Caution: Contains reader shaming and possibly some serious swearing.
I was contacted this weekend by a reader regarding my books. The reader claimed to have read all The Dysfunctional Chronicles, Dark Cotillion, and the first five Dreams & Reality novels. The contact was to see when I would be putting Dark Illumination, Dark Resurrections, Dark Legacies, and the other 6 Dreams & Reality novels on sale. The reader raved about how wonderful each book was and how unique my writing style was and how much they enjoyed reading my work… Even claimed I was their new favorite author.
But refused to pay full price for the other books. I asked my usual questions about hardships and medical issues and distressing family situations. None of which applied to the reader.
As a matter of fact, they informed me that the only reason they refused to pay full price was because I was an indie and therefore, not a real writer, so why should they have to pay $3.99 a book? The most the reader was willing to spend on any indie was $0.99, which is why they had read all the other stuff I had written…
What the fuck!?! So, after claiming I’m your new favorite writer, you insult me by telling me that I’m not a real writer and as such, you should not be forced to pay the outrageous price of $3.99 for my books… And I’m supposed to be okay with that?
Here’s the thing: I’m a writer, not a thrift store owner. Occasionally, I do put books on sale. This is to make it easier for me to attract new readers, readers who want to pay me for my books so I can sit in my pajamas and write more books. If a reader paid full price for every book I currently have available, it costs them a total of $53.82. I make a total of $34.98 (using Amazon’s royalty rates and including the pre-orders for Fortified Dreams). If I sold every book I wrote for $0.99, I’d make a grand total of $6.30 when someone bought every book I had published. I would definitely need a day job.
In the end, the reader got huffy with me and I got bitchy back. Frankly, I’m not all that concerned if they never read another fucking book I put out. I am concerned with the misconception they seemed to have about me not being a real writer because I’m an indie. That would be like me telling a chef they were really just a fry cook because they didn’t have their own cooking show or had never beaten Bobby Flay.
And what about all the other great indies that are being ignored because people still feel like this moron about indies? The best part of indie publishing is that we are, as readers, are no longer limited to what the publishing houses think they can sell. I have found dozens of talented authors who are self-published because despite they fact that they have excellent books, they just can’t get a publisher to take a risk on them. Not to mention just attempting to get published is a little bit like shoving yourself through a sausage grinder – there’s agents, query letters, samples, more agents, changes, revisions, more query letters, more samples, and then if you are really really really lucky, someone will say “Hey, I’ll offer you $15,000 in an advance for 3 books to be written in 4 years, you’ll make an 8% royalty rate, that you will only be paid after we have covered the advance, all the release promos, and you’ve sold X amount of books. Of course, if it flops, we’ll cancel your contract, you can keep the $15,000, but you’ll probably never see another dime because we’ll pull the books off the shelf at some point.”
Did you know the average author makes about $1,000 a year? This includes indies, hybrids, and traditionally published authors. Of those reporting themselves as full time authors to the Bureau of Labor, the average is a much more respectable $55,000 a year. That’s a long way off from what people think we make and why we all consider each book sale important. Maybe instead of complaining about giving us $3.99 for the five or six hours of entertainment we are providing; stop and think about how long it takes us to actually write, edit, and revise a book, how much it costs to publish it, and consider it a steal? You’d probably spend five times that to go to a movie and it isn’t going to last nearly as long. And you’d have to shell out another $19.99 or so to own it on Blu-Ray at a later date.