#4. A million-seller hit with 220 million yen of profit in a single year...what does that turn my yearly salary into?


tl by dan luffey

A million-seller hit with 220 million yen of profit in a single year...what does that turn my yearly salary into?
right text: I love money!

Normally, when a single tankoubon volume sells over 10,000 copies, it ensures that the next one will be publishable. Selling any less than that will brand it a financially worthless series, and it will become very difficult to publish the next volume.
For manga being published in small-to-medium size manga magazines, sometimes several volumes will be published, but then, despite the series still being serialized in the magazine, no more volumes will appear. There's a reason for this. In the manga industry, only when a tankoubon volume sells 20,000 copies is it seen as 'good,' and when it sells 50,000 copies, it's seen as a hit. When it exceeds 100,000 copies sold, it's treated basically like a cash cow.
I suspect that less than 10% of all manga on the market sell over 100,000 copies. And less than ten titles a year sell more than 1 million copies, which is less than 1% of the whole.
In its peak, "Give My Regards to Black Jack" sold more than 1 million first print copies.
Somehow, I miraculously made it into that 1%. How did it go with the royalties, then?

I was publishing four volumes a year that each sold over 1 million copies, for a total of 4 million. That means 200 million yen in royalties were deposited into my Satou Manga Works account.
Adding in my manuscript fees, I made 220 million yen that year. 40% (*1) of that was taken by the country through taxes, so I was left with 132 million.
Subtracting running costs like staff salaries and the like left me with roughly 100 million yen in my company's account. From that, I took 2,800,000 out a month for my company salary. That comes to 33,600,000 yen per year.
Japan's average CEO salary is 30,000,000 yen per year, so I was pretty much on the same level. Well? What do you all think of that? To be honest, I was surprised that I could make 33,600,000 per year at just a few years past thirty. I doubt I could have ever made as much working any other type of job.

*1 line: 40% - Here's the breakdown for income tax -
Below 1,950,000 - 5%
Over 1,950,000 and below 3,300,000 yen - 10%
Over 3,300,000 yen and below 6,950,000 yen - 20%
Over 6,950,000 yen and below 9,000,000 yen - 23%
Over 9,000,000 yen and below 18,000,000 yen - 33%
Over 18,000,000 yen - 40%
(As of March 2012)

That made me pretty happy, and it also made it easier for me to plan the rest of my life.
"But," you say. 99% of all mangaka in the industry make less than that per year.
Even mangaka who sell 100,000 copies of the 4 volumes they publish per year sometimes don't even make 10 million (*1) yen per year. And if mangaka who have 100,000 copy hits are in the top 10%, then that means the remaining 90% definitely makes less than 10 million yen per year.
The fact still remains that the average mangaka's salary is equal to or less than that of a part-time worker at a convenience store. All professions are equally honorable, but I believe that value could be better appropriated here. Drawing manga is a trade in which only one out of a hundred people are ever able to go pro with. And then only one out of those hundred are ever able to get weekly serializations.

*2 line: 10 million yen a year - Tankoubon volumes cost 500 yen on average, with 10% royalties. The formula I used to get this sum was 500 yen x 10% x 4 volumes x 100,000 copies = 20,000,000 yen. Since making over 18,000,000 yen means you have to pay 40% in tax, then we have to calculate 20,000,000 yen x 40% = 8,000,000 yen and 20,000,000 yen - 8,000,000 yen = 12,000,000 yen. After subtracting the final running costs, it's somewhat questionable whether they'd really be left with 10 million per year.

I see profound hypocrisy in the fact that after working day and night sleeplessly with extreme precision, then finally grasping victory and receiving a stable serialization, this is what mangaka are faced with.
Fads are just that. Temporary.
Last year, my company salary was much lower than it was during the peak. Incidentally, the average yearly salary for all full-time employees at a certain large publishing company is 16 million yen.
Five years after joining the company, employees receive over 10 million yen per year.
bottom text: Kyahoiiii.