USA Today Best of 2012

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Something Old... but New For Me

Last night, Google gave me an interesting tidbit. Somebody on a file-sharing site for ebooks (think Napster) posted a request to anybody who has All Fore Revenge.

Hmm. First reaction? (oh, aside from the fact that she misspelled All as Al? heh, Al Fore Revenge – gives me a picture of that Tim Allen show, Home Improvement. Can totally see his helper Al going after him with a seven iron on the green…) Now where were we? Oh. First reaction. I thought, “Whoa. Somebody really wants my book. Somebody who doesn’t even know me! (hopefully, cause it would be totally scummy if this person did know me and was trying to steal my book).”

And then I thought, “Hey. It’s kinda scummy that anybody is trying to steal a $5.50 ebook anyway. Especially when the book will last forever and is the latest greatest technology in reading. Especially when it’s from a brand-new, struggling writer(not saying starving, cause that would be an outright lie, which anybody could tell by looking at my waistline or lack thereof).” I wonder if the people who set up these forums have any idea what we make?

I mean, if you’ve published a book, you’re like, set for life! Right?

Well, let’s do the math. I get 40% royalties off each ebook sale. Which sounds like a lot. It’s $2.20 for each ebook sold thru the LIP bookstore. Less if it goes via a third party retailer. Like, $1.10 for Kindle editions. Which still sounds like big bucks. Except, I’ve only got 3 cousins and 4 friends. (I’m kidding of course. I have sold a few more than that. But not many.) And now I’ve got to really meet people and beg them to buy my book. In other words, work for each and every sale. Because, have you seen how many books are out there for sale? Where do you even start deciding which to buy? And then there’s my poor editor. She gets like $0.45 for each copy, and about half that if it’s on Kindle or through somewhere like Fictionwise. As you can guess, she’s already considering stock options. No, not Wall Street stock – pantry stock. And with her check, her options would be, “Iodized, or not iodized?”

Although I wrote All Fore Revenge pretty quickly, I’ve got at least 300 hours into it writing, revising, querying, submitting, editing, creating the trailer, and promoting. So far. When I divide what I’ve earned by this number of hours, I get a very sad hourly rate, probably the minimum wage when they invented coins. And I’ve spent more on advertising than my royalties thus far. Some might ask why bother writing, then? To me, it’s an investment in my future. Writers are, after all, optimists by nature. How else could we toil for months over something without any certainty that it’ll ever be published?

So I guess for those determined to read books and not pay for them, all I can say is, “Visit the library, already!” At least the library pays for the books before it loans them out. And librarians track the number of times books are borrowed – highly used titles mean the author’s next book will be purchased, too. Most libraries now even have ebook programs. Best of all – they’re LEGAL.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

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