The amount Edinburgh author Ian Rankin earns from each Inspector Rebus novel revealed

Bestselling author Ian Rankin has revealed how much he earns from his novels today – and what he was paid for his first book.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 5th October 2020, 7:22 pm

In an interview with the Daily Mail, the Fife-born, Edinburgh-based writer said he was paid just £500 for his first book, The Flood, in 1986.

These days, however, he is earning significantly more.

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Last week, Rankin published his 24th Inspector Rebus novel, A Song For The Dark Times, and the 60-year-old said books featuring his most famous literary creation now “make me a seven-figure sum”.

Bestselling author Ian Rankin.
Bestselling author Ian Rankin.

The author, who recently swapped his eight-bedroom Victorian mansion in Edinburgh’s Merchiston for a £2m penthouse flat overlooking the Meadows, said some of his wealth is down to his agent, who keeps on securing him better publishing contracts.

He said: “The big money comes when I sign a new contract or deliver a new book to the publisher.

“Of course, if my books stopped selling, that would soon change.”

Rankin revealed that these days he writes a book every second year, but even in the year he takes off, he still brings in a six-figure sum.

“This year won't be as good as 2019, because I'm not writing a new novel,” he said.

“I was paid £500 for my first novel in 1986. I'm glad those days are a distant memory.”

Despite his enormous wealth, Rankin says he doesn't tend to make exuberant purchases, as his parents taught him the value of money.

“They never bought anything on credit nor had a cheque book,” he said.

“If they needed a new washing machine, they saved until they had the money to buy it.”

He does occasionally treat himself, though, and said his most lavish purchase to date was a new silver £60,000 Jaguar I-Pace.

“I like an occasional nice dinner at the best restaurant we can find,” he said.

“With a pad of A4 paper from my local Sainsbury's for £3.50 and a £20 printer toner cartridge, I can create a book that's going to make me a seven-figure sum.”

Rankin also revealed that he donates 20 to 30 per cent of his annual income – “basically, a six-figure sum" – to a charitable trust he runs.

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