Friday, June 10, 2022

I have the coolest fans ever - here's why

 

I'm always amazed by the generosity of people who read my books. There are many examples of their big hearts. Here are just a few:

  • The fact that so many people "buy direct" means that I keep a higher % of what they pay (since all the middlemen are eliminated).  We are just a few days into Farilane's release but more than 4,000 people have bought the book directly from me (either through the Kickstarter or the pre-order store). The result is an "advance" that is greater than a publisher would pay me -- by a LONG margin. It also means that a large number of people take it on faith that I will provide them with a good read, and this trust in my work is extremely appreciated.

  • The BEST thing people do is recommend the books to others. It's been over 15 years since the release of The Crown Conspiracy (Book #1 of The Riyria Revelations and now published under the omnibus book Theft of Swords). Because of this "word-of-mouth" advertising, my books have had amazingly long legs.  What does that mean?  That even after all that time, the early books are still selling extremely well. Every six months I receive royalty checks from my "backlist," and even if I never wrote a single new word, I could live comfortably on this "residual income." But don't worry - I have no plans to stop writing new stuff. Yeah, I'm getting old and books take longer than they once did, but creating them is what I love to do the most.

  • Speaking of the backlist. It's also apparent that I have extremely "faithful readers" - people who aren't just "one-and-done," but those who discover one of my books and then go on to buy all the others - even though it means jumping into new series with different characters than they first fell in love with. I won't lie, it was a risky pursuit to step away from a proven winning formula rather than writing exclusively Royce and Hadrian stories. But these days I have just as many people starting with Legends and going to Riyria. When I receive letters from people who say they will buy anything I write, it tells me they like me, they really, really like me. And while I'm always focused on "writing a book I want to read" it's good to know that my scribblings have connected with others.

  • People who leave reviews on sites like Goodreads, Amazon, Audible, and Barnes and Noble. My wife has in the past (and is starting to resume again now that things are starting to get back to normal), taught courses to authors on the business of writing. She does these for free - her way of helping others receive the success that I have benefited from. One of the things she emphasizes is how important independent third-party opinions are to a successful writing career. There are many people who are not willing to be the "guinea pig" so they wait to hear what others are saying about the book.  After seeing a number of positive reviews it gives these people the courage to stop sitting on the fence and give the books a try. Any review, yes even the negative ones, is a help. People know that individual tastes are subjective, but a book with no (or few) reviews is even worse.  With each release, we sit on pins and needles as the reviews slowly trickle in. 

  • People who reread the books - more and more I'm hearing from readers who haven't just read the books once, but multiple times.  This is a huge time investment, and I personally think my stories are even better the second (or third) time around. Why?  Well, there are a ton of Easter eggs and secrets woven throughout - and even across the series. A first reading (before you know where the book is heading) will miss many of these little "winks and nods to people in the know" and re-reading (once everything is revealed) will give a much richer experience and shed new light on scenes. Writing in these interconnections is one of the things I enjoy the most, but it's only those who take the time to do a re-read who will notice them. Finding out that so many people are willing to spend the extra time lets me know that "added effort" was not a waste of my time.
  • People become invested far beyond anything I would have expected. Recently I received an amazing stained-glass window. It's a one-of-a-kind work of art, and it took hundreds of hours to produce (and not a trivial amount of money in materials).  Tammie and Mike even delivered it (and Tammie has spent uncountable hours as a beta reader for my books).  While this is amazing in its own right - It's not the only instance. Above our pellet stove is a beautiful piece of antique wood that has an engraving with a favorite quote from my books.  I also have received a framed silk screen of my "author logo" that hangs behind my desk, and I hand-blown hourglass made by a master glass-smith.  To list all the amazing gifts would take far too long - this is just a small sampling and it indicates that people love the work so much that it inspires their own creative pursuits - and what's more they are generous enough to send them to us!  And no, this isn't a plea for more gifts - but it's just one of the reasons why I appreciate my readers so very much.

All of the above is just a preamble to what I really came here for.  Yesterday I ran across a book trailer that was created by a fan. It's...well...amazing! 

 

It's just one of many videos on the channel Riyria Explained.  If you aren't already a subscriber - please join.  The above video is so professional! And what's even better are the other videos that provide a deep dive into the books and pick out many of the little connections that I spoke about earlier. All the work that has gone into these videos is tremendous - and they are well worth your time if you are that avid reader that has picked up all the books - but if you haven read widely - be warned - there are tons of spoilers in the "non book trailer" videos.

Well, those are just some of the reasons I'm so grateful to you all. I'll do my best to keep the books coming and hopefully you'll continue to rea them.

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