Monday, March 19


As avid readers we know authors appreciate that we support them by buying, reading and then spreading the word that a book is good, wonderful, stupendous. I'm sure they don't really appreciate when we don't like a book, but most are gracious enough not to comment, with a few exception who choose to point out that obviously we didn't get it. But those authors are actually a rarity.

But there are days when reader frustration starts to bubble. We're told we love you... but...

  • Please don't shop at UBSs as they cut into my royalties, and keep me from realizing my full potential, and take food from my starving children's mouths. Never mind that buying everything I read new would keep food out of my starving child's mouth.
  • Libraries are wonderful, but once again they cut into my royalties...
  • I don't care if you're my biggest fan ever, don't buy ARC on Ebay and never buy a book before it's official release date. Not that I actually think buying an ARC on Ebay before it's release is okay, but if someone is such a rabid fangirl that they can't wait for a book, it's likely they'll be spreading the word far and wide that the book is the bestest and I'm sure plenty of other readers will buy it new.
  • Readers should adopt an author. What the heck do they think an autobuy list is? I've already adopted far more authors than I can actually support.
  • If you don't have anything nice to say about a book, just don't say anything. If I think a book's a wallbanger I'm supposed to keep it to myself. Literally, I can't talk about it, I can't take it back, I can't exchange it at the UBS (UBSs are evil), I can't burn it (burning books is bad).
  • Read outside you're comfort zone. Why? If I know I'm not going to like something, why should I torture myself? actually I agree with this one, but can understand why someone reading for pleasure chooses to stay within their comfort zone.
  • Blah, Blah, Blah...

Are you wondering where this came from? Have you ever noticed how often authors tell us to we need to buy more books? It's frustrating.

Now having had my little rant, I can fully understand that we are probably just as frustrating to authors. I can't imagine what type of fans drove Stephen King to write Misery. And I have to wonder how many times Nora Roberts has been asked when Eve and Rourke are going to have a baby.


Wendy said...

Don't quote me on this - but I think King was inspired to write Misery after a crazed whack job broke into his house and threatened his wife.

And I hear you on your frustrations. It's been my experience that libraries tend to nurture writing careers. For one thing, it's a great way for authors to get all their research materials at low cost AND some readers actually go from discovering new authors at the library to buying their new book(s) when they come out.

Tara Marie said...

Wendy, I think you're probably right re SK, I remember hearing the same story. But I have to think that some of the more rabid fangirls out there even frighten the objects of their obsession. And I completely agree with your thoughts about libraries nurturing authors.

Kat O+ said...

The arguments about not buying second-hand or borrowing from libraries are interesting to me. I read a post somewhere a while back (I think it was by a sf/f writer) that talked about why authors being overprotective of their current royalties can be a bad thing. I think the writer talked about how actually giving a book away for free can increase your readership and sales of future work because once people know you write good stuff, they're more willing to pay for your books new. Also, that most readers aren't trying to starve authors on purpose and if we had but enough money we would buy every book new.

Rosie said...

I get very frustrated about the whole UBS thing. Twenty years ago when I was at home with my newborn I couldn't afford books we didn't even have a small county library (like we do now). That wonderful independent book seller recommended to me my first category romances and I began reading Sandra Brown, Krentz, Linda Howard, and many more.

I had never purchased a category romance before and after that looked for these authors when they published new books.

I try out authors at the UBS all the time and end up buying them new. I think of it as word of mouth recommendation.

As a result I've spent many more dollars on new books for these and many other authors.

Anonymous said...

Uh, not to be dense or anything, but what is UBS? United Bible Society? University Book Shop? The Union Bank of Switzerland??

Ann(ie) said...

Used Book Store.

I just want people to read my stories, and I don't care how they get them, really. If they like them, maybe they'll tell somebody. That's worth more than money.

meljean brook said...

I'm with Annie -- I just want them to read them, no matter how they get them. Then I figure if they like it enough, I've got a reader who will probably buy the next one new, or tell someone else about it. Either way, I don't lose anything.

nath said...

Seriously, I get my books how I can get them and if they were cheaper or on sale, the better for me :) I can understand that yes, buying at UBS or borrowing from libraries cut into your profits, but readers are not rich and avid readers read A LOT! Also, if you don't want readers to buy at UBS, consider having books not go out of print? Anyway, I'm in the situation where I buy most of my books new because a) no library that caters a good selection of English books and b) same problem with UBS... and let me tell you, reading is about my only hobby... yes, it's cheaper than the movies, but there aren't 15 movies coming out in one month that I'd like to see.

By the way, what's wrong with buying a book before it's release date if it's available in a bookstore?

erika said...

Just a tad o/t. I sent you an email about Linda Howard's next book. There's a link to a brief blurb.

meljean brook said...

"By the way, what's wrong with buying a book before it's release date if it's available in a bookstore?"

So I guess I'm really saying -- nothing's wrong with buying the book. The bookseller just isn't supposed to put them out.

...yeah. Taking a LOT of words to get to the point, that's me. Sigh.

meljean brook said...

"And I have to wonder how many times Nora Roberts has been asked when Eve and Rourke are going to have a baby."

And because I'm never done ... if Eve and Roarke ever get pregnant, that's it for me. Done with the series. Blergh.

Tara Marie said...

crap, I accidently deleted one of Meljean's comments. Crap, Crap, Crap. Sorry, Sorry, Sorry

By the way, what's wrong with buying a book before it's release date if it's available in a bookstore?

Basically, she said if books are purchased around a loose release date--before the book is technically out, it can hurt them on sales and best seller lists. She used Nalini Singh's new one as an example.

I will add that if an author is a best seller already this probably doesn't matter. But I can understand that it can hurt mid-list and new authors.

Tara Marie said...

Kat, I think part of the problem is the authors that complain want a more immediate success, instead of being willing to see that if a reader finds a new author they like at the UBS or library they're likely to buy them new as new releases come out.

Rosie, I can't tell you how many authors I've discovered at the UBS that are now favorite autobuys.

Annie and Meljean, that's it exactly, I've done it :D

Nath, it's simply impossible to read everything new, I can't afford it and there are probably few who can. And OOP books can only be found at UBSs and libraries.

Erika, thanks for the email, I've already taken a look and can't wait. She's the only author I still buy in hard cover.

Meljean, sorry about that and you did such a great job explaining too.

The Eve and Rourke baby thing... I'm sure there are plenty of reader that think babies are the next step. Hey you never know, Mavis had one :P

CindyS said...

*drags lazy butt out of chair and claps wildly*

Readers should adopt an author. What the heck do they think an autobuy list is? I've already adopted far more authors than I can actually support.

Hell yeah!

The first time I ever read an author's take on UBS I thought it was a joke. There are people out there that make less in an hour of work than a new book costs. I would rather that those who would love to read have a way to do so. I have been a poor student and only had the library as an option. I've been a home owner with a limited budget who discovered UBS. And finally, I'm in a place where I can buy most of my books new but you better believe I know what I'm buying before I drop my 10 bucks on the table. Maybe if I had a UBS near me I would go out on a limb more often and try new authors but when I'm buying new, I'm much more particular about where I'm spending my money.


HelenKay Dimon said...

I think some authors don't understand that giving a free book here or having someone buy one of your books at that UBS over there can actually lead to long-term sales and loyalty. I've started reading many authors because I got a free book or picked one up at a library fund drive for 50 cents, or something like that. For example, picking up a free Susan Mallery category romance at a RWA Conference years ago has resulted in me buying every one of her books, category and non-category.

I'd love if someone connected with my writing like that. Like Meljean & Annie,I just want people to find me somehow and hope they like my stuff enough to keep looking for it.

Laura Florand said...

Hmm. Here was my take on this, a few weeks ago on my blog:

"Here’s my thinking about libraries, as an author: Of course we love it when you buy the book. And you tell all your friends. But we also love it when libraries stock our books. I personally think copies in libraries can be even more invaluable for generating longterm readers. And how do copies get in libraries? By people requesting them. I’ve worked in libraries and in bookstores both as a teenager, and as I remember it, librarians pay attention to what gets requested. They’re more likely to order the next book by that author and so on.

I guess, as far as I’m concerned, it’s all good. You can borrow from a friend, from the library, buy new, buy used, win copies in contests :) …maybe you can’t steal it, that doesn’t sound good, but for the rest, if you’re reading my book and enjoying it, then I am happy."

Basically I agree with all of what you said & Meljean & Annie & the other comments. Who are the authors who disagree? I've never actually seen that, just heard of it second-hand, as in this post.

I try to give away as many copies as I can find an excuse to, too. Although authors do pay for books beyond the quantity they receive in their contract. So you can't give an infinite amount away, although it would be nice.

charleneteglia said...

I love libraries. And I've heard that decreased library budgets have hurt authors.

I hear your frustration, Tara Marie. I don't think it's fair to expect readers to fix problems that aren't theirs.

And for whatever it's worth, I don't expect anybody to buy my books unless they think they'll get an enjoyable read in exchange. It's publishing, not a charity.

Tara Marie said...

Cindy, I knew the author that came up with the adopt an author idea wasn't being obnoxious about it, but the concept is a little mind-boggling to someone who has autobuys that are too many to count :)

HelenKay, I realize those authors that complain are being short sighted, and the vast majority of authors realize that there are pros and cons to each situation. Ultimately I think they're more likely to grow there reader base through UBS and libraries and that needs to be their goal.

Laura, Basically I agree with all of what you said & Meljean & Annie & the other comments. Who are the authors who disagree? I've never actually seen that, just heard of it second-hand, as in this post. I wish I could remember where I saw the complaining about libraries, but I have a friend who owns a UBS, she had a best selling author get in her face at an RT convention about the evils of UBSs.

Charlene, I love libraries. And I've heard that decreased library budgets have hurt authors. I live in a rural area of NY, we have an amazing library system. Because most of the libraries are very small we can request books from anywhere within the library system--LOVE this. My budget doesn't allow for me to buy hardcovers, I borrow them and then if it's a book I can't live without I buy them when they go mm. My library has started ordering some of the new books I request, they can justify it because they can share them.

Sam said...

I don't feel very concerned about this post, because I don't care how a reader gets my book, I'm just pleased as all punch when they get read, lol!

But I have a good friend who owns a small bookstore in my mom's town, and I love it when people buy books from her (not mine, just any book) Because I think the small town bookstore is so important. They have parties for kids, readings by local authors, and they do theme weeks, with history, or science, or religious books. Our town library is just as active promoting reading and books, and we're lucky to have both places - but the book store is the one that will probably close due to lack of funds, and that will be sad.
Don't adopt and author - adopt a bookstore.

(The best of both worlds - what my mom and I do - is to buy a couple books from the local book shop each month, and get the rest from the library...)

Alison said...

I've also heard authors saying that they don't like to give away copies of their new releases in contests - since all those readers waiting for the win won't be buying and will skew their sales numbers and possibly keep them off lists.