I deposited a royalty check last week. It was my eighth check since the 2008 publication of Rainbow Plantation Blues. My publisher mails royalty checks quarterly if your sales meet a certain dollar minimum. What people purchase and where people make their purchases affects that dollar minimum. For example, paperback copies cost more than kindles/e-books. So, I get a bigger royalty from paperback sales but the vendor, amazon.com, iuniverse.com, booksamillion.com, etc., that the purchaser chooses makes a difference in my royalty, too. If they make their purchase thru a middleman like amazon.com, for example, then amazon gets their cut, my publisher gets their cut and then I get my cut. But if they make their purchase directly thru my publisher, or thru me, then I get a bigger cut.
By no means am I telling/suggesting to anybody where to make their/a purchase. I'm only explaining how the business works. I'm happy and grateful if a person decides to buy a book at all no matter where they choose to do so, or weather it's an e-book or a paperback.
Despite my royalties I have not made what you would call profits, My royalties, and then some, have all gone back into the project. That can mean anything from promotions to food. Hay, I have eat! If I'm dead I cannot write, right? So, food going into my stomach is supporting my writing. Although when I get done stuffing my face I usually get tired and go to sleep, so no writing gets done immediately afterward but it does in the long run.
Unlike food however, books can be shared/ passed around. So, one person buying my novel could mean that three, four or five others have read that same book. How many people have read one library book before it's worn-out? So, I know that more people are reading my work than are buying it but that's the nature of books.
It intrigues me to know that somebody somewhere could be reading me, and not always in a good way, or talking about my work right now and I have no idea who, where or when they are doing it. Singers and actors have the same experince. Most people don't write fan letters. I myself have never written a fan letter but I have read alot of books, watched alot of movies and listened to alot of pop music. I don't think ''fan mail'' is important, although I have recieved alittle and it is nice, because if those royalty checks keep comimg they prove that people out there like your work. What better fan mail can you get than the kind you can cash!