This is how I’ve decided to move forward with all future publications. Please read carefully.
Definition: future publications means books that do NOT currently have a preorder.
First, I will still be selling my books on Amazon. I will just be selling them on a different schedule.
Second, for those who have complained about audiobooks and print editions not releasing at same time as ebook editions… okay. You win.
Moving forward, releases will now happen in stages, with all retail versions (audio, ebook, print) releasing at the same time.
Stage One: the Patreon releases.
Once a book is finished and on route to the audiobook narrator, I will release the novel to my patreon contributors. I have two separate patreons. One is for monthly contributors. One is done on a “per release” basis. (You can access links to these patreons later in the post.)
All books, regardless of length, will cost $5.99. (That said, novellas will end up being a perk to the monthly patreon contributors and not actually released as a “book” until the collection is large enough to justify the $5.99 price tag.) So, the monthly contributors get extra. (That is to be expected. They’re paying monthly.)
Stage Two: Retail Releases. (ebook, audio, AND print, simultaneously.)
3-6 months after Patreon users get their copy, the book will release to retail. I will set a release date after I know when my narrator will be finished the audiobook version. I will have time set aside for prooflistening and all that jazz as well. Timing for the release will be dependent on the audiobook editions. It may be delayed up to a year depending on audiobook narrator availability.
This is why I had hesitated to move more to the “planned” model of releases, but this is the best of both words.
You can read the patreon file version on any ereader app; you select your file type based on what app you use to read. So, nobody misses out. Don’t like Patreon?
You can wait for retail release and pay the retail price for the books.
Like Patreon? You get the book early and I am paid more. We all win.
Note: This is nothing new; any author who releases print and audiobook at the same holds the ebook back for 3-6 months. So, before you get angry, just understand that’s how long it takes for this stuff to get done.
Patreon allows me to give access to the books on the original schedule.
Now, for the bad news: price changing.
Retail versions will cost $6.99 for full-length novels. Audiobook pricing will likewise see a slight increase of costs.
There is a fuckton involved with retail publication. Patreon is simpler, pays better than retailers, and I do not have to deal with numerous restrictions retailers enforce.
I will also be doing a minimum of one additional proofreading pass on the version that goes to retailers.
That costs more time and extra money in the production process. Thanks to Amazon’s rules, the books have to be basically perfect before going to retail or I am penalized.
This method lets me work at making sure most typos are eradicated before it goes to retail. Patreon users get the book for cheaper–but they will get some typos. (The quality will be the same as what I am releasing now, as that part of the process will remain unchanged.)
Retail versions will be cleaner. Those who can’t stand typos should stick to the retail edition.
So, one change that I will be making is the inclusion of bonus material in the Patreon versions of the books. Those will not make it into the retail editions. Why?
Retailers typically bar such inclusions in their terms and conditions.
The Patreon version of the books will include behind-the-scenes commentary at the end of the book, any cut scenes, and particularly amusing “what the HELL was that about?” oopses that occurred during the making of the book.
As I am not allowed to include this stuff typically in retail editions due to terms and conditions, this is something I get to do for my enjoyment.
In short, I love the possibilities of Patreon.
I can also include things like pictures I license that associate with the book in the end matter; Amazon charges by file weight for transfer fees to readers. Patreon doesn’t. As such, I can include fun things like that as part of the bonus material, where it would cost me an arm and both legs were I to try to do that with Amazon and other retailers.
Takeaway: I’m paid more at Patreon, so Patreon will get the lion’s share of my direct attention and interaction with readers.
Retail versions will continue as normal beyond the price increase to cover things like Amazon’s malicious “error correction” policies, and so on. (That stuff costs me time AND money, and the price of the ebook is going to reflect the cost of operation.)
Alas, due to Amazon’s rules, I can’t just mark prices down cheaper elsewhere unless I release the books early to those vendors and exclude Amazon completely. Amazon controls how much I may charge at other vendors in that I MUST price them to the lowest. If I do not, I can have my publisher account closed and my books removed from sale.
Author life is rough, y’all.
So, now that I’ve covered the basics, here is a thorough look at how this will work.
I will begin with retail.
Everything goes as normal. I will announce release dates for the Patreon edition and tentative retail release dates. I will only announce Patreon edition dates with links once in a book’s lifespan. If you don’t join the patreon, you won’t see many comments about the early release. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
View Patreon as a club for enthusiastic fans who hate waiting.
After that, facebook, website, etc, etc, etc will operate on Retail Time. All dates announced will be when audiobook, print, and ebooks will be released to vendors. You will preorder at your vendor of choice as normal. The only difference will be the price increase to better account for Amazon/retailer policies, the amount of extra work invested into the retail editions versus the Patreon editions, and so on.
The $10+ per month tiers are the ones that include new book releases. The most popular tier is the Otters. Otters get the books and most of the other perks.
The $5 per month tier does not get new titles, but they get a weekly read along chapter-by-chapter of my entire catalogue with author commentary. I will probably give all Patreons the read along novel in ebook version after the conclusion of the read along so they have a copy for their kindles without having to go to patreon to read the book.
We started with the Witch & Wolf series.
Here are the details regarding the $10 per month tier.
Who doesn’t love a cute otter? They’re otterly adorable!
Otters will receive a link to bookfunnel for all new novels on release day, enjoy access to the backlist read along, and can enjoy any short stories RJ writes.
- New Novels (Bookfunnel Access)
- Backlist Read Alongs (Weekly Chapter)
- Short Stories
- Coloring Book Pages
- Letters from the Furred & Frond Management
- Ask the Author~
How billing works for Monthly Patreon:
You are charged immediately upon signing up for the first month. You may either select pay for a year in advance or pay monthly. Yearly payments are at a slight discount. After the initial sign up, you will be billed on the first of every month. Easy peasy!
Patreon charges me roughly 9-10% in fees overall for use of their service. (Retailers charge me 30% plus some additional fees depending on vendor.)
You sign up to be an otter. You choose monthly payments. You are billed $10 immediately. (There may be sales tax depending on your specific location and tax rules; Patreon handles those taxes for me.) You will then be billed $10 on May 1. (You gain immediate access to the archives, so essentially the first $10 is paying for all the material currently available…. but if you can’t do the amount right away, wait until the 2nd to sign up, then you will be billed more advantageously.)
Unless you sign up for yearly, in which case, you pay the $108 or so after the discount.)
But how do I get my books?
When the book is ready for release, I will warn all patreons it is coming! I will either post the charging post (you’ll learn more about this in the per release patreon) or announce the date.
I will be giving plenty of time for people to change tiers or cancel pledges if they don’t want the book, but it’s not my responsibility to chase you. (If you need the strict controls of preorders on Amazon/other vendors, then retail is the best choice for you!)
Anyway, books are delivered in epub and mobi format via Bookfunnel. This means all standard ebook readers can read the file. You just have to follow your specific app’s instructions on how to load the file into the ereader.
In kindle, you can email the file to yourself or plug your device into your computer with your cable and transfer the file that way. Each app has its own way of loading in files, so you can refer to the app’s instructions. (No, I can’t troubleshoot getting the file onto your ereader, sorry.) Bookfunnel does its best to tell you how to do it and make the claim process simple.
When the book is ready, you will be sent a link through patreon’s private message system.
Okay, onto the per release variant of Patreon.
Instead of paying monthly, you will “preorder” books by selecting the tier you want. There are currently four tiers: Cindercorns (you get ALL books I write regardless of genre), RJ Blain only, Susan Copperfield only, and Bernadette Franklin only.
How billing works:
Unlike for the monthly tiers, which is consistently on the month, the per release/per novel patreon bills on the first of the month of the release via a “charged” post.
Plaidypus releases in Mid-May. Sometime between April 25-29ish, I will make a charged post to the RJ Blain Only AND the Cindercorn tiers. On May 1, these users will be billed for the book.
As soon as I have the final in hand (which will be up to a week before the retail release), the people in these tiers will receive their book via private message on Patreon.
The charged post will include a backlist book to amuse you until Plaidypus arrives, along with some fun commentary and general updates. This is a normal operating procedure on Patreon, and Patreon tells creators to handle delivery this way to prevent non-payers from accessing the files. (It’s the best of both worlds; you get a book with the charged post, PLUS you get the new release as soon as it’s ready.)
You will receive your book via bookfunnel.
Phew. That was a lot.
So, please don’t panic. The only real changes are the price increase on retail to account for the extra work retail involves due to Amazon’s predatory policies. (And should they change them and stop costing me time and money, I’ll probably lower the price again, but for now… extra work is extra expenses.) The patreon option allows people to maintain the current price point, so it’s a fair compromise.
(That plus I’m legitimately paid more on Patreon even when only charging $5.99 versus when I charge $6.99 on Amazon.)
Have a great day, and thank you for your patience while I navigate the increasingly complicated world of publication.