Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Bit More on My Decision...

When a reader is deciding whether or not to read one of my books, they weigh a few things. Whether the book sounds interesting, what they've heard about it, if they've enjoyed my previous books, the price, things they've heard about me, etc.

When I have to decide what's in the best interest for my readers, my books, my career, and myself, the decision becomes a lot more complicated. Especially when considering what's good for one reader might be not-so-good for another.

When I decided to sell the rights for the Trylle Trilogy to St. Martin's, it wasn't something that I came to lightly. It was something I discussed with people, struggled with, and weighed the pros against the cons. I knew there would be cons - and one of those cons would be backlash from people who didn't understand or agree with my decision.

But in the end I came to the decision based primarily on this one fact: With St. Martin's, I would be able to produce a better quality product that would be more accessible to readers, and I would have the support of a house behind me to help take of some of the strain I've been under so I can focus on writing more books.

Are there downsides? Absolutely. But I believe the the pros outweighed the cons for the readers, the books, and myself.

The biggest complaint is going to be that I'm a sell out. This seems silly to me because I will be making less money per book sold than I am right now. Also, I haven't changed my opinion on publishing at all since I started this. But I digress.

The term "sell out" is going derive more from the fact that the price of the ebooks will go up with St. Martin's. I will reiterate, however, that I am making much, much less on higher priced ebooks than I am right now. People will argue that unlike paper books, ebooks cost next to nothing to make, so why should they really cost anything?

The fact is that St. Martin's is a huge corporation, which is why I signed with them. The money they make off the ebook goes into feeding said corporation, which includes their staff - of which I have frequent contact with my editor, two publicists, web design people, artists, marketing, etc. They're working on major cover launches, spreads in ads that book buyers - like Walmart and Target - read. There's a major ad campaign going underway that frankly, I couldn't afford or negotiate on my own. I simply do not have the expertise in it.

I'm not going to go into a total break down of where St. Martin's is spending their money, because honestly, I don't think it really matters to most readers. The point is that I know where it's going, and I think they earned their share of the royalties. I think that what they do justifies a higher increase in price.

With that said, both St. Martin's and I are working to keep the prices as low as possible, because we do value my readers. I wouldn't have gotten this far without you, and I know it. So out of respect and consideration for the readers, I don't want to unnecessarily raise prices.

In the end, I know some people won't agree with me. Some people will still think either I'm an idiot or a greedy asshole. Nothing I can say will ever change that opinion, so I just have to accept as part of the decision I made. I knew I would lose some readers in the transition, but I went ahead with it because I truly believe that this will benefit the readers who stayed around.

I guess all I'm really trying to say is that whether you agree with the decision or not, I want the readers to know that they factor heavily into all my decision making. In fact, they're probably the biggest factor, because without them, my books and I are nothing.