Essay–No More Limited Editions
Was recently asked by a listener/reader if future books would have hardcovers. The answer? HELL NO! And here’s why.
I’m simply not popular enough to warrant them. While someone like Scott Sigler can sell 3k limited edition hardcovers of his work in less than a year (and he’s done so on five books thus far or damned close to it), I can’t even move 250. I still have at least 90 copies of the Fiends LE release. GC? 130. Want to know what kind of bath I took on those?
I have many patrons. They are great supporters and have kept me writing and I absolutely love them for it. My podcast numbers, at one point, were thousands of listeners. I was certain, absolutely CONVINCED, that those folks would show up to purchase a hardcover. They didn’t. And to be honest? I don’t really blame them.
The economy was in the shitter. Folks all over were tightening their belts. And why would you pay $35.00 for some damned hardcover when you’ve already heard everything in it? Unless you’re a seriously rabid patron, why the hell would you do that?
I purchase those kinds of books from my favorite creators to help support them. I pimp them on my podcast, on DRS, here in the blog, and etc. But I have a following where I can do that. I also have more disposable income than a lot of folks.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the LE hardcovers. They smell like success. They look incredible. And they are taking up way too damned much space in my house.
The success of The Street proved to me I could print in trade paperback and people would show up to purchase. I have quite a few of those left too, but since they’re print on demand, I shant be reordering anytime soon. Also? They move at cons without a problem. Most people read what they’re about and either command me to take their money or run screaming in the other direction. But I always get a reaction.
I discounted the Fiends LE and GC: Ancients LE hardcovers. They still won’t move. They are sysiphean objects of scorn and loathing in my house. But they do make good cat furniture.
In the future, I’ll probably be able to sell them all. But that might be ten years from now when people might have heard of me. And maybe I’ll write something that gets everyone so excited, they want everything in my back catalog. It could happen. It could. But probably not.
So I tried the hardcover thing for two books. I learned my lessons. A lot of them from the first book, many more on the second. But bottom line, it’s simply not worth the risk. In a lot of ways, I’ll never make my money back on those. But the trade paperbacks?
When Legends of Garaaga hits Amazon’s virtual shelves later this month, it will move. Probably not the way I want it to, but I’m used to expecting nothing of mine to sell. The Black and The Street are the exceptions to the rule. But I wont’ be out any more money than I’ve already spent on design and layout. That money’s gone, but I won’t ever spend it again. Which means once the books pay for themselves, it’s pure profit and I won’t have a stash I’m keeping around. And that’s a good thing.
I’ll probably purchase a few copies to have around at cons or maybe to sell from my store, but it makes more sense for my patrons to use the links to Amazon to purchase those books. It helps in my rankings and might convince other readers to give them a try.
I have fantastic patrons. They show up. They support me. And I’m doing all I can to reward them for that. Special deals, sales, content, etc. It’s coming. But for me to be successful and finally get to do the writing gig full time, I need thousands and thousands of paying patrons. The only way to accomplish that is through the general marketplace rather than the private ones.
Those of you that listen to the podcast and have never purchased anything of mine? Shit, you owe me nothing. I don’t expect you to buy anything. Just do this for me: if you like what I’m doing, tell your friends. Tell your family. Okay, maybe not the family. I don’t necessarily write things you want your 60-year old mom reading at book club. Although The Street would certainly raise some eyebrows…
I’m a content creator. I give stuff away. I sell things. I work my ass off to make it all happen and I spend a lot of my own money to run this business. But, again, you owe me nothing. The occasional kind word, a review, and word-of-mouth pimpage are pretty much all I can ask when I give stories away for free. That’s the reality.
The “free” model got me where I am and I’m hopeful I’ll never have to abandon it. I love listeners who find me for the first time and are not afraid to send me emails or post questions on the site or my facebook page. That means that something I’m doing is working. And it just makes me want to write faster.
No more hardcovers. NO MORE! Trade paperbacks, ebooks, audio books? Absolutely. Bread and butter, kids. And very low risk to yours truly. Those of you that pushed for the GC: Ancients LE? I wanted to give you that book. And we made it happen. I’m glad we did it. Perhaps if I knew how to market, I could move them all. Who knows? Maybe once Legends of Garaaga hits the streets, the punters will show up in force. It could happen. I can dream.
I’ll keep putting out the free content. I’ll keep selling my wares and make sure they’re the best quality I can make them. Y’all keep showing up and listening/reading. You’re doing a fantastic job of that and I can’t thank you enough. Except, of course, to put out another story. I’m working on it. Just give me some time.