Monday, March 19, 2012
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?
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.