**There are a lot of gifs and images in this post -- I couldn't help myself. Be warned.**
Just a quick post to address emails I've gotten in the last year. Many readers have been positive, but many have been negative as well.
I stopped writing Rhiannon due to poor sales.
Despite my explanations (which can be found on my website) and despite explanations on this very blog (I explained this prior to The Ripple Effect releasing yet the numbers didn't increase I wouldn't be able to write the series) many haven't gotten the memo.
I tried to figure out a way to write about characters I love and feed my children (FYI, I have four) yet it wasn't working. I was faced with staying home and writing full-time v/s returning to school and getting my degree. Then, out of the blue, something happened. My erotic romance took off and suddenly I had to make hard choices. Did I stick with what I loved creating for less than minimum wage (for a full-time job) or did I take a leap and write something else I also enjoyed?
The truth is simple: I chose to write what feeds my children. I thought rational people would understand.
Instead, I got bombarded with this...
I know many like to bash an author for ending a series midway, but here's the truth: I write because I love it. I PUBLISH to make a living. There is a difference. Yes, you can name call. Yes, you can hate me. Yes, you can tell me you hope I die (and yes, I've been told this from a Rhiannon fan). You can blast me until you turn blue in the face about my choices.
If it's not supporting my family, I don't have the luxury to care (wish I did).
As a reader, however, I DO get it. We want our books and we want them yesterday. Yet, as an author, I also understand bills have to be paid. I think the worst thing is when people lash out when they have no idea what it's like for the average author. Trust me, most of us don't own condos in Florida for vacay (I wish). Most of us don't have nannies (GOD, I wish), most of us don't live a lavish life (unless you consider a bowl of Ramen living large -- in which case I'm living VERY lavishly), and most of us do NOT have maids (this isn't the Brady household).
Rhiannon's Law is returning at a new publisher that, I hope, will revive the series. I'd honestly wanted to put a cork in it, but my editor (a fan of the series from a long time back) inquired about the books and I passed a Hail Mary. True, she liked the first few books...but would she like it revised? To my shock, she wanted a contract. The offer came and I decided to give her one (actually three -- the fourth is in the works) of the books. I figured it couldn't hurt. Edge of Darkness is partially completed and I've been jotting down notes for future books in the Rhiannon's Law World.
Believe me when I say I love writing this series and can't wait to put the plot onto paper. However, when I compare the numbers from my urban fantasy sales to my erotic romance author alias...the numbers do NOT come close. Not at all. For example: 18% of my income in 2012 was from my J.A. Saare pen. The remainder came from my Aline Hunter handle. As a mother and wife, I had to sit down and get honest with myself. The books, as much as I loved writing them, were NOT selling. I sent out numerous DMCA notices to piracy sites daily, yet they kept reappearing (via other uploaders or requests). Even then, I kept hoping things would get better. I told myself to hold on to the railings and give it a proper go.
Not everyone is unwilling to pay for an author's work, right?
Then, after a few royalty statements (which were quarterly and dismal), I gave up and focused on erotic romance. Don't get me wrong, I love erom! I simply figured I'd tuck Rhiannon in my pocket, write her story in my extra time, and keep her to myself. Not because I'm selfish. It's not personal at all. Truth be told she wasn't selling well and I had to accept it. It's not personal, it's business.
Or so I thought.
This is what happened next.
Pretty, innit it? Well, maybe not so much. I can say it was a rude awakening.
I hope those who inquired about the books will be happy they are releasing at Samhain (with the fourth coming soon) in the future. No, I wasn't holding them hostage (if you paid uberamounts for the next two books, I haven't seen a penny if it makes you feel better). I simply got my rights back and thought (prior to submission at Samhain) the series would be forgotten. During that time, I worked on other projects. I did what anyone would do -- I made a business decision I hoped would aid my casa.
In truth, I can't act like I did in my twenties.This isn't about me. It's about the spawn I brought forth into this world. I can't think about myself. I have to think about them. Yes, I adore my readers. But ultimately the world is going to crap in a hand-basket and I have to make sure my kiddos pick up the slack. I can't think about myself, I have to think about humanity (okay, that's a bit much -- I just have to think about the fruit of my womb's futures). It's not about me or you, it's about them. Believe me, I've called and apologized to my mother daily since I've grasped the concept (the woman deserves a medal).
I can 't do this...
I must do this...
While also doing this:
I find it very sad that, as an author, I put time into my work yet I have to deal with issues like this (I won't even discuss the name calling and horrid things people say) when I get "fan mail." How hard is it to understand? An honest day's work (that takes me from my family) is something I take seriously. I have a life outside my job (just as readers have -- otherwise they wouldn't have time to read -- a life outside of their job) which means I have an allotted time to create future stories. I am NOT making income from used books with crazy prices. I'm not hording anything. I stopped writing a series and others took advantage. For that, I do apologize. As for the rest? I'm not responsible.
For those who've been ugly, I ask: Do you have a job? Do you get paid? If you have a job yet were offered a sizable bonus to go somewhere else, would you accept?
Joking aside, this is a serious question.
For me, it's about the love and passion of writing. But I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth (alas, I only wish). Writers/Authors are no different from people who work at Wal-Mart (in fact, I may be heading there soon to supplement our income -- check me out in aisle nine -- no, I'm not kidding). Most of us make pennies on a dollar and don't make enough to survive. Most of us can't even buy our medications or pay for gas. That's the honest trust. I can't tell you how many authors I know with "jobs" who write when they have a minute to spare. They are like me, taking extra time away from those they love to do something they enjoy. And, if they are published, they hope and pray people will PAY for their work and not share it across the internet if/when they get a deal.
Anyhow, this is my response to the nasty emails that have gone unanswered. At the end of the day I'm human. I make mistakes. I fuck up.
Oh yes, I do. Often. I've made so many bad decisions in my life. But I'm striving to be a better person (and business woman.. I think we all are (face it, times are tough). As I get older, I stress less about what people think and have stopped trying to blame others for stupid shit. I accept if a series doesn't work, it doesn't work. If a book isn't selling, it's time to rethink things. Math is simple (at least, for me, sometimes) and if the numbers don't work, they don't work.
I made the decision over a year ago to change my life (which is why I'm not online much these days) and enjoy the things I have. In the end, my children, husband, fur babes, and family are what matter most. Yes, I love to write (I always will) but it's not my life. It's merely a fraction of it. I will always write, that'll never change. However, I will look at royalties and base business decisions on them. If I can't enjoy what I love, what's the point? I might as well join the nine to fivers.
I'm a mother. It's my responsibility to do what's right for my children. We'll never be rich but I can strive to give my children a bright future (who wouldn't?). As much as I want to please the world, I want to please them even more. At the end of the day, I look into their eyes and tell them why times are tough and we can't buy the cereal they want or pay the cost for band trips.
If you hate me for that...well...hate me.
Judging from my email, I can't win or lose.
So stop the aggressive correspondence, okay? It might make you feel better at the time but it's a crappy thing to do to another human being. That's right. I'm human. I don't live in a magical house (nor do I own a unicorn, damn it!). I'm just another person -- with feelings and a family -- who is trying to make ends meet.
It might be hard at first to conceive, but try.
Another human writes books. Another human has a family.
Concentrate. Consider what I've said. Give it a go.
Are we there yet?
Do you get it now?
I hope so.
Whew. I feel better now. Off to write (kiddos are finally asleep). G'night!