An Author’s Truth

behindthescenesI’ve been enjoying the “Behind the Scenes” these past few Writing Thursdays, and I figured I’ll keep them going until I run out of things to share. 🙂

So today, I’m taking you into the promotion side of things, mainly because I’m getting ready to go out on a weekend filled with reader events and I’m trying to make sure I have everything I need.

I’ve got:

*My books (the first and second books are always the biggest sellers at events, which is why I run out of those the fastest).


*Postcards/recipe cards.

*Other giveaways.

Now for those of you looking at the last three things on the list and scratching your head as to why I need those, I’ll do my best to explain. By the time I’m done, you may be wondering why I pursued this career as it isn’t much of a money maker…

Back in the day, when an author had a book, the publisher did a lot. They toured them, promoted them, advertised them, etc.

These days, unless you’re one of the biggees (those are the ones prominently featured the second you walk into any bookstore in the country), that doesn’t happen. At. All.

When I have a new book out, it’s up to me to get the word out. These days, social media is a good tool, but it really just reaches the readers you’ve already established (and therefore chosen to follow/like you). So some authors (I’ve done many myself) have giveaways on their page. They put up a book…or swag (purchased and created by the author)…or, in many cases, both, in the hopes that people will spread the word and, therefore, help get the new book in front of people it might not have otherwise gotten in front of. The verdict is out on whether it really works as most of the people who try for the prize are the same people you see trying for every other author’s prize.  And while it’s fun to give someone a prize, it’s at a cost to the author both in postage and the prize (s).

The average paperback author makes about 8 percent on a book. If you figure the cost of most paperbacks to be 7.99, the author makes 64 cents per book. And that’s assuming the book isn’t being offered at a discount somewhere.   The average prize package shipped out to a winner (of, say, a book only) costs that same author upwards of about $13 (the price of the book, plus postage).  Yup, that’s a loss–a big loss.  Now let’s assume that author throws in some swag, that cost goes up both in postage and the price of the swag (that cute pen with the author’s logo…or the necklace…or the whatever? Yup, the author paid for that).

But when the publishers don’t tour you or promote you in any way, it’s what you have to do. That and a lot of finger crossing that people are actually buying your book instead of illegally downloading it somewhere or purchasing it at a used bookstore.

And then there’s all the review teams. Yes, they’re great, because reviews are supposedly important, but if several dozen people are getting the book for free…and another author’s book…and another author’s book… when is there time to purchase books?

Crazy, right?

It’s a different world out there these days. And sometimes, I feel like authors (and, on the rare occasion, publishing houses) are shooting themselves in the foot with all the freebies in the hopes of driving sales. But that said, if you don’t amid a sea of those who have the resources to do so, that can blow up in your face, too.

So my advice to you avid readers, if you have a few authors/series you absolutely love, buy them. Sales is the only thing that matters to the pub houses.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts?

~Elizabeth (aka Laura)

4 Responses to “An Author’s Truth”

  1. Andrea
    October 5th, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Wow! That’s messed up! You would think the publishers could at least help out with the freebies.
    So being an author is not just writing stories. You wear a lot of hats.
    I wish you good luck! I’ll do my best to spread the word about your books.
    Have a great day all!

  2. Kay Bennett
    October 5th, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Wow! I feel so bad hearing all of this. I try to do my part in thing. I always share posts on facebook of any author, blogger, giveaway, fan, etc. I do get several books a month to review, however the authors I really love (like you) I will buy a copy as well. I either have it sent to my dear friend or give it to someone and give my copy to the library. I had been wondering if the author gets any money at all if books are bought from a used bookstore. I sure hope I am doing a little something to help. Thank you for all you do for us.

  3. Elizabeth/Laura
    October 6th, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Andrea, tons of hats… And thank you!

    Kay, you’re awesome. The reviewing, the sharing, etc. Thank you!

  4. Kay Bennett
    October 6th, 2017 at 9:31 am


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