Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Author Speaks

After writing to romance author Bertrice Small about the Kindle listing for one of her books, this was Ms. Small's thoughtful response...once again pointing out that publishers really only think of themselves.

"I'm not a techie. Just a working writer who can get her e-mail, and quails at the words "cut and paste". I wasn't even aware that THE BORDER LORD'S BRIDE was
available for downloading on the Kindle. In fact I only recently learned what a Kindle is. I imagine the publisher will eventually inform me of this development. Or not. Authors really are the last to know. I wish I had the influence to get my publishers to keep book prices at a reasonable rate. But the truth is I have absolutely no say where the price of books in any format is concerned. If I did the price wouldn't be so high. And they'd use recycled paper!

Nowadays working authors like me who actually make a living with their writing don't earn it from royalties. The truth is we live on our advances - and just to keep the record straight - I haven't had a raise in a number of years. I realize the papers and gossip columns are always touting the big advances paid to authors, but those are the very few, Grisham, Steele, King, etc. And advances are not handed out in a lump sum. They are paid out in increments over the life of the book contract. You don't get rich that way and authors of popular commercial fiction like me make the kind of living most middle class people make. And I have to do 2 or 3 books a year to stay middle class. The market is tight, and was even before the economic downturn. I'm glad to be still working.

I have passed on your concerns to my agent, and to my editor at NAL Books. And I do appreciate you contacting me. God bless! Bertrice Small"