I’ve seen a couple of posts going around this week that indicate there’s apparently a conversation going on in the writing blogosphere re: book pirating, why people do it, and such. In particular, I’ve seen these two posts:
Dear Broke Reader: Your Sense of Entitlement is Killing Me, by Sarah Madison
This is why we can’t have nice things…, by A.J. Downey
And I wanted to call attention to these, because they both highlight a thing that I feel is very important to keep in mind about writers–not only indie or hybrid writers like myself, but writers in general.
Namely: most writers don’t actually make that much money.
People are sometimes surprised when they hear I have a full-time day job, in addition to working on my novels. The reason for this? Writers don’t make much money. For the record, in any given month, I do well if I pull in enough off my novels for a decent sushi dinner. And as near as I can tell, based on what I hear semi-regularly from other indies, the fact that I can regularly manage about a dozen sales a month is pretty good.
Please remember, though, that most of those sales are for my ebooks. And that my ebooks are $2.99 usually for the novels, and $0.99 for the short stories, and I do not make back the full price unless people buy them directly from me without going through any of the ebook sales sites, or even my Square store. So for any given ebook sale, making about two bucks on the novels, and pennies on the short stories.
On the Carina titles, it’s less. Because I worked with a publisher there, and they get their cut of the sale, too.
Even if I’d been traditionally published on any of these titles, chances would still be high that I would not make much money. I know multiple traditionally published SF/F authors who’ve had their series collapse out from under them due to lack of sales. And I also know of multiple SF/F authors, pretty big names even, who’ve written for years before they’ve been able to bail on their day jobs.
And if the biggest name genre writers, the ones who get advances for the books that’re actually showing up on bookstore shelves, have to struggle to reach the point where they can support themselves with their writing… you can imagine how much more difficult it must be for the smaller names to pull it off.
So yeah. This is one of the reasons why I do in fact keep a full-time day job. Because I don’t make enough on writing to cover the costs of paying for cover art, or for editing services, or for actually printing physical copies of my indie novels. The day job lets me do this, and lets me also afford to go to conventions so that I can sell these books I’m writing.
But here’s the thing: I also had a childhood in which my family was, to put it succinctly, not well off. So I remember what it’s like to not have extra money to spare for things like oh, say, books. Even if they’re very inexpensive books. I get that.
If you’re someone who can’t spare a few bucks on an ebook, though, and you’d like to read my stuff, I’d like to strongly encourage you to contact your local library and ask them if they’d consider purchasing my titles. Some actually have, and I’ll be putting up a page to highlight which library systems are in fact known to carry either the Rebels books, the Free Court books, or both.
And if you’re local to Seattle, I certainly wouldn’t object if people contacted either the Seattle Public Library OR the King County Library System and asked for my stuff!
That way everybody wins. I get a cut of the sale to the library. You get to read my stuff. And other patrons of the library ALSO get to read my stuff!
ALSO: if you do contact your local library to ask them about buying me, mention to them that my titles are available via Overdrive. You can find the Rebels books on Overdrive here. And you can find my indie titles (Faerie Blood, Bone Walker, and both of the short stories) here.
As always, thanks to all for your support! Let me know if you have any questions!