Sunday, September 5, 2010

October 4 is the official release date of Captive. We are doing reverse “windowing” with it being available on Kindle/digital first, hard copy to follow. A dear friend has offered to host a book party (details to follow…though perhaps not online).

The idea of monetization, an issue which I face as part of my other life, my job, came up repeatedly last week.

I was talking to a friend of mine from a large studio here in Los Angeles. She questioned why I was spending any time marketing and distributing Captive. She questioned why I wrote. All of it was so hard to monetize – as I didn’t have a large marketing budget or wide distribution. At an earlier meeting that day a prominent local blogger – who’d written a book as well – thought that pursuing the marketing and promotion was very worthwhile in our increasingly fragmented world. Do we create only to monetize? Does quality play into monetizing and what is quality? Interestingly, neither party had read Captive.

Today in the New York Times book review I read the numbers for the top selling authors (though I’d seen them before). Last year (year ended June 1), James Patterson earned $70 million. Stephanie Meyer was at $40 million; Stephen King was at $34 million: Danielle Steel was at $32 million. Not in that article but listed next elsewhere was JK Rowling – who did not release a book last year.

But does anyone seriously write a book just to make money? Perhaps those on the list above…since they know that if they release a book it will sell (lots). Cervantes, a favorite of mine and the writer of a “classic” spent serious time in debtors’ prison. Dickens wrote his books in installments so that he could pay his bills.

No, the writing part is long and requires tremendous discipline. I went through seven plus drafts of Captive and can’t bear to look at it anymore. The time involved is beyond explaining because not only do you write and revise but you also research (ponder, and obsess). Something like 70% percent of books don’t make back their advances (which typically aren’t high).

I write because I have something to say, and will keep writing as long as I do. Captive I wrote straight through and not chronologically. I just saw the book in my mind and it wrote itself. Today I re-wrote the beginning of the sequel because a thought led me to take the characters someplace new.

That is why I write, and not because James Patterson can earn $70 million in a year (though I commend and admire him for doing so – all those people read his book – what an accomplishment!).

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