Monday, March 19, 2012

Future Works & What's at Stake

**As a forward -- I didn't want to post this. The numerous requests/emails about The Ripple Effect and Edge of Darkness prompted the post. Thank you in advance.**

When I started writing in 2008, it was for ME. I'd spoken with my husband when I got pregnant with our first child and the decision we made was simple: I'd stay home with our children until they started school. Afterward I'd finish my degree and get my ass to work. Not a hard concept. I had no idea I'd venture into publishing, or I'd try to make a career out of it.

The truth is this: Indie authors (not self-published, which is an entirely different topic) don't get an advance. We don't make money prior to any books selling. We sign a contract with a publisher, edit the book and pray to God that we make money when the book releases. It's a game of cat and mouse, with luck playing a huge part. Will we make decent money? Will our books tank? It's anyone's guess.

In my case I promoted the hell outta Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between. As a result (and with a bit of Lady Luck) I built a name for myself. It wasn't easy. I spent months working on promo and writing the second book in the series nearly killed me. Despite fluctuating sales, I continued on and wrote The Ripple Effect.

Which brings me to this post.

Many have asked about the fourth book in the series: Edge of Darkness. I have a decent idea where things are going and I've started plotting out the story (which, as a pantser, is hard). Otherwise I haven't written a word of the manuscript. Why?

Sales.

As hard as it is to confess, the Rhiannon's Law series is my most heavily pirated work (and most abundantly shared). For the most part, readers seem to enjoy the books -- so long as they're free. At first I accepted this, knowing I needed to make as much cash (no matter how small) as I could. Then I started writing under Aline Hunter and discovered a whole new world existed, one in which people would purchase my work and appreciate me far more.

Is this to say my erotic romance readers are preferable to my urban fantasy ones? Not at all. It's simply to state that I have four children to take care for and this is business. I have to do what is in the best interest of my family. If that means writing erotic romance, I'll write erotic romance. Urban fantasy, no matter how much I love it, will take the back burner. As it is I try to write one Rhiannon's book per year (the books drain me) but depending on the release of The Ripple Effect and sales, that could change.

Unlike New York authors, small press ones don't get money up front. Our income is totally reliant on each and every book sold. It's important for people to realize what is at stake here. Do I want to nag? No, of course not. However, the abundance of those who've contacted me asking for ARCs  have to understand where I'm coming from (and the ARCs for The Ripple Effect are limited -- it's a decision I made with my publisher). If you don't buy my books, I won't be able to keep writing them. It's not rocket science; it's simple math.

Now, with that said, I do hope you enjoy the third book. I'm looking forward to writing the fourth. Unfortunately this year is swamped with the books that do support my family. I wish I could write to make everyone happy. I wish I could write and share my stories for free. The truth is I gave up that right when I had children. They deserve more and, as their mother, I will give them more. It's my duty as a parent to look out for them. Just like those who enjoy reading, I have to make living. Thus is the stuff of life.

It's back to work for me. I have several projects lined up this year and time is short. I hope you're all doing well and enjoying the Spring.

As a side: To those of you patiently waiting to buy The Ripple Effect when it releases -- my sincerest thanks, really, for all of you who do support me. You are the reason I can continue writing, and I can't thank you enough. I hope the book is worth the wait. Hopefully I can continue writing the series. I truly hope so. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

12 comments:

Skyla Dawn said...

This.

Except replace "erotic romance writer" with "low class stripper."

A bitch has gots to get paid.

Dolly said...

I am a book lover and have recently become a book blogger. I love your Urban Fantasy books.
I have not tried your other books at this time but I believe I will in the future.
I made a vow when I starting blogging, no free books for me. If I get an ARC to review, I buy it, just because I think that's fair. If I'm going to review it, I should buy it. I make no money blogging and am retired but can afford to buy my books.
Authors take a huge risk in doing what they do and should be compensated. Of course, if I buy a book and hate it, well, I probably won't go back to that author again. That's the risk readers take.
But we can stumble upon an author such as yourself and be extremely glad we took the risk.
I really hate that so many books are pirated.
I hope you are able to continue your series but FAMILY ALWAYS COMES FIRST.
Thanks.

Sharon said...

even thought the Rhiannon series is one of my all time favorite, I understand the need to write stories that make money for you. Since writing Rhi books are so draining, maybe a break from them would do you some good. I am not going anywhere and maybe next year you will feel refreshed and ready to tackle another Rhi book, or maybe the next...I'll wait :)

Bells said...

Informative post on how publishing works for some authors.

Your fans will support you and will wait for your books. Patiently hopefully. LOL But yeah, looking forward to reading more as always.

Elin said...

I loved "Dead, Undead..." so much that even though I own the first edition e-book, I bought the second edition to see the changes. And I bought a copy to give away. :D

Phyllis M said...

What a really terrific blog and insight into, not only yourself, but the world of publication, JA. As a mom I can so understand where you are coming from and I have to say, I don't mind spending money on books when they are worth it. And yours are most certainly. Often, the first book in a series is free or $.99, which is great to start with. And if I want the others,I purchase them. I started reading your 'erotica' with 'Omega Mine', read 'Eternity and A Day' and now almost done with 'Darkest Hunger'. Of course, I am waiting on 'Enemy Mine' and it's killing me. Thank you for your thoughts and caring enough to explain it all! Have a wonderful day! :)

oreoparris said...

I am really sorry that you are still having trouble with piracy of your work. It really is a shame that people still do that when it impacts so many negatively. I really enjoy reading all of your work and look forward to the coming releases. But I understand the need to do what is best for your family. I hope this situation gets resolved in your favor soon. Best wishes and many hugs.

J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Sorry I'm slow to respond!

Skyla: Thanks for the image again. It's perfect lol.

Dolly: Thank you for your kind words and support. It means the world to me. Hopefully I can continue with the series. We'll see.

Sharon: She is tough to write. I'm hoping that if The Ripple Effect does well I can return to writing her this fall. *fingers crossed*

Bells: Thank you! I'm glad it shared some information of what things are like.

Elin: You're the sweetest. I've said it before but I'll say again -- thank you.

Phyllis: I'm glad you found the post informative. I didn't want to go into great detail, just to address the issue (and provide answers for those who have asked). Taking care of the kiddos does come first. :)

Hey OP: The piracy has been bad. I'd hoped things would improve. As I stated, it wasn't until I released a few things with Aline Hunter that I truly realized how little the series makes (yet is the most heavily shared/pirated). Hopefully the new release will do well and I can keep going.

For everyone, I do know I'll keep writing the books. The reason I don't mention publishing is the editing, etc takes time. I can't promise that right now. We'll see what the future has in store. :)

S. J. Maylee said...

Always love your honesty!! The pirates make me sad. But I'm so excited about all the JA Saare & Aline Hunter books I'm going to get to BUY this year!!

:D

Danielle Blanchard Benson said...

As an author (of the self-pubbed variety but since I pay a professional editor and have a cover artist on the payroll, I am not that far down on the author spectrum list), I buy books constantly. I am happy to report I bought both your books in the Rhiannon's Law series.

I have two accounts on Amazon and I made sure I logged back in to the account I bought your book from to leave reviews.

Whether self-pubbed or small press pubbed (I have friends who are both with small presses and those who are with Amazon so I know how it works), we are all in the same boat. We are all trying to make a living by doing what we do best.

It would never occur to me to pirate your work mostly because I am a divorced mother of two children trying to make a name for myself. I have three projects going at the moment, a novel which will be released in April and another in May. Oh yeah, did I mention I am trying to clean up my chick-lit serial which makes ten times more money than my paranormal and dystopian books do?

You do what you need to do and we will support you never the less. After reading more than a few "sexy time" paranormal books, I kind of prefer them to the more vanilla romance variety...lol. What ever YOU write, whether it's JA or Aline on the cover, I would be willing to buy! ;-)

Tiffany said...

I borrowed your first version of Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between from my library on my ereader. Even with the editing quality issues I loved the story and the characters. The library is such a great way to try out new authors.

After the newer version was released I purchased it.
I have now purchased most of your books in Kindle format, including those written as Aline Hunter, just because I enjoyed your writing in Rhiannon's series so much. Most likely I will end up buying physical copies of the Rhiannon series also.

Anyway, I didn't intend to leave a comment to be a super fangirl, but thanks for writing such great books! I am very anxious for The Ripple Effect and if I could pre-order it I would.

I really don't get the mindset of people pirating these books. The purchase price is very reasonable, particularly for the e-version.

jeannie said...

as an artist i understand the fury overpiracy - we get that all the while where someone thinks its fine to copy our paintings - but there's little we small artist/writers can do - taking action needs deep pockets and we don't have them. i love to read - adore the rhiannons law series and looking forward desparetly to buying the rest. i also review for darkissreads and get free review copies there - if i like the books i then go on to buy more. having limited funds like so many buying books means taking a risk with a new authro so reviews are important to me and getting the first in a sereis for low cost has temted me into many new to me auithors. (my kindle has a lot to answer for in household spends - blush - its just soo tempting when you can be reading the new book withing seconds) I do understand the need to put family first though - haven't tried the aline hunter books yet but might give some a whirl - i really like book that run in a sereis as as with rhiannons law have something to get your teeth inot - in a human mental way not a vampire real way!! i've re read the first tow of these 3 teims and only bought them this year...i find re reading a book gives me alot that i missed first time round and understanding where the story goes means that little clues missed on foirst read make sense on second and subsequent reads.
happy writing - i rate rhiannons law up there with the big authors and hope sometime you get a good publishing deal - if there's any way we are readers can promote books to publishers let us know - i'm sure lots would help. i know nothing of publishing but guess its like art - galleries want established artists that guarantee them sales - there's load of fabulous art on the web that betters that seen in so many galleries but as unknown artists they don't get a look in. :(