The Author “Thing”

In just over two weeks, THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE will be out in the world.

Author book signing

Signing the first copies of THE CHARMED CHILDREN in my editor’s office.

This is a nerve-wracking time for an author. Will it sell? Will people like it? Will they even read it? This is my baby and I want it to be loved!

Now, in fairness, I’m on cloud nine over the wonderful welcome it’s received to date. Kirkus, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly have all given it starred reviews. It’s a Junior Library Guild selection and a Spring 2016 Indies Next pick. But all these accolades are no guarantee that the novel will sell, although they do give it a big boost.

If you are a reader rather than a writer, you may not know the following. With the exception of a very, very few (as in, count them on the fingers of one hand) children’s authors make little money. Most readers are not aware that the advances authors receive are parceled out over months if not years, and those advances must be earned back before royalties kick in. That can take a long time, and many books never “earn out”. I know almost no authors who actually make a living from their writing, and those who do have published many books in order to see income. This is true regardless of a book’s quality.

author swag

A “real” copy and my pretty bookmarks.

Publishing houses today are struggling to maintain a positive bottom line, and so can’t afford to offer material support to most authors. They also can’t afford to keep books in print for the length of time it might take for an author or a book to attract an audience. The marketing and publicity of a book today falls equally if not entirely on the shoulders of an author, who really should be writing that next book, not tweeting or snapchatting about the upcoming release. My friends and I are responsible for our own websites, printing our own bookmarks, providing snacks at our signings, paying for our own travel.

Mind you, I’m not complaining. I love what I do and would continue to write even if none of my work saw the light of day. I’m just putting this information on the table. It’s surprising to me when I meet people who think I’m getting rich off my writing, or that I have stacks of books to give away. Neither of these is true.

If you like an author and/or are interested in reading their book, please do get thee to a bookstore. If you can’t afford to buy the book, ask your local library to stock it. Pre-orders of books are especially important as those initial sales often tell the publisher whether the book will succeed. Honest Amazon reviews are also important, as they can boost a book’s profile.

And on that note – in the next couple of blog posts I’ll be announcing a blog tour about THE CHARMED CHILDREN, with a mystery guessing game in the form of short video teasers. I hope you’ll follow along and join in the fun!

If you do want to pre-order THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE, you can order a personalized signed copy at my indie here, or find it on Amazon here.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for your support!

3 Responses to “The Author “Thing””

  1. Linda W

    I’m so looking forward to your book, Janet. And thanks for keeping it real. I totally get the challenges of being a writer, particularly one who writes books for kids and teens. I will be happy to keep tweeting about your upcoming release!

  2. Bill Riley

    Janet, My first book comes out in three weeks. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Have a great THE CHARMED CHILDREN launch. Bill


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