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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Who Said Authors Only Have to Write?

Ravyn's Flight was out of print for two years. During that time, I fielded a ton of emails from readers asking me where they could find a copy. I always felt bad that I couldn't tell them exactly where to get one. I know how it is to want an author's backlist and not be able to find it. (I'm still looking for reasonably priced copies of JAK's McFadden stories!) So I was eagerly awaiting August and RF being back in print.

Last week, I notice that Amazon has RF shipping in "7-13 days." I figured that meant they'd sold out of their initial order and were waiting for more copies to arrive. Okay. Over the weekend, I heard from a reader trying to get RF. Her bookstore couldn't order it, and it wasn't available at Amazon. I directed her to Barnes & since they still had copies up.

Monday, I think, Amazon switched RF to "available from these sellers" which means they weren't getting anymore copies. Around this same time, has the book become unavailable. "A new copy is not available at this time." My first thought is that they couldn't have printed so few copies that the book is already out of print again, right? I check my publisher's website. RF is still available there. Whew! But I drop a note to my editor asking what's going on. Why couldn't Amazon reorder? Why didn't reorder? Clearly, there's some demand for these books and these online retailers are pretty good about keeping backlist available.

Then I hear back from the reader who emailed me. She can't get RF anywhere and was very frustrated. The only place I know she can get it is from my publisher. I give her the website, I give her the phone number, I apologize profusely for her difficulty and tell her how much I appreciate her efforts. And I'm cringing because no reader should have to go through this much work to get a copy of a book she wants to read.

My guess is there's some glitch that told Amazon and that RF wasn't available. I let my editor know there's a problem, but I have no clue who else to contact and tell. There are plenty of copies of RF. I have a rough count of how many are in the warehouse. So why the heck can't readers get a copy? Grrr!

I'm through with the easy revisions to the novella now. All that's left now is the stuff that's going to take some work and then layering those changes throughout the story. I've been so tired this week that I was hesitant to tackle the big things, but I'll have to start tonight.

To continue with my frustrations, yesterday I checked email and had the same newsletter twice on two different email addresses. I didn't sign up for this author's newsletter even once. I didn't enter a contest on her website. Nothing. But I am on the same loop with her. I found this irritating because now 1. I had to take the time to unsubscribe--twice. 2. I don't have time to read and answer email from friends and I'm no mail on most of my loops. Now I'm getting not just one, but two newsletter emails from a historical author and I don't read historicals. 3. The newsletter was for a chat. See previous mention of how little time I have. I wish authors would figure out that other published authors are not their target market--especially those of us who hold full time jobs.

Then, right before I head to bed last night, I received a fan email. Yea!!! (Normally, I don't mention fan mail here because that seems a little braggy, but there's a reason why I bring it up now). I hit reply and answered the note--and got a mailer daemon thing. No such user it says. I tried again, sure it was a tech glitch, but it came back a second time. I looked at the header and this is the address it was sent from (sometimes emails will have a different reply to address specified in the header). So I'm not sure why this is happening. I'll try again and hope it goes through. I'd hate for anyone to think that I didn't answer their note. I answer every reader email I receive.

Okay, just popped into email to send it again while I was thinking of it. Keep your fingers crossed for me! Darn, note came back again as no such mailbox.

Anyway, a writing buddy did a "things she's learned since she first started writing" entry on her blog this week. I learned a lot of things since I first sold, (school went into session, fast!) but one of the biggest was that the more books I have released, the more time I have taken up with things that don't actually involve writing. If I ever have time, (Hahaha!!!) maybe I'll work up my own list of things I learned.