Coming to you today with a little bit from the heart so I hope you'll hang with me and have a read. No, this isn't a happy post and for that I apologize but I do hope you'll read it anyway.
I'm hurt, yes, truly hurt by the lack of reaction to my newest release, Accidentally Forever, in the Coming in Hot: Rescue Me collection. This book was hard for me to write but I did it, finally. My mistake was thinking readers still wanted it.
Many of you know I have been around a long, long time in this business and I have always tried to be geared toward providing for the readers, first and foremost. Money has always taken a backseat to everything I have done, and that includes the house percentage in my publishing contracts. (For those who don't know, I run Naughty Nights Press and have published over 450 authors over the years, many who are still with my trad house, and several of which have gone on to become USA Today bestsellers under my tutelage.)
Over the years I've noticed one big and concerning thing happening: reader appreciation is fading. If a book isn't free or 99cents it gets very little attention.
Why does this disturb me? Because it's readers basically saying my writing isn't worth more than that, which just makes me wonder why I bother. If I can't measure up, if I am not enough, then maybe it's time to just pack it all in and leave the writing world.
When I first started NNP a decade ago, we created boxed sets and anthologies, most of which sold easily and in high numbers for no less than 4.99-9.99 or more. Single title books would fly off the shelves at 3.99-5.99, print books at no less than $10, and my authors actually earned a living.
Now? Well, let me tell you how things have changed. As a pub house, I offer to my authors: highly competent editors, designers, marketing and writing advice, often even just a supporting ear to get them through a tough spot in life or in writing, and so much more. I get their works out there to the readers while still offering a reasonable and decent compensation package. In a nutshell, as many of them will tell you, I go above and beyond what they've experienced elsewhere.
Why? Because of the love I have for the books, the appreciation I have for their talent, and the knowledge I've retained over the many years in the business may as well get put to good use, right? Because I know they're worth it.
One problem, even if I take nothing out of the coffers for my own personal use, I still have to pay the others who work for and with me. At 99cents this isn't even possible. That's less than minimum wage for a single person, let alone the several I have who are part of my amazing team. Don't get me started on how little that gives the authors, too!
Really? They should spend every waking moment slogging though the processes of writing, marketing, social media, trolls and reviews, drama and all this career entails, and not even make enough to pay the rent? Where did this world change in how much authors are worth? It's truly become something I could never have foreseen and it makes me heartsick to know each payday that I am going to suffer horrible feelings over those small royalty checks when my authors have busted ass. Now, some may say this speaks to my talent as a pub, but my authors and I disagree. If we did it years ago, sold our work for reasonable compensation, then this has nothing to do with my house's skills or any lack thereof.
What it does speak to is the lack of choice. Readers are being continuously conditioned to accept sub-par works, and to pay the minimum amount possible for those books. Problem is, now the expectation extends to high quality books, too. This is wrong on so many levels!
Then we have anthologies and boxed sets. Nope, not dissing them because I create them, too, so y'all just chill out. I am not, nor have I ever been, anti-indie. Quite the opposite as many will speak to.
Anyway, wow, so 99cents isn't even enough to pay for 16-20 novels and novellas, huh? Unbelievable. Then there's those who read the whole damn thing and then have the audacity and ignorance to return it! WTH? Return a huge collection for a refund of the $1 they paid to have so many hours to get lost in. Seriously? What gives? I'd like to return the $20k car for a full refund after I've used it to its capacity in 6 years, too, but...not realistic is it.
Don't know what I'm talking about?
On my most recent release, the CIH2 set, there's been 8 returns already. In two days. Nope, not formatting or any issues other than greed, or maybe it'll get pirated. Who knows anymore how this is justified. Amazon checked that collection before publication and they informed me of the only two issues of concern, which were minor and spelling related in half a million words, yes, two errors, so I know in advance it's not the set itself. Digital books should never be returnable unless there's a legit issue, but sadly Amazon disagrees and that's another fight for another day.
Why does this bug me so much? It's only 8, right? Compared to the thousands of sales so far in two days, the multiple #1 Bestseller orange tags, and the almost Top 500 rank we sported on Amazon for a bit, or the Top 50 listings on all other vendors, 8 returns should be a drop in the bucket, right?
Yeah, no. The contributing authors busted ass for months, yes, months. We started the organization of this collection last February, over a year ago. Writing the books and then setting up all the marketing and ads, posting, tweeting, doing takeovers and giveaways, hitting up friends, family, street teams and followers for a little share, paying fellow authors to include a mention in their newsletters--or watching, disappointed again as authors who may not have a gazillon subscribers are overlooked in favor of those who do (this in and of itself sickens me. When did it become more about how much you could be used than it did about lifting another up? I have never and will never charge authors I put in my newsletters, nor do I demand or expect a swap only from authors with an equal amount of subs--I've been around a long time so my lists are extensive and I wouldn't expect many have that high a count)...and all that was pretty much an exhausting waste of time for those involved, imho.
Why? Because for a set that readers clamored for after the first CIH last year, begging for a second one, this one hasn't done anywhere near what it should have and that is so much more disappointing than you may realize. I'm not going to go into the reasons why, cause I'm sure that's obvious, but I will say again what it means to me to see this.
It means we are not worth that single dollar for a half a million words or more. Not good enough. That thought process sticks with ya after a while, ya know? Not enough.
To those readers who supported CIH2, you remain amazing and in my heart always, the reason behind each book I struggle to write amid the daily chronic pain that only increases every year. I know many of you held out the hope during my six year hiatus and you knew better than me that I would write again instead of just being a publisher, and for that I thank you. You were right. I can't leave that part of my heart behind even if it's for a good cause. I will continue to write.
What I won't do, however, is release another one of my hard won works as a 99cent book. I won't devalue my books and put them in Kindle Unlimited, cause that is a death sentence in the making for many authors, imho, and I won't put my books on sale for that piddly amount anymore. I won't do giveaways of my books or any of the authors I publish. I won't publish their books at that low amount anymore. They deserve better, as do I, as do my editors and designers and marketing team.
These people work hard to bring you the top quality books we have for many years, and it's long past time we get back to showing that appreciation for that hard work with real compensation. Will we regret this decision? Maybe, but I doubt it cause my gut says the majority of the talented authors I know are going to follow suit soon enough. We've made a huge mistake in practically giving away our books for the last couple years, or in allowing the KU program to cheapen our works. A huge error in judgment that seems to have resulted in readers expecting free or 99cents, always, for every book, and not willing to pay for the work we put in. I'm appalled at some of the feedback some authors get daily when they don't price at 99cents! I've seen too many emails and it ain't pretty to know this is how much value is placed on our hard work.
We'd make more at a coffee shop or fast food joint so I guess for some of us that's going to be the option soon. It's long past time we regain the ability to know our own worth.
I dunno about you, but I am sure as hell worth far more than $1, as are my fellow authors and other industry professionals. The time to make change is here.
So, on that note, if you even read this far. (Believe me, some will have closed the page long ago) and cause what post would be complete without a little shameless self-promo:
This is the last chance readers will have to get any of my books at 99cents. As of Sunday they will all go up to a regular price, one I can afford to pay my people on. This goes for all my authors' books, too.
If you haven't bought it yet, better hit your preferred retailer for Coming in Hot: Rescue Me if you want to get my shifter paranormal romance, Accidentally Forever, along with 15 other incredible tales by some of the best authors I know, or my Gay Male Shapeshifter story, A Shot At Love, at the unbelievable 99cent price point.
We are worth more than that. CIH2 and ASAL are a literal steal of a deal and will be Sunday so the choice is yours.
Oh, hey, and I've put up my co-authored YA/NA Paranormal Suspense, Darkness of Light, too. Though that one is currently at the reduced price of 2.99 and won't be going less. That's my sale price. Kimberly and I are worth far more but we like to consider readers' needs as well. The paperback copy will be 9.99 if that interests you.
Yep, cause I'm nice I am including the links here for these books. If you click, great. If you don't, meh, you aren't my target market and I feel bad that you will miss out but there's nothing more I can do about that.
For all those who've already bought and begun reading, you rock! We appreciate you.
Have a good one! See you on the flip side.
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/CIH
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/ASAL
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/DoL1
About Gina Kincade
USA Today Bestselling Author Gina Kincade has been penning romance since she was seventeen years old. She writes to a diverse range of genres where vampires and were-creatures will rip out a villainous heart without thinking twice, or bodyguards and heroic cowboys will obliterate miscreants, and then finally celebrate winning by engaging in steamy romances forged in fictional worlds readers yearn to crawl into.
Gina writes under a total of three pseudonyms to-date in other genres, including YA and children's.
A busy mom to three children, she lives in her wild household of two rambunctious dogs, a devoted, loving cat who believes herself to be royalty, and twelve crazy little chickens. She loves healthy home cooking, gardening, warm beaches, fast cars, and horseback riding.
Gina is also the C.E.O of Naughty Nights Press LLC, a quality publisher of contemporary romance, paranormal fiction, and sensual erotica.
Ms. Kincade's life is full, time is never on her side, and she wouldn't change a moment of it!
Connect with on Gina on Facebook
or sign up for her Newsletter Mailing List
or follow her on Twitter
or follow along on her blogs