In the FAQ comments – which I’ve turned off because I didn’t realize that I was getting comments there, and of course, since I was unaware, I’ve been ignoring them – there was one I would like to address a bit more publicly (I’ve addressed it in email, because the reader was kind enough to send email via the contact form when I failed to answer a comment I didn’t actually see).
Do you have a place where you accept donations to the author? I tend to read books from the library or buy them used, which means that authors don’t receive additional royalties when I read their works. I like to make donations directly to the authors whose work I most enjoy, as a “thank you” and as a “please keep writing!”. I’d rather donate the retail cost of a book directly to the author, so that he/she receives a bigger cut than what an Amazon sale might bring.
Thanks very much for the many hours of reading pleasure you’ve given me.
If you, as a reader, for whatever reasons – financial, house bursting at seams with too many books, love of libraries – prefer to read my books through a library, you are still reading my books, and this does benefit me. Libraries don’t order books unless their patrons want to read them. If no one wanted to read any of my books through the library system, the library wouldn’t order them–they would spend their budgets on books that their patrons do want to read.
When they do order the books, they register as sales. I think, for ebooks, the cost is higher – but that’s almost an aside. The books carried by libraries are ordered from the publishers who have paid up front for me to a) write the books, b) artists & designers for the various book covers, c) print runs and d) distribution. Writing the first draft – the submission draft – of a book is not a team sport, it’s true. But everything that occurs after that is. Editing. Copy-editing. Proof-reading. Writing cover copy. Writing catalogue copy. Cover art.
(I got to attend the cover shoot for Cast in Flame. I took pictures. I was reminded, by these pictures, that I have almost no talent as a photographer, but luckily, that’s not my job. I intend, closer to the publication date, to write a couple of blog posts about how the photo-shoot becomes the cover itself, because there are many steps.)
Also: marketing. Sales reps. Bookstores. Booksellers.
All of this, in the end, in the hope of reaching readers who will actually like the books.
But: library sales are part of this. So: if you prefer to read books from libraries, I’m happy.
Used books, it’s true, don’t pay the publishers. I get no royalties from them.
But here’s the thing: I used to buy used books. I used to buy a lot of used books. I bought new books as well – but not as often, because I couldn’t afford to buy as many books as I could read. (Having children cut my reading time down severely). I often took a chance on new-to-me authors through those used books.
I often found authors I would then camp the bookstores for, waiting for their new releases. And, because reading was what I did, I would burble like a happy, obsessed person when I found something I loved. I may have attempted to convince other people to read them. (I would rant like an angry, upset person when I read something I hated.)
I can’t speak against used books. Because I bought them, and because they were important to me. So if you found me that way, that’s fine, too.
But I don’t really want direct donations for those books, or the books read in libraries, because they don’t benefit the rest of the people who work to publish the novels, and that sort of makes me feel guilty. Yes, without the book, there wouldn’t be the team behind it. I will flatter myself and say that my input is important. But it’s not the only input, and I want the rest of the team to benefit from their work, as well.
So in closing: if you read me at a library, or from a library, I’m happy. If you buy my books in any format, I’m happy. If you buy me in ebook, I’m happy. If you buy me in audiobook, I’m happy. I don’t require you to buy the books immediately, or in a specific format–but if I can ask one thing, it’s that on occasion, you read in a format that will also reward the publisher for their investment in me.