Some people, I have to give free books. There aren’t many of them. Either they’ve done me huge services in exchange for a book or books or I’m closely related to them. I also have to have a set in my office to show off.
This year I have SIX books. All shiny new, with consistent styles and new covers and better jacket copy. All of which cost me a pretty penny, let me tell you.
I just ordered the sets that I HAVE TO give away and have on hand to be sent to Japan from wherever they’ll be printed. I still have more to order for shipment to the US. In the process, I found out some highly disturbing information.
All those “fees” and “costs” that I’m now being charged meant I had to raise prices, as I’ve said. But somewhere along the line, my profit margin went way, way down, too. On a hard-copy book, at full retail price, MY share is less than $0.75. Yes, that is not a typo. I get less than seventy-five cents. I have to sell like Anne Rice or Stephen King before I even cover my costs.
If I use my special author price, I simply don’t get the seventy three or fewer cents. I also have to pay for shipping. I should do this for you? I bet you won’t even write a review. If you bother to read it.
So that “free book” is costing me just about what it would cost you, if you’d just order it yourself. You can get it for less — YOU can read it for FREE — if you go into your public library and ask them to order it. Yes, the books are available from the Secret Library Distributor Catalogs, of course.
Loan you my copies? Besides the fact that I’d never get them back, do I look like a library to you? Just go to the library and ask them to order them for you. I need MY copies right here.
I’m a writer and I’m not going to stop doing that. I am very fortunate that I am in a position of being able to do so. But given the way the industry is moving, I may give some serious though as to whether I want to publish over the next few years. I may want to wait until the industry shakes out and stops trying to shake me down.
My books are damned good. They are well worth reading. But, to quote the song about a chair, “If I can’t sell it, I’m gonna sit right here on it. I ain’t gonna give it away."