- Posted by Johanna on September 12, 2013 at 8:27 pm
- Category: LinkBlogging
Over at the Crazy 8 Press site, writer Peter David has announced that his next original novel, ARTFUL: Being the Heretofore Secret History of that Unique Individual, The Artful Dodger, Hunter of Vampyres (Amongst Other Things), will be written for Amazon Books, not the Crazy 8 collective.
Why am I going through a publisher rather than providing it to the readers myself? It’s time to be honest, guys: It’s because they pay me. Amazon forks over money in advance. And not only does that not happen with Crazy 8, but even when the books get out there, my readers are slow to pick them up….
I’ll get monthly royalty statements that wouldn’t buy a bag of groceries. You cannot understand how frustrating it is to put months of work into a novel and the response of fans is indifference.
A well-meaning but tone-deaf fan in the comments tries to insist that $4.99 is too much and David would sell plenty at a lower price. Aside from the tackiness of that insistence at this moment, I don’t believe that’s true. The percentage of fans willing to pay for original, non-corporate digital work is small.
David is also the person who once came up with a success formula for comics that said the most important thing was the publisher, then the character, then the artist, THEN the writer. Creators known for corporate work whose fans follow them are finding that the loyalty only goes so far when you’re talking about original creations, which don’t have the same nostalgia hit for the reader. Those who are successful with digital work have built a fanbase in that area; the old ones don’t necessarily transfer.
Which is a shame, because David’s right: hard work deserves compensation. If you don’t buy digital originals, then you have no voice in the market, and you shouldn’t be telling those exploring that brave new world how to do it. You want good work, someone’s got to pay for it. If you don’t, then in this case, Amazon will. And following the old school model may mean more money for things like marketing, to get the word out.
(One small suggestion: on the Crazy 8 site, I went to Peter David’s About page, hoping to figure out which of their titles are by him, so I could link them up. There is no list on his author’s page, and there should be.)
Update: This fan has a good writeup of Crazy 8 Press and David’s writing history.