Really, what author doesn’t love readers? Well, knowing how cankerous us authors can be, there is probably a handful out there. But then I don’t understand why they even try to be/are published.
Anyway, I was reading Suzanne Johnson’s blog, and she kindly pointed out to an Amazon reviewer a misconception some readers have about authors. Click here to read the post. We’re always flabbergasted when we receive complaints about things we can’t control.
Sure, we can go to our editors and ask them to reconsider, but their marketing people have been doing the job many years, have the education to back them up, and the savvy needed to make the decisions. While, like me, authors usually just want to write and make enough money to live on. We are dreamers. Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) recited part of a great poem that most authors can relate to.
We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
—World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
By Arthur O’Shaughnessy
And yes, I feel a list coming on. Here are the things authors have no or little control over if published by a traditional publisher. Self-published books are totally a different kettle of fish.
1) Price. I’ve been fortunate that my publisher would ask me on occasion if they can mark down my books. Standard price is $3.99 for the e-book. So when they marked it down, it has been as low as $1.99. Only once have I let them mark a full novel down to 99 cents. Others can price them that low, but I value the work and time involved in producing my full length books, and I deserve more than 25 cents (usually less) for each one. We’re not talking about tens of thousands of dollars. It’s more like around $1,000 a year. Can you live on that amount in the U.S.? Hell, no, not if you want electricity, food, a roof over your head, etc.
By the way, it takes five months for me to write a full length book. And I work a full time job. Yep. Over 40-48 hrs a week and then I come home and write all evening and sometimes early in the morning. Let’s say on the low average, six hours a day. I write weekends, holidays, and of course, weekdays. So 365 days a year. Yes. Family obligations keep me from writing at times, but I still find time in the mornings or evenings. So six hours a day times 365 days equals 2,190 hrs a year. Let’s say last year I made $1,250 off all three books (probably less than that), I average 0.57 cents an hour. WOW! I’m living the high life, heh?
Oh,that amount isn’t all at one time. I get paid once a month on e-books (some months are skipped -no sales), so those $30 royalty checks can get us excited at home. That means we can go out to eat. YAY!
2) Cover. Once again, my publisher does ask my opinion and if I didn’t like something, they would give me a chance to say no, though I never did. Though I wish I had on my blue book (CIRCLE OF DANGER). It looks so different from the other two. We can only hope that the picture grabs the readers attention. It is the hotter of the three novels.
3) Formatting. Thankfully, Avon does a wonderful job in that regard with my books. There are several publishers who do not. They use double spacing (like an unpublished manuscript) between each line. Or they use double between each paragraph. To me, a break after a paragraph in a book means a POV change or time shift. A favorite author of mine’s publisher does that. Why? I have no idea. Anyway, this is usually beyond our control.
4) Title. You didn’t see that one coming, did ya? Yep. We have little control over that. Some authors have no say so at all. Thankfully, Avon is a class act. My editor asked my opinion and listened to what I said and then we worked together on the right title. CIRCLE OF DESIRE was originally OUT OF THE SHADOWS. I like the original title because spies and mercenaries work in the shadows. With Collin’s help, Olivia was pulled out of the shadows into the light and realized the person she worked for was a bad guy. Cool, isn’t it?
Anyway, the editor felt my title didn’t do the book justice as it was a romance, a hot one, and we needed to bring it to the reader’s attention. She thought the play on the organization’s name would help connect the other books. Boy, oh, boy, it did. When it came to the second and third book, we (my second editor came in the middle of edits of CIRCLE OF DANGER) agreed DANGER and DECEPTION worked perfectly for the other books.
5) Odds and Ends. I’ve seen one star reviews for the reader having trouble downloading a book (if through a reputable bookseller, it is most likely your computer/tablet/internet connection – besides, most authors are not IT experts), for receiving a book looking used (purchased from an independent seller, claiming to be “new” – I swear we want you to receive a new book, but there are others wanting to make a buck off an author’s hard work, without compensating the author. So buyer beware of unknown third parties.), and for the book not being the type of story or the direction they wanted. The last one I say, be sure to read the description of the book and the first few pages before buying. If you did, then I suggest either buy another author’s book or do what many authors have done, write your own. HA!