Today, Gail Carriger, author of the Soulless series (books I have enjoyed, by the way), wrote a post urging her readers to buy her upcoming book in print rather than digital format. I’m not going to address the substance of her post in any significant way. A lot of the things she says about the publishing industry are true. Even though most traditionally published authors earn more in royalties from digital book sales (25% of net compared to 8% of cover), what really matters when it comes to that next contract is selling-through as much as possible of each print run. As more and more readers convert to digital books, print runs are shrinking and that makes publishers unhappy because, at some point, it becomes unfeasible to print any books at all, especially in mass market paperback. ‘Nuff said.
But here’s what I really came here to say. I hope I never get to the point where I feel entitled to ask readers to do anything for me. Because, when you buy one of my books, the person who is entitled to something is you. You’ve spent your hard-earned money to spend time in a world and with characters I’ve created. As an author, I want you to have a good time there. I want you to enjoy your experience. I owe that to you. You don’t owe me anything. You bought the book. And, if you read it, you will be spending something even more valuable–your time–on something I created.
So, I never want to ask what my readers can do for me. I always want to ask what I can do for my readers. And what I can do is, I hope, write books that will entertain and move you. I hope to earn your trust that I will deliver another good book, so that when you spend money on my next book, you feel it’s worth it.
And honestly, if I can do that, I’ll be happy no matter what format you buy my book in or from which retailer. That’s your choice. Just like it’s your choice whether to buy one of my books or not.