So You Really Want to Help the Author?

What follows is my opinion, my dear Gentle Reader. Opinion. Please don't take it as a mandate from on high. You may read in any way you see fit and any method. The point, in the end, is that you read at all!

I'm going to give this to you straight, Gentle Reader. Such directness could be thought quiet rude, this I well know. There are some of you who may wish to stop now, so as to better preserve your image of me. It is an image, no doubt, of a refined elderly female, well coiffed, with a predilection for tea and flowered hats, who's vast independent means permits her the pleasure of writing flowery prose for your amusement in her considerable leisure time.

What follows, my dears, may not be the way you want the oft romanticized publishing world to be. I may not write of it in a manner you see fit. One that somehow dignifies and glorifies the writing arts. Unlike my Victorian forbears I am an author, and this is my trade, not just my vocation. What follows is a gruesome peek into the way IT really works. You shudder, you tremble on your little keyboards, you are afraid, but also . . . admit it . . . your are titillated.

Here it is. What to do if you really truly want to help an author. (I'm talking specifically first week here.)

I write this, not only for myself, although Gail's continued subsistence is, naturally, of primary interest to me. I write this for all us authors ~ for the brand spanking new writer with her first book soon to appear, for your old favorite who has been writing for years or decades in a solidly mid-list manner. If that author is alive and kicking, the best thing you can do to keep them writing is the following . . .

1. Buy her new book, dead tree style, from a brick & mortar bookstore, within the first week of that book's release. Go Indy if you can.

2. If chains are all you have and you can't find it at Big Chain Bookstore B1, then go to Big Chain Bookstore B2, not B1 in a different area.

3. Remind your friends and fellow readers that the book is out.

4. If you would rather read online or digitally, but have the funds to be kind, buy the paperback and give it to a friend or the local library. Then buy the ebook version. (Often the ebook comes out after the paper copy anyway.)

But, Miss Gail, why? This sounds like you want us to play the publisher's game, shouldn't we punish them for not moving with the Proverbial Times?

Why # 1. Because that is what counts the most* toward NYT, and if an author makes The List, she gets put into airports, and if she gets put into airports she gets new eyes, and if she gets new eyes, she gets new readers, and if she gets new readers she gets real sales and she can actually make a living as an author allowing her to write more books for you - ta da! (*Edited with "the most" due to raging discussion in comments below.)

Why # 2. If the Big Chain isn't shelving or distributing the book you want to buy, you do need to punish that chain by going to their competitor, rather than online. Of course, you never read it here, but independent bookstores are particularly responsive to your needs. Particularly responsive.

Why #3. Because word of mouth is the number one biggest seller in the world. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something . . . or in marketing.

Why # 4. Because, under most current active contracts (to which I have been privy), an author's ebook doesn't count as much toward primary sales so far as royalties and NYT are concerned (again see comments below for more), and rumor is they aren't being reported accurately on royalty statements anyway. Digital editions are a whole kettle of fish I refuse to get into, because others like Mr. Stackpole discuss it better (and more frequently), and because we have chatted about it on this blog before.

[Yet another codicil. This last statement seems to have caused a kerfuffle. I don't believe I am ebookist, and I apologize if it seems like I am. Please if you want to consume books that way, you absolutely should. Trust me, no one is more "anti the collection of unnecessary objects" than me. Just ask my ex! No one knows exactly how NYT constructs its list (for good reason) and I am simply trying to articulate what I have been told over the past couple of years in greenrooms, in chats with other authors, agents, and so forth. Kris Rush's investigation and the resulting conversations at conventions and in writer forums have many authors worried. However, I have heard nothing in conjunction with my own house and I have been ridiculously well treated by Orbit, so much so, we stayed with Hachette for my new series.]

I understand that this blog entry seems mercenary, but there is a complex system in place and you, the reader, can hack it in favor of your favorite author if you wish. You simply have to play the game the way they have set it up, as illogical as it may seem to an online audience.

There, I have said my piece and I do hope I have not offended. Heartless is out the week of June 27, officially July 1. Nach.

Ah, and here is the lovely Seanan McGuire on a related subject.

Now, for wading through that you get . . .

A Heartless Teaser
Professor Lyall was the type of man who could stand in the center of a group and no one would remember he was there, except that the group would stay together because of him. ~ Heartless, pg. 213

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:

Your Tisane of Smart:
Tent that is a VW van
Your Writerly Tinctures:
A great RadioLab: Help!, that includes a whole section with writers on overcoming writer's block. Dealing withy the muse.

Timeless: Finished with last draft, awaiting copyedits.
Etiquette & Espionage: The Finishing School Book One: Rough draft done. Working on first read through.
Secret Project PPA: Only a twinkle in my little eye.

BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!
Book News:
Beyond Books reviews the Parasol Protectorate.

Quote of the Day:
"Inside every fat book is a thin book trying to get out."
~ Unknown

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