If you’re one of those people who are ‘poor’ and ‘can’t afford to buy books because… poor’ and you download them from a pirate website, then you need to listen the hell up.
I am an indie author. Which means I have to pay editors, cover artists, promotion companies, etc. out of my own pocket to make my stories fit for public consumption. This doesn’t come cheap. Let’s break it down shall we?
I wrote a story that I laughingly refer to as ‘The Book That Doesn’t Sell’ so I’m using Indigo Road as my example. Why doesn’t it sell? I have no idea. Everything else I have written, even though none have made the top ten, have sold reasonably well. Except this one.
It has a beautiful cover, enticing blurb and has an above average rating on Goodreads. (4.11 at last look) It’s well written (even my editor complimented it – and that’s as rare as hen’s teeth. You could have knocked me over with a feather) People have told me it’s their read of the year and one lovely reader even made some fan art for me (no one has ever done that before or since) It’s also cheap. Like .99c cheap. It’s almost free. But it doesn’t sell. Why not? I have no f**king clue.
But here’s what I wanted to share with you. Take note, Parasites.
*All costs shown have been converted to USD*
Cover Art $185.00
Copyright $ 35.00
Paperbacks to onsell $65.00
Total cost out of my pocket $640.00
Remember, that’s BEFORE I’ve even released the book.
Now let’s look at the time it took for me to write it. I started writing at the end Dec 2014 and finished the first draft in mid April 2015. Did I work every day? No, but I wrote MOST days. For arguments sake, let’s say I spent 2 hours per day, Mon – Fri, writing the first draft. That’s reasonable. If I’m working for minimum wage ($17.29 ph in Aust or $7.25 in US. Let’s use USD to keep things uniform) this is what it would be.
2 hrs per day x 80 days x $7.25 = $1,160.00. That’s just the first draft. I’m not taking into account rewrites, editing, proofing, promo etc.
Total cost to RJ $1160 + $640 = $1800.00
Now for sales. I released this book on December 4, 2015 with the original list price of $3.99. That’s about the max I can ask for my books as I don’t have the backing of a publisher and I need to be competitive so I can get my name out there in the hope readers will see me. I dropped the price to .99c pretty quickly when I realised no one was buying it, in the hopes it would gain some traction and lead people to my higher priced stories. Plus I thought an inexpensive read was something nice to do for my readers. That being said, it didn’t work, and this little gem of a read still doesn’t sell. So how much money have I made in 6 months?
This means I am out of pocket by $1,269.86.
Bloody hell! I knew it didn’t sell, but now that I’ve added up the figures, that’s just freaking ridiculous!
I haven’t even covered the cost of my expenses, never mind the time spent actually writing!
How many of you go to work, and because you love what you do soooo much, you pay your employer for the priviledge?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Indigo Road is on various pirate/parasite websites and I know one of those sites has had over 1500 downloads. Imagine if those 1500 people had actually f**cking paid for it! I would have been able to cover my costs!
Lucky for me, my other stories sell and I have managed to cover my costs for them, but don’t think for one solitary second, that writing in this genre makes enough money to live on. For the amount of hours it takes, I don’t make minimum wage, in any currency. I’m lucky I have a supportive husband who makes enough to cover the household bills, otherwise I’d be forced back to work and writing would take a backseat – like it does for many authors out there.
So to the parasites that are crying ‘poor’, how about you step back and have a think. Next time one of your ‘favourite authors’ stops writing because they can’t afford it, ask yourself if you’re part of the reason.
Next time you step into a Starbucks and buy your caramel frappacino with double cream whatever, how about you buy your ‘favourite author’ one too. I’m sure they’d appreciate it.
If, after all this, you’re still ‘poor’, go to the freaking library. Books are still free there.
So to the woman who said “but they can afford it!” No. No, we can’t.