This is a post that most authors will be unhappy to read, but really ought to know about it.
If you published with a small press, chances are you are selling your book on consignment to bookstores. What this means is that you give them your book, and they pay you after it sells.
What this really means is that it sucks to be you.
It's hard enough doing a book signing and trying to get people to buy your book. You glory over each one. Two sold. Four. Six books! If you're lucky, the bookstore will pay your right then and there for the books you sold. Some do that, and I love them.
But others will tell you it will be a few months. Others will tell you they're going to mail it right away. Chances are, if you haven't already, you will run into what I have: Bookstores that don't pay.
But another bookstore just doesn't seem to care. They told me to expect a check, and after three weeks I started calling to see when I should expect a check, and they got haughty with me. Started telling me I needed to talk to one person. And guess what? He doesn't have a set schedule. Nobody knows when he's in. But he's got my name and number, so he'll call me. Not.
I have two recourses: call them until they pay or write it off. Neither is a fun option, and I may never see that money no matter what I do. Ironic that I now wish I hadn't sold a single book in their store.
I've probably burned my bridges with those stores as being the author that's hard to work with. But you know what? I never want to sign books in their stores again, either.
My advice: Find out when they plan on paying you before you go there. But even more, GET IT IN WRITING. Write up an invoice with a due date, and have them sign it. I didn't do this. But believe me, I will from now on.
Anyone else have these experiences? Or is it just me???