Monday, March 3, 2014

The End of An Author's Life? Uh... what?

I don't usually comment on the business/financial aspects of the publishing industry, but I couldn't let this one go.

It's a gray, lazy morning in London, and I'm sitting at Aleksandr Voinov's kitchen table while we drink our coffee and wake up. Bear with me, because there is a point to this.

Today, we'll finish the book we've been working on, and we'll continue with the efficient system that's become our routine--Aleks write his part of the story while I work on one of several edits that have come in from my various publishers, and then I'll write my part while he works on expanding the third book in a fan-favorite fantasy series. We'll go back and forth like that until roughly midnight or until we're finished, whichever comes first. Then it's on to the next projects--some joint, some solo.

I've been here for the past three weeks, crashing on Aleks's couch in between writing together in the house, libraries, coffee shops, and wherever else we can set up our laptops. It was a somewhat impromptu trip, a plane ticket bought on less than a month's notice. Why? Because Aleks suddenly had the opportunity to be at home for several weeks, and we both realized it would be the perfect chance for us to co-write face to face rather than over the internet, not to mention without the six-hour time difference between Aleks's home in London and mine in Nebraska.

So why does he suddenly have all this time on his hands? Because he's been laid off from a relatively comfortable--if soul-sucking and miserable--job in the financial world.

For a lot of people, the loss of a job is a crisis. And for Aleks, it was certainly stressful, but he did have one ace up his sleeve that a lot of his colleagues did not--a second income stream.

Specifically, royalties. While it's not a full-time income yet, the pattern over the past couple of years is extremely promising. By putting his nose to the grindstone and releasing books regularly, it's absolutely possible for him to catch up with what he was making at his previous job. Indeed, by writing and selling ebooks -- primarily queer romance and historicals -- Aleks is optimistic about meeting, if not exceeding, his previous paychecks within 1-3 years.

Sound like a pipe dream?

Yeah, it kind of does. And a few years ago, I would have been guarded with my optimism about it. But not now.

Because, as I mentioned before, I'm currently writing this at Aleks's dining room table. In London. Where I traveled from Nebraska on nearly a moment's notice.

Writing is my full-time job. It has been since late 2008, starting with a couple of books that brought in enough money to allow my husband and me to breathe easier. He is career military, and we were stationed overseas, struggling with one full-time income while we paid a mortgage on a house we couldn't sell because of the housing crisis. In 2009, a few hundred dollars coming in not long after we'd had to make $20 last for two weeks meant we could sleep a little better.

In 2010, with a steadily growing backlist and fan base, my income turned us from sweating over every dollar to being able to go out to a nice dinner (not terribly expensive, just not "fries with that"), and in 2011, the royalties roughly equaled what I'd been making at my previous day job. In 2012, it doubled. In 2013, it doubled again. It's entirely possible the pattern will continue in 2014.

Why am I sharing this?

Because this morning, Aleks and I read this article.

Essentially, several literary authors are mourning the way the publishing industry and the marketplace have changed, threatening them with poverty and uncertain futures. Basically, authors are having to consider giving up writing altogether because it simply isn't sustainable. The culprits? Amazon, naturally. People putting up free content. Essentially, the digital age has come along and destroyed the way of life for authors.

Now that Aleks and I are done scratching our heads over it, I need to rip it apart and make a few comments about it. Because quite frankly, this...
"So I asked [an editor who said he wanted to publish me but couldn't afford it] what he would pay, and he named a figure for a two-book deal. That was the first time I noticed the drop in advances because the figure that he gave was only a fraction of what I'd been getting up to then. I went home and sat at the kitchen table and drew up a balance-sheet. I thought: I'm going to have to change the way I live."
...pegs my bullshit alarm. Hard.

Why? Because the man giving the quote is an author named Rupert Thomson, who also says...
"For some years he has rented an office in Black Prince Road, on London's South Bank, and commuted to work. Now this studio life, so essential to his work, is under threat. Lately, having done his sums and calculated his likely earnings for the coming year, he has commissioned a builder to create a tiny office (4ft 9in x 9ft 11in) at home in his attic, what he calls "my garret"."
So, you're telling me that writers are an endangered species, and as evidence, you're offering the example of no longer being able to afford an office in London? And instead he has to expand the loft of his house -- so he clearly owns one in/near London -- in order to create an office?

Aleks has also considered opening up the loft in his house for similar reasons, but has put that on hold for the time being because that project -- in a mid-sized terraced Victorian south of London -- will cost between £27,000 and £30,000. ($45,000 - $50,000)

Instead of coughing up that kind of money -- particularly since he just lost 70% of his income and benefits due to, you know, being laid off like millions of other people who also couldn't afford to maintain offices in London -- Aleks has chosen to make use of a cramped second bedroom, his couch, the library, and as he's doing today, his kitchen table.  In my house on a military base in Nebraska, I currently have the luxury of a spare bedroom that has been converted into an office, but I've previously used my couch or dining room as well. I have written in libraries, restaurants, airplanes/airports, trains, coffee shops, bookstores, waiting rooms, and my parents' dining room.  I have literally written while lying on the floor of a cargo jet 35,000 feet over the Pacific, and in an emergency room with an IV hooked to my arm.

So you could say that for Mr. Thomson's predicament -- sacrificing his London office in favor of a home renovation rivaling the income of the average British tax payer (source) -- the combined sympathy coming from Aleks and me is roughly on par with... well... nothing.

It's not that we're unaware that the publishing landscape is changing. Quite the contrary. It is changing, and we both see those changes as largely positive. Neither of us has ever been offered a £100,000 advance ($167,000) for a book like Joanna Kavenna, another author quoted in the article. While Aleks has previously published with a large house in Germany, neither of us is currently working with the Big 6 -- now Big 5 -- in New York.

And quite honestly, we're doing all right. For that matter, Aleks found his experience with a large publisher miserable and disillusioning, and finds himself much more content with smaller houses, including the one he partially owns, Riptide Publishing. While the authors in this article fret over declining advances and decreasing sales, authors like us -- those involved in self-publishing, small presses, and digital publication -- are thriving.

Quoth Kavenna:
"[B]eing a writer stopped being the way it had been for ages – the way I expected it to be – and became something different."
She's absolutely right. Everything about being a writer has changed.

For example, Jaron Lanier comments that...
"...he has watched a generation of his friends – film-makers, writers, musicians – become professionally annihilated by the loss of creative copyright."

Okay, the copyright thing is two-pronged. There's the issue of piracy, and there's also the issue of publishers securing rights. When a publisher signs a book, they have the right to publish it for a specific period. Yes, piracy is a problem in the digital age, but you know what else is changing? Suddenly authors don't have to sign away their rights to their book for their own lifetime plus 70 years. My contracts vary from 2-7 years, and when that time is up, I have the right to reclaim that book and either self-publish it, sell it elsewhere, or shelve it. A life of copyright contract is exactly that. So when a book goes out of print a few weeks or months after it's released, it goes away and never again sees the light of day unless it's re-released when an author publishes another book with that house. And sometimes that re-release doesn't happen.

So, from where Aleks and I are sitting, the copyright situation has improved significantly. While we can't stop pirates from stealing our work, we have more control over our rights than ever before. Quite honestly, my bank account and I would rather cope with the irritating but largely negligible issue of pirates illegally downloading my digital work than have the same book languishing in a warehouse between the Ark of Covenant and the alien body from Roswell.

Also, in terms of books going out of print, ebooks generally don't. In the past, a book was out for a while and then it went out of print. However, those of us who publish digitally are able to achieve what authors of the past coveted: a large, thriving backlist. As of right now, Aleks has 32 books on Amazon. Between my two pen names, I have 66. It's not just novels, either. We both have short stories and novellas, which frequently don't make it into print except in collections or magazines. Those collections and magazines tend to pay token amounts if at all -- contributor's copies are common -- whereas I've made over $8,000 from a novella published in 2011. Aleks and I co-wrote a short story that was released last year and has made each of us just under $2,000.

Speaking of earnings, the financial scene has also changed. Giant or even mid-sized advances aren't so common anymore unless you're already a bestseller, which means many of us get paid based on how many books we sell. Aleks and I don't get advances for our work. We get paid after consumers determine our book -- our product -- is worthy of consuming and pay accordingly. Which is kind of interesting when the author of the article says...
"Roughly speaking, until 2000, if you wrote a story, made a film or recorded a song, and people paid to buy it, in the form of a book, a DVD or a CD, you received a measurable reward for your creativity. Customers paid because they were happy to honour your creative copyright."
You weren't getting paid for your creativity. You were getting paid for a product. Customers were receiving that product, not paying to honor your creative copyright. You didn't get paid for your creativity, you got paid for the result of that creativity. That's how it's always been. This is a business, and authors are producers. You don't produce, you don't get paid. You don't produce something people want, people don't buy it, and... you don't get paid.

Also, authors who've embraced the digital age are "rewarded" quite nicely. Royalties for paperbacks tend to range between 6-12%, but ebooks boast substantially higher royalties, with 30-35% being the low end, and some publishers paying 50% and up. Self-publishing can result in 70% or more. While it's not a $100,000 advance, those royalty percentages combined with a steadily growing backlist can easily translate into a solid and sustainable income for an author.

And that backlist is the key. Over the past three weeks, Aleks and I have spent a lot of time discussing strategies for making up for his lost income with his books, and it always comes down to the same solution: write more, publish more. Because that's how your creativity is rewarded in this business now. It's rewarded based on how many people believe it's a product worth buying.  Which means it's rewarded based on how many people believe your story is worth reading.

One final tidbit from the article. Amidst a wistful commentary on what publishing once was, the author says this:
"The most urgent deadline was lunch."
And therein, I think, lies the problem. The author of the article and the authors quoted within sound very much like they want the fantasy life of a writer: sitting in a perfectly appointed office, writing when the Muse strikes, producing maybe a book a year, and being showered with money and accolades upon turning in said book.

Meanwhile, in the real world, two lowly genre authors are pounding away at keyboards at a kitchen table in London, sweating bullets over deadlines, looking forward to eventually having some time to write our passion projects--Aleks, a World War II book that he needs to finish before I lose my mind (it's so good, you guys), and me, a speculative fiction series that refuses to let me sleep.

Look, it's extremely rare to write one book, get a life-altering book deal, and then coast on those laurels for the rest of your life into a comfortable retirement worthy of someone like Stephen King or Nora Roberts. While this seems like a glamorous profession that's a ticket to a comfortable life in which we write what we want, when we want, and get paid huge amounts of money for it, the fact is it's a job. It is work. Authors like Aleks and me -- and we are part of a rapidly growing group -- are paid only for what we sell, and we are thriving.

Yes, the publishing landscape has changed. Yes, it's hard to get a book deal with a big advance anymore.

But writers are not a dying breed. Quite the contrary. Success in today's market means adapting. It means writing more. It means sometimes putting aside that deep, literary project that your heart is dying to write and instead writing the book that your readers want to read. It means acknowledging this is a business.

It means sometimes you have to suck it up, let go of the office in London, sit down at your kitchen table, and write.


  1. Thank you. Excellent, and exactly how I felt.

    Not to pick on Rupert Thomson, but I pulled his TCM figures this morning (the book industry data). These don't reflect all sales, doesn't include export sales, book club deals or rights, but it's not a bad snapshot. Since 1996, ie over the last 18 years, his nine books have sold a combined value of approx £100,000 in TCM. That's *sales*, not royalties.

    So basically, this article tells us that you can't earn a living from writing one book every two years if you sell an average of under £6K value per year in your home market. Well, no shit. Mr Thomson wasn't quoted as whinging in the article, so I really don't want to pick on him, but he simply doesn't don't write or sell enough books to earn a living. That's all there is to it, and I'm not sure what the article author wants done about it.

    I'm an editor. I work with professional authors. Those who don't do other non-writing jobs work *all the time*, often writing textbooks and catalogue copy and children's mass market fiction under pseudonyms. They do not sit in garrets tending to their Muse. They are too busy working.

  2. Just as an aside, my "advance" with Random House Germany (aka, Heyne) was EUR 3,000 for a full-sized novel with an estimated print run of 10,000. The advance never earnt out, the book is out of print, never earning me another dime. I believe the EUR 3k advance (about $4,200) is still common in speculative fiction, and 10k is a very respectable print-run for a German author in the German fantasy market - what you'd call "midlist".

  3. Good luck Aleks, I for one will be looking to buy the products of your labour and keep you working from home. I have already bought a number of the books you have written together and wondered how you did it.

    One of the points I want to pick up on and agree with is there is no easy way to make an income for most of us. No matter what you do if you are successful in financial terms you have probably worked really hard.

    I can understand why some people might complain that there is so much free content that will anyone buy an ebook for more than $0.99.

    On the other hand so much of the free content is such poor quality that it is not really taking away readers who want to read something like what you guys write.

    And we have always had libraries and cheap second hand book stores but enough people out there are willing to pay a little bit more.

    As you say, I think the book market has changed beyond belief over the past decade but so have most things.

    1. Hi Helen - thank you, it's much appreciated. :) Considering that Lori is one of the hardest-working people I've met in my whole life, I think her backlist/sales/income are well, well deserved. I see her as a constant inspiration. :)

      As for me, I've been writing/selling for 22 years, but only in the last couple years I've even encountered writers making a comfortable living while never showing up on any "best-seller" lists. We are empowered like never before, and in the debate between "publishing is DOOMED" and "Self-publishing is SHIT", there is a market of small, specialised presses that do well for their authors and themselves. But the small publishers are never even mentioned. Which is fine - they are happy the way they are.

      Personally, the "everything is free, so nobody will buy a book" argument is flawed. I've given away one million words (2.5 years of output) away for free and it didn't hurt me. Also, the "too many books are published, nobody can read all this" argument is invalid. I assume the date when so many books were published that you could never read them all in your lifetime was circa 2 years after the invention/availability of the printing press, so definitely 15th/16th century.

      That said, not every writer is created equal - not two books are alike. If I have the choice between an author who gives away their first effort for free, and an author I know and love charging $10 for it, my money goes to my favourite - as I'm aware I keep them writing, and I really, really want their next book. If I'm dead broke, I might try the free book, but likely end up saving up for the book I want. So essentially, as a writer, I'm committed to writing the best damn book I can and honour my readers' intelligence and standards, but I'm also asking a fair price for it because now more than ever, I really need the cash to do crazy things like attend conferences to meet and hang out with my readers, whom I love.

      But compared to the creative yoke I know from traditional publishing, my creative life is a song and dance these days. Though singing and dancing takes a LOT of effort to do right. But for the first time in my life, I can live off writing, if I'm frugal, and in a couple years' time, provided my readers stick with me and I maintain a solid, though not back-breaking output, I can make a nice living, pay off my house and pay into a pension. Bliss.

  4. I'm glad to see this from both of you. Write more, publish more is a vibe I keep seeing more of around the blogs I follow and I'm excited to see where it takes us.

  5. I'm pretty much in the same boat as Aleks is, only without the backlist. (And that .DE advance was in line with US numbers for first SF novels, from what I've heard.) Most of what I've gotten significant money for writing-wise has been contract work that doesn't have future income.

    So this year is changing all that, but in between I still need to seek out other work. I'm doing book covers, writing (under three different names), doing some interior book design, picking up some tech work—but mostly, I'm trying to piecemeal income sources so I don't have to have that big gob of time taken out.

    The ongoing results in the Author Earnings Survey are really interesting. I just pulled the latest spreadsheet to tear it apart:

    (Yes, not a typo, there is an author on that list who reported $13M in earnings last year from self-publishing.)

    Oh, and ebooks. I did read a few free ones last year, but I bought several hundred, almost all of them read. If I don't see some more income soon, I may be doing more re-reading than buying new, though.

    1. Hi deirdre - first, my condolences. It's generally an upsetting situation - seeking out and building that "portfolio" income is quite a bit more stressful than ye olde 9-to-5. (I'm definitely using the time to also acquire some skills that allow me to do some work that's not editing.) So quite a bit of my recent thinking is about diversifying - it's why I branch out into a couple other genres, and will self-publish a few things (I can't throw books at Riptide that they can't sell), and looking for some RL sources of income as well. And, absolutely, price is a consideration, especially if you're a "heavy user". I hope to make a bigger dent into my TBR piles while my income is taking that hit. Apparently fortunately, my book hoarding now has an advantage. :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Fortunately, we're not in a position where we have to make the same kind of income.

    The truly liberating thing about having "gotten resigned" is that I've had more book ideas in six months than I've had in the prior six years. I was up furiously sketching out a series idea, working on the cryptography theory with a friend the other night.

    I still need some injections of day jobbery (software engineer), and I fell into a weird career crack it's hard to get out of. So that's taking a lot of my time and energy. I figure within two years, I won't have to worry about that, I can just write.

  7. Yeah - I did the numbers and thankfully have a nest egg from the time I was laid off, too, so that's another thing I can throw into the balance... but yep, I sat down yesterday and hammered out 2k words in the morning and they were easy--with more ideas coming. I think once the time and energy sink is gone, many writers discover just hoe strong they are. It seems to have happened to people like Amy Lane, and, of course, Lori herself.

  8. I think it was Mickey Spillane who got 'writer's block' every time he sold a book. He'd then lie on a beach drinking tequila until his accountant called and said, you're running out of money, and then apparently the ideas would come thick and fast...

  9. You've hit so many nails on the head. I will add that you mention Stephen King and Nora Roberts without pointing out that they are two of the most prolific authors in their respective genres. They haven't just hit it big with one book, but have been writing their asses off since day one and keep going, even after selling a jillion copies.

    That's the key to earning a living now: keep writing and publishing, whether with a publisher or on your own. The old world of big advances actually reduces the number of books published in a year, thus allowing artificially high prices. The influx of new books and new publishing channels reduced barriers to entry and costs, at the expense of readers not being able to tell quality from quantity.

    The result is that authors need to prove they are worth reading and they will have a following. I suspect it will take some time for the industry to shake out the low quality/low earners, but it will pay writers according to their efforts and quality.

    1. EM - WE used Stephen King and Nora Roberts as well-regarded, reliably productive authors who also make a decent living (I wanted to research the murmuring I'd heard that La Nora is actually employing a number of ghosts by now, but Lori distracted me with this book we just finished). I'd suggest that King's "Carrie" was something of a big thing, considering the size of the advance, but that wasn't the first book he wrote and he kept going, and I have a huge respect for him anyway ever since I read On Writing.

      And big advances were a weird thing for me anyway when I came over into the English-speaking market. The biggest deal I'd heard about in my circle of friends involved a EUR 20-25k advance for three books, two of which unwritten. These were historical novels - the first one had taken ten years to write (stupendous amount of research), and the others took a year or two each. Still, not life-changing money by any stretch. The money I got from Random House/Heyne is still, as far as I'm aware, and ten years later, a standard advance in the fantasy/sci-fi genre for a 10k print run, which is considered "biggish" in a market where fantasy novel debuts might only get a 3-5k print run. I was lucky and saw that I'd never make enough money writing.

      Based on those numbers, my literary agent said he might be able to get me a EUR 10k advance for a historical novel focuwed on a "strong woman", which was ALL THE RAGE in those days in Germany. I tried, and failed, to write that book to market, sadly.

      So, for me, those kinds of advances were like news that there's water on Mars. Really cool data, but of very minimal significance for me personally.

      That said, I don't believe in the "number of sales = quality" argument, because then celeb bios would be the best books on the planet, and they aren't. However, I do believe that for any niche, there are readers, and if you can get them to keep coming back for more, you have a living.

    2. I don't think La Nora's books are ghost written but I do know she employes fact-checkers for her series and has assistants. Not that I think that's a bad thing. Her one very long series under JD Robb shows that those fact checkers are working hard. She's also been at it for over 30 years, so her backlist is huge.

  10. Like EM Lynley I noticed you referenced Stephen King - who hasn't sat back for all these years but has written, written, and written some more.

    Change isn't necessarily a bad thing, but when paradigms change some people get left behind if they're not prepared to adapt. It's a bit ironic that those getting left behind are using a newspaper to get their voices heard, since newspaper sales have been declining for some years now.
    Personally as a reader I like living in a world where I can follow writers on places like twitter. I like following writers who answer questions and interact with their audiences.

    1. PS if it's not obvious - thank you for the time you spend interacting with us readers. I'm much more inclined towards artists who take that time, be they writers, actors or musicians (as well as traditional art artists). You don't owe us that but it's nice to know my money goes to nice people.

    2. It's quite funny - I've heard so many stories about how incestuous and self-serving the cultural scene in London is that I have very little interest to be part of it. I'm happy to be a genre writer aiming to make a living pretty much on my terms, while I have it on authority that in that particular scene, you play by their rules or don't play at all. As I said, zero attraction for me.

  11. As a writer who has put aside plenty of deep literary passion-books to write what readers want to buy, and found ample rewards for doing so, I couldn't agree more. Well said. I'm sending this to The Passive Voice, btw.

  12. Forgot about this piece I read a few days ago:

    "How Much My Novel Cost Me"

  13. I just wanted to say thank you so much for writing this. I've been following yours and Aleks adventures on Facebook which directed me to this page. I found myself in the same situation as Aleks - I got made redundant from my main employment at the beginning of 2013 and I live in a very isolated community witth limited options for employment. I managed to struggle through to the end of the summer with odd jobs here and there and then basically had to make the decision to relocate to where I would have access to employment I was suited for or look for something that I could do from my home and support myself. I'd had a novel accepted by Siren in 2012 that I'd sent off in a burst of courage and optimism and then did nothing else about following it up. I'm great at having fun and creating and not so great at releasing out of my own computer but I chose a couple of contemporary novels to edit and polish from the ones I''ve amassed over the years and self-published on Amazon and Smashwords. It's been a lifeline - it's still an occasional struggle but I'm slowly making it work. I find it hard to know how to manage the marketing side of things with the practicalities of making sure I still have an income, but I know that even as little as five years ago I would not have had this option. I love what I do - I live in a world of perpetual happy ever afters and romantic heroes after all! - and I'm trying to do better with meeting people (am English by birth, Scottish Islander by choice) and connect with people on the internet. The rebuttal you wrote above is everything I want to say to people who look at me squint eyed when I tell them what I do - this is my JOB. Its hard work. Its frustrating and lonely sometimes, but this is sustaining my life and I love it. I'm part of a new wave of creative talent (however tiny and insignificant) that are going out and connecting directly with the people that want what we produce and not waiting around for someone to notice us and take us down a more traditional route that doesn't work so well anymore. And I swear to God, the next person who asks me 'Yes, but when are you going to write a REAL book...' I will not be held responsible for my actions! Thank you again for writing this - I needed to read this today and see that, not only am I doing what I love for my working life, but I made the right decision last year. Enjoy the rest of your stay!

    1. Hi Taylor - well done you. :) I think the world is coming slowly around to the fact that e-books are real books and there's money in being a writer. (A shocking thought jut ten years ago!) So I'd just wait for the slow kids in the class to catch up, to be honest. :)

      RE: Marketing, I have grounds to believe that every new book sells your other books, so quality and new releases seem to be the main factors. Also, it helps being in with a publisher who's on NetGalley and has a good reputation. Riptide has grown my income from "oh, nice, coffee money" to, "holy crap, if I'm sensible with the cash, I can live off this" in two years, so having them back me up is great. (I do believe there are publishers who are "sales poison", so you might have a contemporary romance that's no better or worse than the OTHER contemporary romance of the same length and roughly the same price, but it sells half the number of copies it SHOULD because it's with a certain publisher - I have some evidence from a number of friends where that seems to be the case, though it's anecdotal and by no means scientific). Generally, it makes sense to diversify your income over a number of publishers - each pub will reach a slightly different readership and it also means that if a publisher explodes and ends owing you money, you'll still be OK. This is why some authors diversify across 2-3 houses plus self-publishing, which seems to make perfect sense.

  14. Great article, LA! Best wishes to you and Aleks.
    I think co-writing sounds awesome and would love to try it with a couple of writers I know. You both bring specialties to the project that make it richer.

    Yeah, no sympathy here for the entrenched old-school authors. Welcome to the new millennium, where we are paid by readers for what they want to read.

    After being shepherded by Samhain for several years, I've branched into self-pub. Love using all I learned from my editors there to craft a new arm of my career.

    Cathryn Cade

  15. Holy Ned, this blog post got busy. Thank you to everyone who's stopped by and commented!

    And yes, Stephen King and Nora Roberts are extremely prolific, which was why I used them for that example. You *can't* just write one or two books every once in a while and expect the kind of lifestyle they lead because even THEY can't do that. Write more, publish more -- the only way for a writer to survive.


  16. Thank you for writing this. It shows the realities of what being a working writer looks like and counters the myth of the 'golden age' Robert McCrum would want us to believe in. I added a link to your post in the post I wrote about this topic as I think yours is a much needed (and far more common) perspective on how writers are adapting to the digital revolution. Great read!

  17. I'd like to comment as a reader. I think we readers benefit the most especially from authors who write in genres the big publishers won't push. I still read JD Robb and the big guys but I also have found fantastic new (to me) authors through smaller publishers like Riptide and Samhain and through social media and the authors own efforts I have found some terrific self pubbed authors. I also love the fact that when I find a new author I can go back and pick up the stuff I've missed when they get their rights back and can sell it as a reasonably priced ebook.

  18. You're L.A. and I'm L.A.
    You're Lauren and I'm Lauren.
    We're both finalists for the same category in the Lambda Awards.
    Should we stage a cat fight for publicity?

    1. LOL! That's crazy. And yes, we totally should. TO THE THUNDERDOME...

  19. Thank you for this. As a new self-published author, I'm glad to hear that there is a possibility for me to be compensated for my work effort and product. I've had so many tell me that my ability to write is not a marketable job skill, that I've wasted my years in undergrad and graduate school crafting my skills. So happy I stopped listening to the infamous "they" so long ago.

  20. Thank you for this. As a new self-published author, I'm glad to hear that there is a possibility for me to be compensated for my work effort and product. I've had so many tell me that my ability to write is not a marketable job skill, that I've wasted my years in undergrad and graduate school crafting my skills. So happy I stopped listening to the infamous "they" so long ago.