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Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I was reading comments on an article posted online about romance books and realized there are a lot of misconceptions about authors out there. That made me think, hey, why not dispel them? Or at least give it a try.

1. Authors are rich and once they have a couple of books out, they can quit their day jobs and live on easy street--if they can't do that after their first book sells.

If you break it out, probably 1% of the authors make 90% of the money. Kind of like in Hollywood where Russell Crowe and Tom Cruise get huge contracts and other actors wait tables to make ends meet. I've had coworkers assume that I'm still working because I'd get "lonely" if I stayed home and wrote all day. This is my dream and I'm an introvert. Staying home alone isn't a huge hardship for me. ;-) Then throw health insurance into the mix for US authors. Unless the author in question has a spouse with good health insurance, that's a huge consideration when it comes to quitting the day job.

2. Conversely, there are a ton of people who believe authors have to pay to get published.

No. Vanity presses charge authors to print their books. The author ends up with a garage full of books that they can try to sell to their friends and coworkers, but the vast majority of them will not sell many copies, certainly not enough to get picked up by a legitimate publisher. Legitimate publishers do not charge the author anything, in fact, the author is the one who gets paid by the publisher. BTW, self-publishing and vanity publishing are two different things. If you're someone who wants to self-publish, do your homework. (And since this isn't something I'm interested in doing, I have no links or references. Sorry.)

3. Authors pick their covers and I should tell them when they hire a "bad" artist, so they choose someone better next time.

Oh, how I wish this were true. I get whatever cover my publisher decides to put on my book and I've never been successful in getting changes made. I've had a few covers that I've loved, but... Well, I'll leave it there. I'll also say that covers are apparently subjective. I saw comments online saying they didn't like one of the covers that I happen to love. Not only did this cover totally fit what I write, it also had people on it that actually matched my vision of the h/h. That's rare.

4. Authors know where their books are being sold and in what formats. If I can't find their book in the store or in ebook format or in my preferred ebook format, I can just contact them and they'll fix it for me.

I'd love to be able to help readers out, but the author is often the last to know these things. I also have no control over whether or not my books are released in ebook format. If I did, all of them would be available this way because I want you to be able to buy and read my stories in whichever way makes you happy.

I also can't really help you find where my books are being sold, not in paper and not in ebook. I'm not given this information, and when it comes to ebooks, well, I own a Kindle and pretty much just shop on Amazon. Other ebook venues are largely unknown to me and I end up googling to answer people's questions because I simply don't have that information. Sometimes I've spent hours trying to track down the answer for them to no avail.

5. Authors get so much fan mail that they don't need another email from me telling them how much I love their books.

We get a lot less than most readers think and it's not just me. I've talked to a lot of authors who say the same thing. If you love our stories enough to think about letting us know, please, email! There is literally nothing more awesome than a note from a reader saying they loved your book.