First of all: I appreciate all of you that jumped up to support me and both my eBooks. I got some traffic on Amazon, and I saw a few more links to my stuff on Facebook. Thanks to everyone putting themselves out there for me.
It seems some people didn't really get the message I was trying to put forth. Perhaps I didn't explain my true agenda very well, as I received some comments about my guilt-trip sales pitch to get people to do the promotional job for me. Yes, I spent a lot of time talking about my work, but only because my work is the closest example I have at hand. Please, take every opportunity you have to support every writer, musician, independent comic artist, stand up comic, etc. We all need it. We don't have big budgets to go around hiring ad space in magazines and newspapers. It's not just about me; it's about anyone you know trying to make it some where with some sort of creative endeavor.
One anonymous reader commented here about Kindle, as several people sent me private messages. One of these messages was downright hostile about me not supporting booksellers by only providing my work via the evil Amazon who is working to put traditional bookstores out of business. (I am paraphrasing here). The other two were less hostile, but did say that they would support me once my work became available in a more traditional format.
Let's look at some facts (I'm going to use writers here, but you can extrapolate this for any form of artistic media):
- Supporting me, or any other Kindle-only writer, does not harm traditional book stores. Not a bit. We are not available in print, and thus purchasing our Kindle work does not in any way remove sales from them.
- Booksellers are not looking to support struggling writers. At all. They want to stalk their shelves with a sure thing. In fact, the business model for book stores is to buy less copies of a writer's second book if the first book did not sell out. For example: a Barnes and Noble store orders ten copies of my first book, and only sell eight, when my next book comes out, that store will only order six or seven copies of that book. In the writing business, we call that "the mid-list death spiral." Food for thought.
- Interesting fact: Shopping at used bookstores does not support writers. Writers see no money at all from sales at used book stores. Yes, I shop at them from time to time, but I do so as infrequently as possible, and try to find something out of regular circulation when I do. So, if you are shopping at a used bookstore due to some ideal that you are supporting the fine art of writing, you're not. I'm not saying don't shop at them. Just be aware of where your money is going.
- Libraries are the same way. I understand that books can be expensive, especially when your favorite writers publish in hard-back first. Just know that while you're enjoying that library book, your favorite writer is not enjoying any royalties for that enjoyment. Most library books are donated.
I'm not trying to come off snotty here. I'm just trying to give an honest rebuttal to some of the arguments that I've seen both publicly and privately to my last post. I am a struggling writer. I get up between four and five am every morning to write for two hours on my novel, and that's not including my blog posts, the weekly column I write, the self promotion I try and squeeze in, my day job, getting the kids to school, etc. Yeah, I'm going to reach out to my readers and fan base every chance I get. However, I'm also pleading with you to consider my words not just a call to help just me, but to help any writer, musician, artist, etc you know, no matter what medium they are using to get themselves out into the world.
I love Kindle.
I love books.
Kindle will never replace my love for hardback books. I'm alright with paperbacks, but hardbacks are my thing, especially when they are sign. I have a big collection of them in glass book cases downstairs. The really cool part, is most of them were signed by the authors when I was present. I also love magazines, but I don't love the clutter they create. I have not picked up a copy of Asimov's Science Fiction in I don't know how long. My mother has stated that she's getting me a kindle for my birthday. I will be keeping all my magazine subscriptions with it's tiny little housing. I'm probably going to slowly and surely collect many of my favorite writing reference books so that I can have them while I'm on the road. I have a lap top for writing, but having the reference library on hand would be an invaluable resource.
Here's why I really love Kindle: It gives writers a place to either validate themselves or truly learn that they have no audience outside of their close friends and family. Some writers have gotten very wealthy by publishing on Kindle, writers that would not have been able to find a home with a traditional publisher. Others have not had that level of success, but they are "in print" which means a lot. They may never "make it big" by publishing on Kindle, but it gives them a chance to live a dream, even for a few moment. I know I love seeing the covers of my books, and seeing my name there. Also, for me, as a storyteller and renaissance faires and a contract game fiction writer, it gives me a place for my audience to find some of my stories that I can't provide them with at faires and such.
Yes, Amazon makes some money too, and well they should for providing the hopeful writer with an opportunity unlike anything we've seen before. I've had people get mad at Amazon for me, because these well-meaning people believe that I should be getting more for my work, and Amazon, the EEEVVVIIIIILLLL Corporation should be getting less, if anything at all. Well, they developed this bit of technological coolness, and thus I'm okay with them taking a cut.
The bottom line, internet only sources, such as Kindle, Nook, iTunes, etc. give the hopeful artist a venue for becoming a known quantity, not just on the market, but in their own minds. If you know someone publishing in one of these markets, who you support as an artist in any way, consider picking up their work in this medium. Hell, if you don't want to read my stuff on a screen, even though you're reading my work on this blog via your computer screen, buy it from Kindle, write a review, and email me. I'll send you a PDF copy that you can print out and read the old fashioned way. Maybe you can make similar arrangements with other artists.
I hope this little rant has cleared some things up about where I was trying to go with my rant yesterday. Yeah, I talk about me a lot again, but I'm kind of self-centered when the fingers start flying across the keyboard. Take everything I say about me and apply it to every struggling artist you know.