Things started going downhill when Random House merged with Penguin Putnam and my long-time editor was replaced by an intern with an agenda. I’d missed a deadline for Irontown Blues which meant that PRH could re-write my contract, which they did. Deliver Irontown Blues in one month or pay back the advance. This was an advance HALF of what I got for the previous book, and cut up into three installments, one of which was still pending.
I busted my butt to meet that deadline only to find out that instead of publishing it September 2017, which was the reason I was given for the ironclad deadline, they were putting it off until September 2018! We had to survive for 16 months on the rather small second installment of the advance. After all that, very few copies were printed. There were no hardcover or mass market editions. PRH has no interest in publishing John Varley novels. We made it that time thanks to a generous gift from Spider Robinson, and credit cards.
When I had the heart attack and quadruple by-pass surgery, Spider came to the rescue again. He asked his good friend, Steph Herman, to co-ordinate a fundraising project to help cover costs of rehab, rent and bills which were barely being covered by social security and diminishing royalties: https://www.gofundme.com/f/helpjohnvarley.
Bless you, Spider and Steph!