Due to unresolvable technical difficulties with my other distributor (their team is still trying to figure out what’s wrong with the file with no success), Vampire of Montana is only available for distribution at ACX. The audiobook should be “corrected” on Audible now. (No, I do not feel that my narrator’s usage of foal was incorrect, unnecessary, or anything like that. She had everyone use it because of Texas’s prevalence on the world stage, and frankly, it was a brilliant observation of the nature of linguistics and how people will pick up SOLE words from other cultures.) It will not be available at any other vendor until the technical difficulties are resolved, if they are resolved.
And, considering the nature of the reviews and ratings on most of the other vendors, it’s improbable that the book will be returning. Audible was not slammed nearly as hard as elsewhere, for which I’m grateful, but I just have no desire to republish the audiobook elsewhere, especially considering the ratings (at my last check before they were taken down from sale) and the number of unsatisfied people due to the linguistic choice of my narrator–which I still support. (Yes, this means I’m cutting my losses. As Audible was not horribly slammed, it’s not a huge risk of sinking all the other ships.)
As Vampire was a first in a spinoff series and plagued with problems, it’s unlikely I will have the other audiobooks in this set produced. Right now, I regret having left the hook for the next book as I did, as I would abandon the spinoff series altogether right now had this not been the case.
The Royal States series has not earned back, and I have always done them because I love the world and characters, but enough is enough.
This sort of thing has a tendency to poison people on the other formats as well, and I am not confident that Iron Unicorn will be able to earn its production fees back. (And that’s excluding the hours I put in actually WRITING the book. This is just talking about the cover, editorial bills, and other general expenses.)
Five months after release, Vampire is close to earning back (in ebook format). (This is absolutely normal; the first three months of a book’s life are typically where the majority of books earn money, and it’s very expensive to promote books after the new release window. This is just the general lifespan of a book.)
As I learned with the Royal States series when three books were not matching in cover, missing books early in the series is a death blow to the series’ general sales.
As there will inevitably be linguistic performance choices people will disapprove of, it doesn’t make any sense to continue that spinoff series, especially considering the general expenses involved.
You spoke, I listened, and that’s that.
I am going to be taking a break from social media and readers, as this whole situation has absolutely slaughtered any desire to write or publish. This means I won’t be doing much for Life-Debt’s release, although I will use the ratings and reviews to determine if I will independently publish my Pets in Space 8’s contribution. (The same applies with other future Pets in Space titles.)
For now, this has made me rather miserable, and I am hugely disappointed in how this played out.
My morale, at current, is basically zero. It says a lot that I would rather do the dishes than write or worry about books.
If the technical difficulties for the Vampire of Montana are resolved, I may review what I can of the vendors that were not slammed by those unaccepting of my narrator’s performance decisions and publish the audiobook there. But for now, at a very minimum, due to the ratings (or reviews), the Vampire of Montana will not be republished at chirp, spotify, and kobo.
This way, at least, the remaining Royal States book may not be negatively impacted by this situation. But if it bleeds over to the Royal States books, well, that’s that. The series was already borderline for continuing to be produced. Only one book in the Royal States series has paid me any money for having written it. Only one. The rest have been paying forward the production fees so my staff is paid.
And no, I’m not asking for anyone to change reviews or ratings. I’m not asking you to go buy books in a series you don’t want to read, either. That is how you felt, and this is just an element of this business. Perhaps you dislike the consequences of honesty, but you spoke, and I listened, and I’m not interested in losing even more money by having a failure spinoff series bring the main series to an end sooner than I would like.
Am I disappointed and discouraged? Yes.
But that’s how this business goes, and as I would like to continue writing after I pick myself up and brush myself off, it is what it is what it is.
All this is is me deciding to treat this like a proper business rather than treating myself as a charity, paying everyone except me.
Essentially, I’ve been plucking out my rent, a set amount for being able to do hobbies and vacations every few years, and throwing everything back at this business.
I am done with that. I deserve to be paid properly.
But after reviewing the money situation on the series, Royal States will be moved to no more than once every two years for publication, and that will be only after the series has more time to earn back on what I’ve already dumped into it.
I am going to finish a few series just to get them done, but I will no longer be taking huge losses just to appease readers.
That may very well mean a significantly reduced publication schedule, as I will only save 20% of profits moving forward for all other editions and series that are not able to earn back after three months, and I will not be applying any earnings to the “fun stuff” until after *I* have been paid for my hours. (This is approximately $1,500 a month I MIGHT be able to funnel to this stuff.)
Yes, it means that I will not be publishing (and maybe not even writing books for publication) until I have the money to produce those books in hand, rather than my current method of “spend to produce, hope I make profit.”
I love being altruistic, but I’m establishing boundaries. No, I’m not insane for wanting to help people, especially those suffering through various disabilities and disorders. I AM insane for essentially working for free, though. I’ve done my share for charity purposes, and while I may continue audiobooks in the future, it will be only out of the 20% I reserve after I have been fairly paid for my time.
I’ll probably set it for $25 an hour ($8,750 per novel, lowest hourly living wage possible for my area, per MIT) for the average 350 hours it takes for me to actually write, edit, produce, and deal with the other elements of publishing a book. At current production costs, taxes, etc, a novel will be able to start paying for other novels once it has earned $22,000. (The taxes are rough, as my spouse automatically puts me in the top tax bracket. I can earn a single dollar, and because he is awesomesauce at his job and has worked hard to succeed, I am dinged 45% combined…)
Books are not cheap, and authors should be valued. Or at least paid somewhat over minimum wage. Baseline living wage is fine…
I should be rewarded for working harder, not punished, so 20% of the profits going back to new books and series is more than fair.
If I were sensible, which I am not, I would not even begin the next book in a series that isn’t paying for itself (which is everything except Magical Romantic Comedy series right now) until I have that $22,000 in hand.
To give you an idea of the situation, only one Royal States book has earned enough to give me a living wage. (Which is $25 where I live.) I have four series that have one (and only one) book that has paid me a living wage.
So, to the people who suggested I back off writing and publication and actually look closer at the money, thank you. I appreciate it. And you’re right.
I have done way too much, invested way too much… to funnel everything back into writing books to make readers happy, when at the very end of it, I am simply not being paid to write the books. I get by and pay the bills. I always put my staff, and well, everyone else in front of me.
Enough is enough. I will be calculating how much each book has to earn back so it stops being an accumulated debt against the household… and I will only write the books that I can realistically afford… and that includes paying me.
I am expecting one Magical Romantic Comedy a year book and one other book after everything on my preorder list is done. This… is probably far more realistic than what I have been doing.
You, as always, vote with the books you decide to buy, the ratings you leave, and the reviews you write should you choose to write them. (And I’ll be very blunt… after the Vampire of Montana fiasco, I will no longer be reading any of the reviews, even the positive ones. I’ll leave y’all to decide how you encourage or discourage others for buying the books. I’m staying out of it.)
The ratings will be the ultimate decision factor moving forward along with how much the book or series has earned.
Will I continue writing books in the background? Very probably. But I won’t be publishing any of them until I’m paid fairly for the work I put into them–just like everyone expects to be paid when they go to work. And if I do, it will be on Patreon to my monthly subscribers.
Until Grave Affairs publishes in May of 2024, things will look the same as always on the surface, but in reality, I’m implementing the 20% rule off books that have paid my staff and me starting immediately. If I have enough to publishing something after May 2024, that’ll be great. If not, I will wait until I’ve been paid.
This job is way too hard to keep dumping money into it like this. I know this will disappoint you, but I deserve to be paid for the books I write… so does every author.
And no, I will not be raising the price of my books. $6.99 will remain my peak price for a novel that is below 120,000 words, with $7.99 being reserved for books over 120,000 words.
Moving forward, here is how pricing will work for my books:
- Anthologies (typically over 250,00 words): $9.99
- 120,000+ words: $7.99.
- 70,000-120,000 words: $6.99.
- 50,000-70,000 words: $5.99
- 35,000-50,000: $4.99
- 20,000-35,000: $3.99.
I will no longer be doing $2.99 pricing.
Old prices will stand until I have a reason to update the interior of the books or I run a sale. on the book in question.
Here is the schedule for upcoming sales:
Booked for Murder: Now until August 20, 2023. It is currently priced at $0.99. This book will be priced $7.99 once the sale ends, as it is over 120,000 words long.
- Playing with Fire: September 25 to October 1, 2023: $0.99. ($6.99 after sale.)
- Hoofin’ It: October 2 to October 8, 2023: $0.99. ($7.99 after sale.)
- Hearth, Home, and Havoc: October 9 to October 15, 2023: $0.99. ($3.99 after sale.)
- Serial Killer Princess: October 16 to October 22, 2023: $0.99. ($5.99 after sale.)
- Whatever for Hire: October 23 to October 29, 2023: $0.99. ($6.99 after sale.)
- Owl Be Yours: October 30 to November 5, 2023: $0.99. ($4.99 after sale.)
- Last but not Leashed: November 6 to 12, 2023: $0.99. ($4.99 after sale.)
- No Kitten Around: November 13 to November 19, 2023: $0.99 ($6.99 after sale.)
- Blending In: November 27 to December 3, 2023: $0.99. ($6.99 after sale.)
- Cheetahs Never Win: December 4 to December 10, 2023: $0.99. ($6.99 after sale.)
- Burn, Baby, Burn: December 11 to December 18, 2023: $0.99. ($6.99 after sale.)
I’m going to focus on finishing shorter series first as money allows.
Here’s the short list of the series that will be prioritized for completion. If it is not on this list, it’s not up for discussion right now.
- Nature of the Beast (Sean #2)
- Wolf Hunt (Declan #3)
- Fox Witch (Jade #3)
- Client from Hell (#2, #3)
- Jesse Alexander (#3, #4. Anthology will only be done after all four books in series earn back.)
- Vigilante Magical Librarians (#3, #4, #5)
I would say I am sorry, but unfortunately, I really am not. I’m done with putting myself last in line and putting everything I earn back into writing.
We will see how next year goes, but putting away only 20% into new ventures after I’ve been paid will be the norm moving forward, rather than only keeping the bare minimums needed to get through life.
I understand that this will upset a lot of you, and I accept the consequences of that, whatever they may be.
Happy reading. And for those of you who have found joy in the books, I am glad for that. I hope the books that do come, moving forward, also bring you joy.
But the days of putting everyone always, always over me are over. I deserve at least a living wage for the hours spent bringing a book to life.
I do not feel that is asking too much.