Lorraine." This is from Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons by Ben Riggs.
Yeah I think everyone’s forgetting TSR really didn’t have great management until WoTC bought it out.
 

Orius

Hero
If you really want to damn with faint praise, I suppose you could say that Williams kept TSR afloat long enough for WotC to buy it.
 

fikuvino

Villager
Just to clarify -- I was very aware that, on average, being an author is not a great way to make a living. I just thought it was more similar to actors and musicians -- 99-99.99% of people do not make it big, but the people I can name off the top of my head make far and away more than my work peers and I. I just thought that the Weis and Hickmans of the worlds, while not Mick Jaggers and Meryl Streep's, would have been like maybe Zach Braff and Peter Cetera. Perhaps I'm adding a 0 or two to how many units sold being on the bestseller list implies (since you are right, there are about 5-6 cuts taken out of $5-20 books before they get back to the author).

The publishing business is unlike most others. You might be surprised at how little many well-known fiction authors make. It isn't unusual for people with fairly extensive writing credits and names that people would tend to recognize (within genre circles, at least) to have a "day job" or to rely heavily on a spouse who has one. It can also be a lot more lucrative to write for certain genres (particularly romance) versus others (like horror).

Keep in mind that "bestseller lists" often don't accurately reflect how well certain books are selling versus similar ones. They are easily manipulated, using a variety of techniques, and frequently are. The sales numbers can be fudged in a number of ways (ex. double-counting books when they go through wholesalers and then again through retail establishments). Even the big lists, like the ones from the New York Times, don't tell you much beyond the fact that the publishers are really working hard to push certain titles. As a librarian, I can also testify to the fact that many "bestseller list" titles get a brief surge of interest, but have little in the way of lasting appeal.

Back in the 1960s (and earlier), some fiction writers could make a living just doing short stories for magazines. There were fewer channels on TV and fewer multiplex movie theaters, so people tended to read for entertainment more extensively. By the 1980s, though, the situation was very different. Being a fiction writer was no longer nearly as lucrative. The financial benefits of being a fiction writer just continued to drop over the years.

(Note that I kept saying "fiction writer." Things are a little different for non-fiction writers.)
 

JLowder

Adventurer
Is the $30k the entirety of the pay though? Wouldn't Weis get residual payments for each book sold?

Fiction publishing deals generally include an advance and then royalties, which you get if the book sells well enough to earn back the advance. The royalty rates TSR paid the fiction authors improved significantly in the late 80s, well after the original six-book Dragonlance deal, but even then the royalty rates could be on the low end for what New York houses paid, especially for bestselling authors. The TSR fiction contract in the late 80s also gave authors a cut of translations, but I don't know if that was part of the earlier contracts. The standard contracts did not include payments for other subsidiary uses of the novels, like comics or movies or toys.
 
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JLowder

Adventurer
Besides residual payments this also assumes that they're only putting out one book per year, when it was $30k per book. Given the high turn over of fantasy novels, I wouldn't be surprised if they delivered them all in a year for a total of $90k at the time.

A typical TSR novel in the 80s and 90s was 90,000 to 100,000 words. Writing a novel a year is a very good pace for an author. Each book requires not just the time to write it (four to six months for the first draft if you are fast), but the time required for multiple revision passes based on editorial input (a month or two each pass, at minimum). If the author is not writing fulltime--and most authors do not--that work gets done on nights and weekends, around a day job.
 

DorkForge

Explorer
A typical TSR novel in the 80s and 90s was 90,000 to 100,000 words. Writing a novel a year is a very good pace for an author. Each book requires not just the time to write it (four to six months for the first draft if you are fast), but the time required for multiple revision passes based on editorial input (a month or two each pass, at minimum). If the author is not writing fulltime--and most authors do not--that work gets done on nights and weekends, around a day job.
This varies from author to author, and these books are written by two people.

Wikipedia lists four books in the book series being talked about. The first was published in 1987, the subsequent three were all published in 1988. So either the publisher sat on the initial books for years, which would be a very odd decision financially, or they produced 4 books in less than two years, likely three within 12 months.

Given the release pace of a lot of fantasy novels I find your timeline a stretch (and as someone that writes by the word for a living, writing that much certainly isn't impossible or even unlikely, Brandon Sanderson wrote multiple novels just in the increased downtime the Pandemic created for example).
 

Dioltach

Legend
I just want to express my appreciation not only for the various Weiss & Hickman series in the 1980s (DL Chronicles and Legends, Darksword and Rose of the Prophet), but also for the insights provided in this thread about publishing in general and at TSR in particular.
 

Waller

Hero
This varies from author to author, and these books are written by two people.

Wikipedia lists four books in the book series being talked about. The first was published in 1987, the subsequent three were all published in 1988. So either the publisher sat on the initial books for years, which would be a very odd decision financially, or they produced 4 books in less than two years, likely three within 12 months.

Given the release pace of a lot of fantasy novels I find your timeline a stretch (and as someone that writes by the word for a living, writing that much certainly isn't impossible or even unlikely, Brandon Sanderson wrote multiple novels just in the increased downtime the Pandemic created for example).
You’re replying to James Lowder, who wrote numerous TSR novels and ran the TSR books department.
 

You’re replying to James Lowder, who wrote numerous TSR novels and ran the TSR books department.

Scene somewhere up above:

"So, you see, there's this game I used to play back on earth, you know? You could play a character, and you rolled it up with these dice. Funny dice, not just with six sides, they could have up to 20. Yeah, neat right? 20-sided die, rolled around a lot. You had to color in the numbers yourself, eventually they got ones with the numbers colored in. So anyway, you could make characters, and you'd go through this big underground complex-type thing, and try to get the treasure without running into monsters. And they had all kinds of monsters, from mythology around the world, they had like a rakshasa from India and medusas from Greek mythology and stuff. And if you got enough treasure and killed enough monsters, you'd go up in levels, which meant you got tougher and you could have more spells if you were, you know, a wizard or something. It was a really awesome game! I think you might like, it, Gary...what did you say your last name was?"
 

DorkForge

Explorer
You’re replying to James Lowder, who wrote numerous TSR novels and ran the TSR books department.
And yet what he said directly conflicts with the release dates of the books being discussed?

R.A. Salvatore also frequently had multiple books released in the same year. So when a post presents that kind of pace as unrealistic, which is what it seemed to do, it doesn't line up with what actually happened.

If the intent was different then how I took it, then fair enough, but it seemed to be pushing back against delivering 2-3 books in a year, when they actually published 3 in the same year and one in the year prior.

And looking at Margaret Weis' bibliography in general seems to support that pacing, with the three Dragonlance Legends books all being released in 1986, four titles down for 1988 and so on. Multiple books in a year seemed to be the default?
 

JLowder

Adventurer
This varies from author to author, and these books are written by two people.

Wikipedia lists four books in the book series being talked about. The first was published in 1987, the subsequent three were all published in 1988. So either the publisher sat on the initial books for years, which would be a very odd decision financially, or they produced 4 books in less than two years, likely three within 12 months.

Given the release pace of a lot of fantasy novels I find your timeline a stretch (and as someone that writes by the word for a living, writing that much certainly isn't impossible or even unlikely, Brandon Sanderson wrote multiple novels just in the increased downtime the Pandemic created for example).

Fiction authors are considered above average in speed if they produce one 100,000-word book a year, year after year. A really fast pace is two books in one year. That pace tends to be unsustainable for more than a few years. Sanderson is the exception as a single author, not the rule, and he is successful enough that he has a team to support him doing the day to day business stuff that authors normally have to cover themselves. For the two original Dragonlance trilogies, Margaret and Tracy had one book in 84, two in 85, with the three coming in 86. (Six books in three years breaks down to two books a year.) But there are two of them, and even then, three books in one year is not common, even for a team.

I scheduled fiction as part of TSR's Book Department for several years and have done the same for many other publishers. I've written several novels myself. The standard schedule for a novel at TSR circa 1990 was 6 to 9 months for creation, then time for editing, revisions, and production. Around a year from contract to print on the quick plan, and that was fast for the industry. The shortest deadlines for first drafts around that time might be three to four months, but those deadlines tended to lead to heavy revisions and delays at that stage, so the schedules were slowed to give the writers more time. (To be more specific: I signed the contract for the Realms novel Prince of Lies in March 1992, with the first draft due on November 1. A couple additional months were scheduled for revisions as part of the contract. Target publication date was July 1993. This was a fairly typical schedule.)

Yes, there were people who could write faster, but they were the exceptions, not the rule. TSR started creating and scheduling multi-author trilogies and series because they wanted to release a new book in a line every four to six months (four for the really successful series, six for the smaller series) and individual authors could not keep up that pace.
 
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JLowder

Adventurer
R.A. Salvatore also frequently had multiple books released in the same year. So when a post presents that kind of pace as unrealistic, which is what it seemed to do, it doesn't line up with what actually happened.

Bob is one of the rare authors who is comfortable producing two quality books a year, and has done so for a long time. For most authors that pace is unrealistic. There are other authors who are even faster than Bob. Dan Parkinson, who wrote some later Dragonlance novels, was a machine. His output was daunting. Troy Denning had a few years of multi-book quality output, too. But he has not maintained that pace. To get the sense of the average speed at TSR, though, you need to look at all the writers in the roster or in the market.

Here's a piece from Writer's Digest that gives a fairly standard breakdown of novel composition time. The TSR books were produced more quickly. How Long Does It Take To Write A Novel?
 
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DorkForge

Explorer
Fiction authors are considered above average in speed if they produce one 100,000-word book a year, year after year. A really fast pace is two books in one year. That pace tends to be unsustainable for more than a few years. Sanderson is the exception as a single author, not the rule, and he is successful enough that he has a team to support him doing the day to day business stuff that authors normally have to cover themselves. For the two original Dragonlance trilogies, Margaret and Tracy had one book in 84, two in 85, with the three coming in 86. (Six books in three years breaks down to two books a year.) But there are two of them, and even then, three books in one year is not common, even for a team.

I scheduled fiction as part of TSR's Book Department for several years and have done the same for many other publishers. I've written several novels myself. The standard schedule for a novel at TSR circa 1990 was 6 to 9 months for creation, then time for editing, revisions, and production. Around a year from contract to print on the quick plan, and that was fast for the industry. The shortest deadlines for first drafts around that time might be three to four months, but those deadlines tended to lead to heavy revisions and delays at that stage, so the schedules were slowed to give the writers more time. (To be more specific: I signed the contract for the Realms novel Prince of Lies in March 1992, with the first draft due on November 1. A couple additional months were scheduled for revisions as part of the contract. Target publication date was July 1993. This was a fairly typical schedule.)

Yes, there were people who could write faster, but they were the exceptions, not the rule. TSR started creating and scheduling multi-author trilogies and series because they wanted to release a new book in a line every four to six months (four for the really successful series, six for the smaller series) and individual authors could not keep up that pace.
I really don't understand what the point you're trying to make here is. You replied to a conversation about Margaret Weis. You then go on about the standard pace for writing and how most people aren't like that, pointing at her (and others) as exceptions to the rule.


...What does the rule matter when we're talking explicitly about the exception? Most people can't run a sub 10 second 100m dash, but if we're talking about Usain Bolt that isn't really relevant, is it?

Most writers would not have turned in two or three books in a single year, yet she (and Tracy Hickman) has, multiple times apparently.

Entirely separately, if they signed on for a trilogy it's not out of the realms of possibility that they got an advance on the series, rather than on a book-by-book submission anyway.
 

JLowder

Adventurer
I really don't understand what the point you're trying to make here is. You replied to a conversation about Margaret Weis. You then go on about the standard pace for writing and how most people aren't like that, pointing at her (and others) as exceptions to the rule.

You were the one who quoted me and then challenged my comments about the typical timeline. Typical. Margaret and Tracy are exceptions. Attempts to cast them as somehow typical for TSR or fantasy in general are misplaced and simply, factually wrong.

Your point now seems to be Margaret and Tracy wrote as quickly as Margaret and Tracy wrote.

Well, yes. Of course they did.
 

JLowder

Adventurer
Entirely separately, if they signed on for a trilogy it's not out of the realms of possibility that they got an advance on the series, rather than on a book-by-book submission anyway.

Book royalties are typically tracked by individual book, and that was the standard practice at TSR by 88. An advance is assigned to a specific book, even in a series, with subsequent sales of the individual book tallied against that advance. The alternative is to basket the three books in a trilogy for accounting purposes, consider it as a single book. Possible, but not standard practice.

As far as the speculation on advances, TSR policy was to pay staff writing novels minimal or even no advances. The management reasoning was that you didn't need the advance because you had your salary to live on while writing the book. Even after payment terms for the novels improved, after Margaret and Tracy left, advances paid to staff for novels were miserable. My advances for the novels I wrote while a TSR staffer were precisely $0 per book.
 

So there was this idea when I took econ of 'compensating differentials'--basically, if the job is more interesting/exciting/whatever, it'll pay less. Garbage collectors actually make a pretty good living in many places because their jobs are smelly and dangerous, so you have to pay people more to take the job. Creative people are often passionate about what they do, which makes them easier to exploit. Given the number of people willing to produce game material for free, this puts a huge downward pressure on those who try to make a living doing it.
 

DorkForge

Explorer
You were the one who quoted me and then challenged my comments about the typical timeline. Typical. Margaret and Tracy are exceptions. Attempts to cast them as somehow typical for TSR or fantasy in general are misplaced and simply, factually wrong.

Your point now seems to be Margaret and Tracy wrote as quickly as Margaret and Tracy wrote.

Well, yes. Of course they did.
I have no idea if you posted in the thread earlier, but at the very least on this page you replied quoting to another user and myself.

I did not start this exchange, you did.

You did so by quoting when I said "Given the high turn over of fantasy novels, I wouldn't be surprised if they delivered them all in a year for a total of $90k at the time." And then proceeded to harp on about the writing pace of nameless fantasy authors not being discussed.

Fantasy novels do have a reputation for high quantity, precisely because of largely visible names like Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, R.A. Salvator etc.

So when I reference that reputation and say I wouldn't be surprised that they wrote that fast, you seem to be surprised when my position is that they wrote that fast. It has been my position all along. You seem to have taken from what I wrote that it's normal for all authors to write at that pace, if that is what you took from the post, let me correct that: I am not under that illusion. Most writers don't succeed, the conversation wasn't about them, or writers that peak at one book a year. Which is why I didn't agree with your replies, which seemed to be pointing towards her (them) not writing that fast, which is factually incorrect.

Hopefully that has cleared this up.
 

GreyLord

Legend
Book royalties are typically tracked by individual book, and that was the standard practice at TSR by 88. An advance is assigned to a specific book, even in a series, with subsequent sales of the individual book tallied against that advance. The alternative is to basket the three books in a trilogy for accounting purposes, consider it as a single book. Possible, but not standard practice.

As far as the speculation on advances, TSR policy was to pay staff writing novels minimal or even no advances. The management reasoning was that you didn't need the advance because you had your salary to live on while writing the book. Even after payment terms for the novels improved, after Margaret and Tracy left, advances paid to staff for novels were miserable. My advances for the novels I wrote while a TSR staffer were precisely $0 per book.

Thanks for the comments (I think I ninja'd your first on the advance/royalties some posts back, but I didn't write about everything else).

A thought in regards to this...I'm not sure, but it could apply???

I think the above may apply to Dragonlance?? At least Chronicles and Legends? At first, it was probably the royalties, but later they published the omnibuses which would have probably been the basket case for them?

At least for the Omnibus editions?

You may be able to clarify, especially what the terms were if that happened with the Omnibuses in relation to the later printings of the individual novels (or when they were printed both at the same time, that may have happened after you though).
 

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