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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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As I mentioned in a previous post, I've hired a full-time assistant to help with all of these things I need to do, which will be essential to me getting both The Way of Kings and A Memory of Light 2 ready for publication next year. After one month of working with Peter, I can say without any equivocation that it's been WONDERFUL to have him. My productivity has been boosted, and there are a lot of things that are getting done on the website that I'd let languish. (For instance, he's doing a proofread/revision of the Mistborn Three annotations right now, which was something that needed to be done before I could post them. With Peter on the job, they'll actually start getting postedóand in a timely way!)
One problem, however, has to do with software. For some of the projects I want Peter to do (like the annotations) we felt we needed to get him Photoshop and In Design from Adobe. (I know there are other options, but those are the programs he was familiar with, and generally I've been impressed with them when I've worked with them.) Now, these programs are expensive, particularly for a small business owner like myself who doesn't plan for the products to really make him much money. But we did the right thing, and rather than sneaking a copy from pirate bay, we went ahead and shelled out the price to upgrade our educational version to a full professional version of Design Standard.
In tandem with this, though, we've needed to do a cross-platform swap, since I had a PC version. We've been trying to get this to work since May 1, but Adobe's customer support representatives keep telling Peter to call back in 48 hours. Their online help system promises a response in 24 hours, but the case hasn't been updated since May 21.
So, I thought I'd do a post here. Do I have any readers at Adobe who could help grease the wheels a little bit? I feel more than a little annoyed. I'd always been told that Adobe was easy to work with, since they appreciate it when people do the right thing and pay them for their software, rather than joining the many pirates. But we can barely get the time of day out of them. We're a small client, probably not worth their attention, but we've paid out hundreds of dollars for programs we can't use. I can't help thinking that THIS is why people just pirate in the first place. We spend hours and hours of time spent with customer service TRYING to be a good, paying customer who appreciates their software, and all we've gotten are headaches.
So, anyway, any of you WoT or BS fans at Adobeówe could use your aid. Just drop me an email if you notice this and might be able to help.
Now, you've talked briefly—I mean, jeez, you've got so much in that conversation that I'd like to jump off from...
Sorry, I'm very verbose, so feel free to cut in any time.
...involved in thing that you did, I mean...I was thinking earlier in your comments about how those who came to start reading science fiction and fantasy in the, you know, 80s, largely—in the post-Lin Carter boom of fantasy and science fiction that came out in the late 70s, early 80s...
There's a whole generation of people older than I am, and older than you are, who read that as short stories as they came out...
Yep. Yep, and I read it as a novel first; I'd never known it in short story form.
Right, and I'm in the same boat, and those even seem, you know, like short novels to me.
You know, those are the kind of books you read in an afternoon, where a Tad Williams novel is something that might take, you know, a weekend of, you know, devoted reading...
...ah, to get through the Bible-thin pages, and the massive length of the novel has become the norm—or an Ian Banks science fiction novel...
...which, you know, if you bought in hardback, you could probably, you know, put a hole in the floor when you set it down...
...it's so weighty. But, I wanted to, since you talked a little bit about internet distribution, and, you know, the kind of expectation of 'free', but also the interactivity on something that maybe, you're not using it as a means to actually distribute, but maybe to work and foment the product. You worked on your more recent Warbreaker novel through a kind of, we'll say, sausage-making process that, if people followed it on the internet, they could see the development of the novel before it was published.
Could you about that a little bit?
And kind of the impetus behind that and, you know, how you feel about the result of that process.
The impetus behind it was really watching how the internet worked with viral marketing and with really the self-made artists—the webcomic community, I pay a lot of attention to, because of how I think it's fascinating the way that this entire community of artists is building up and bypassing all middlemen, and just becoming...you know, I have several friends who are full-time cartoonists who can make their entire living posting webcomics through ad-supported and reader-supported—you know, either buying collections or donations and things like this—I thought that's fascinating. I don't think that it will work, as I said, with long-form or even short-form fiction because of the difference between the mediums, but I like looking at webcomics as a model just to see what's going on there. There's a science fiction author, Cory Doctorow, who's a very interesting author and has a lot of very fascinating things to say, a lot of them very, uh...very...aggressive, and certainly conversation-inspiring—how about that?—and one of the things he started doing, very high-profilely—he's one of the bloggers of Boing-Boing, so he's very high profile on the internet—is that he started posting the full text of his books online as he released them with his publisher. So, Cory Doctorow is releasing his books for free, and he has a famous quote, at least among writers, which says that, "As a new author, my biggest hindrance—the biggest thing I need to overcome—is obscurity."
And, so that's why he releases his books for free. He figures, get them out there, get as many people reading them as possible...and then that will make a name for him, and this sort of thing. Well, that scares a lot of the old guard. Giving it away for free is very frightening to them, and for legitimate reasons, but there was a whole blow-up in the Science Fiction Writers of America on this same topic, about a year or so ago—what you give away for free, and what you don't—and I said that Cory was right in a lot of the things that he was saying, particularly about obscurity. There are so many new authors out there. Who are you going to try, and how are you going to know if they're worth plopping this money down? It's the same sort of problem I have with albums. I don't want to try a new artist, because if I plop $10 down and then hate every track on the album...what's...what have I just, you know, done? I feel like I've wasted the money; I feel annoyed. So, I either wait till I get recommendations—and even then, a lot of times I'll buy an album, and then be like, "Man, I wish I'd gotten something else."—or I'll try the really popular songs, which may not be the songs on the album I like, which just puts you in all sorts of problems where, how do you know if you're going to like this artist or not?
Authors are the same way. You pick up a fantasy novel—a big, thick 600-page fantasy novel—you look at it, and you say, "You know, how am I gonna know if this guy's any good?" Am I gonna spend 30 bucks on a hardcover, or even, you know, 8 or 9 bucks on a paperback, you get home, and then you start reading this and you discover that this is just the wrong artist for me? So, I felt that the thing to do was to release a book for free. Being, just, I dunno...[cut] part of it was wanted to do the [?], try something I hadn't seen before, which was to write the book, and post the drafts online as I wrote them, chapter by chapter, perhaps hopefully to get a little publicity, where people would say, "Hey, he's letting us see the process!" Partially to, you know, to give something to my fans that they couldn't get from other books, which is being able to see the process firsthand, help out new writers, whatever...whatever it could do, I felt very good about the opportunity there, and posting chapters as I wrote them, always with the understanding that this would be the next book I published; I mean Tor had already said that they were going to publish it. It wasn't an experiment in that I wanted to see how it would turn out—I was pretty confident in the story, with the outline I had—but I wanted to experiment in showing readers drafts, letting them give me advice, essentially workshopping it with my readers as I wrote it, and see how that affected the process, and affected the story.
And so that's what I did, and actually I started posting drafts in 2006; it didn't come out until 2009, so it was a three-year process during which I finished the first draft after about a year of posting chapters, and then I did a revision, and then another revision, and they got to see these revisions, and I would post um...you can still find them on my website—brandonsanderson.com—you can still find all of these drafts, and comparisons between them using Microsoft Word's 'compare document' function, and some of these things, and...I think it was a very interesting process. Did it boost my sales? I don't know. Did it hurt my sales? I don't know. It was what it was, and it was a fun experiment; it's something I might do again in the future. Probably if I write a sequel to Warbreaker, I would approach it the same way. It's not something I plan to do with all of my books, partially because not all of my books do I want the rough drafts to be seen. Warbreaker, I was very...I had...I was very confident in the story I was telling, and sometimes, parts of the story you're very confident in, and parts of the story you know you're going to have to work out in drafts, and that's just how it is, and in other cases, it's better to build suspense for what's happening, and...so, there's just lots of different reasons to do things, but Warbreaker, being a standalone novel that I had a very solid outline for was something that I wanted to try this with, and once the Wheel of Time deal happened, which was just an enormous change in direction for my career, I was very glad I had a free novel on the internet, because then, people who had only heard of me because, "Who's this Brandon Sanderson guy? I've never heard of him before," could come to my website, download a free book, read something that I'd written, and say, "Okay," then at least they know who I am. They at least have an experience—and hopefully they enjoy the book, and it will put to ease some of their worries, even though Warbreaker isn't in the same style that I'm writing the Wheel of Time book in, it at least hopefully can show that I can construct a story and have compelling characters and have some interesting dialogue and these sorts of things that will maybe, hopefully, relax some of the Wheel of Time fans who are worried about the future of their favorite series. [chuckle in background]
Right, and it's good that you're working with Tor in a lot of this, because of course Tor is one of the publishers that's kind of renown for attempting to—I mean I don't know, I don't get to look at the numbers either, so I don't know what their success is—but really attempting to get readers to purchase their books, and to read their books, and then purchase follow-up books by, you know, almost using a 'first one is free' philosophy on the internet.
Yeah, Tor is very good at that. In fact the whole science fiction and fantasy market has been very good—as opposed to the music industry—in using the internet and viral sorts of things to their advantage rather than alienating their audience, which I appreciate very much.
Yeah, I mean, obviously the music industry has a disadvantage that the publishing industry in books doesn't suffer from, and that's the brevity of the item.
Yep, yep. Very easy to download a song, and...yeah.
And they have some additional obstacles, but it's, you know, one of the things that they've done extraordinarily poorly is handle any kind of PR, or any kind of the public debate as far as, you know, defending themselves I think against—you know, legitimately it's theft, taking music for free—but, you know, attacking twelve-year-olds...
Right. Or grandmothers, or things like that. Yeah, just a [?] way to approach it. You know, they're just a very different sort of situation. With audio, number one, downloading a song and listening to it, you get the very same experience listening to it that you would if you'd bought it, whereas downloading a book, it's not the same experience; reading it electronically for most of us is not the same experience as holding the book. And beyond that, publishing in today's market is actually kind of a niche thing; it's a niche market. Not entirely of course, but science fiction and fantasy, we are...we have...despite the explosion of science fiction and fantasy into the mainstream, I still think we are a small but significant player in publishing, if that makes sense. We have a small fanbase that is very loyal that buys lots of books, is generally how we approach it, and because of that loyal fanbase, that's really how science fiction and fantasy exists as a genre, because of people who are willing to buy the books when they can go to the library and get them for free, people who want to have the books themselves, to collect them, to share them, to loan them out. That's how this industry survives, hands down. And so, I mean...that's...Tor gets by. The reason Tor can exist as a publisher is because it produces nice, hardcover epic fantasy and science fiction books that readers want to own and have hardcover copies up to display on the shelves, with nice maps, with nice cover illustrations, which, you know, covers on science fiction and fantasy books have come a long way since the 60s and 70s. Just go back and look at some of these...and part of that is because the artists of course have gotten better—there's more money in it—but there's also this idea that we need to create a product that is just beautiful for your shelf, because that's how we exist as an industry. Romance novels don't exist on the same...in the same way; they exist in lots of volume of cheap copies being sold, and romance authors do very well with paperbacks—and some science fiction and fantasy authors do too, just different styles—but with epic fantasy, we really depend on those very nice, good-looking hardcovers, and so, we....giving away the book for free actually makes a lot of sense for us, because...the idea...we're selling for the people who want to have copies anyway, who could've gotten it for free from their friends, or by going to the library and getting it, or now downloading it, I mean...we have a very literate community; they know where to find the book for free online if they want to get them illegally, and we don't really go and target those websites and take them down, because you know what....it's not...the people who are buying our books are not the people who are...how should I say? If they're gonna get them for free, it doesn't discourage them from buying the book, generally. In fact they're more likely, I think, to buy the book if they read it for free first, and then like it, we're the types of people...I mean, we're the types of people who have 5,000 books in their basements, who if they love a book, go buy it in hardcover, and if they just merely like a book, we go buy it in paperback, and loan it around to all our friends still.
And so, that's who we're selling to, and that's who I think we'll continue to sell to. I don't think the book industry is threatened by the internet in the same way that the movie and music industry is, for various reasons, but I also don't think that we can...a lot of people say, 'get rid of the middle man'. I talked about the webcomic industry, and how they're able to just produce it all themselves. It doesn't work with novels. What I think readers don't realize is that most of the cost in a novel is not the printing. Most of what you're paying for when you're buying a book is the illustrator, is the copy-editor and the editor, and the layout and design team and all of this, which you really can't get rid of. Bypassing the middleman means you'd get a book that's unedited, and if you've read a book that's unedited, you'll realize why we have editors and typesetters and all of these people, and so, you know, the Kindle Revolution, if it ever happens—the ebook revolution or this sort of thing—will actually, I think, be a benefit to us, but I think people are going to be surprised that the prices don't come down as drastically as they would've thought, because of that, you know, $25 hardcover, you know, $5 of that is printing and shipping, but most of that is overhead for the publisher.
Yeah, Lord knows I read the unedited version of Stranger in a Strange Land, and I said, "Oh god, give me the edited version again."
I've been thinking lately of ways to give away digital copies of my books when you buy a hardcover. There are some issues with this.
I don't know much about the logistics; it may be impossible. If there is a way to make this work, I'd propose it to Tor and Harriet for A Memory of Light.
Here's a reddit thread where I mention issues with the process. Weigh in here or in that thread to give me advice.
The only way I could think of would be to include one-time use codes with the books. But what's to stop people from selling?
Yeah. The other problem with that is securing the code. Books aren't wrapped up, so the code could be scratched off/stolen easily.
My preferred method would be to put a code in a book that, then, you can redeem for free or a small price. But how do we secure it?
You don't. Your stuff is already being pirated and publishers shouldn't consider those lost sales. Trust people a la Apple.
I'm not worried about piracy. However, a digital code that can be used many times seems foolish. A one-use would be stolen.
One use has to be secured, or the person buying the book is in danger of being ripped off.
Multi-use means that we're hosting the book, and paying the bandwidth, for those who want to pirate. Bad idea, I think.
I'll host it for you. :) No charge.
Lol. One other problem is that this needs to be reasonable enough to the publisher's ears to get them to go along.
My point exactly. Big Pub doesn't get the new model. They consider pirated copies as lost sales. See Seth Godin for new model.
The publishers aren't as ignorant as you think. The investors, however, are another story. (You're right about them.)
Tor has done plenty of giving away free, DRM-free ebooks. They did it with Mistborn, for example.
Ah! To me as an outsider they are one and the same. :)
Publishers and editors in sf/f tend to be techies. Notice that Cory Doctorow, with Tor's blessing, releases all of his books for free.
How is Marvel doing it? They don't tend to wrap Comics either.
I think you order directly from them, and they send you the comic and deliver through their own secure app.
Baen used to put a CD copy of the book inside the hardcover versions of @davidweber1 Honor Harrington books.
I asked if we could do that, and the answer was that it was expensive enough it couldn't become the standard.
Maybe like a gift card where it's only active after purchase?
Yeah, this is probably the best idea. I don't know how hard that is to accomplish, though.
A lot of textbooks used to include a disc in the book for additional material. Discs are a bit harder to steal than codes.
Textbooks also have a much larger profit margin than novels. I asked about discs for my last book, and the publisher said no.
They said it was just too expensive.
Old school tech, I know, but how about a coupon you have to fill in with your email address then post back to the publisher?
Ha. You know, I never thought about that. The problem is, how do we keep people from stealing them out of the books?
People with a nice hardcover don't want to cut their book apart to get a coupon.
Here are a couple of problems with what people are suggesting. 1) We don't want to shrink wrap books, but a code can be stolen very easily.
Anything involving the retailer verifying a code, or printing one out, requires large-scale involvement of retailers.
That's not something I can change. They may be working on this already. I want something I could take to Tor, that we could do in house.
Or if you're talking about securing the code in the book...it seems easy enough with textbooks. Peel-off? :)
People would walk into the store, peel off the sticker, write down the code, then sell it or use it.
How do you stop people from sharing a hardcover copy?
The physical product can be made to set off an alarm. A code can be copied and carried out.
Could codes be single use? That would largely get around the securing problem?
People would walk into the store, write down the code, go home and download the book.
What about one-time scratch codes like what's used on gift cards?
Those are usually activated by the retailer. I'd love for us to be able to do that, but it would involve more than I can do.
Another issue with this is that if I did it, I would need it to work for indy booksellers and not just Amazon/Barnes & Noble.
Can you sell the digital copy at http://tor.com, which provides a coupon for the hardcover?
This is actually what I proposed to Tor a few years back, and they said they didn't want to offend the retailers.
I still like the idea, though.
I won't have time to reply to everyone here, but keep sending thoughts. I'll read and see if I can come up with something to take to Tor.
How about this: Put the code in the book. Don't secure it. Each code works three times. Hope people don't abuse it.
That risks punishing the person who buys the book (but their code has been stolen and used.)
More on the A Memory of Light ebook thing. What would you guys think if I tried to talk Tor into a 'special edition' release.
A kind of 'boxed set' that came with hardcover, ebook, audiobook, a medallion or other keepsake, and maybe some interviews with me & Harriet.
Shrink wrapped & sold at bookstores for, say, $50 instead of $30? Does that get too far away from the 'free ebook w/the hardcover' concept?
It does seem to defeat the purpose, as far as most people would be concerned. Though many would buy it.
A Memory of Light e-book release announced with three month gap. Can you explain the rationale behind this? Lot of vitriol on Tor site.
Harriet worries, among other things, at the impact on the bestseller lists by releasing at the same time.
Ebooks make her uncomfortable.
Making us wait three three months for the A Memory of Light ebook is very obnoxious and shows contempt for the fan base. I have been reading...
...WOT since 1992 and deeply resent this type of staggering.
I've been working on it. The delay is not Tor, but Harriet, who worries at the implications of releasing an ebook immediately.
She originally wanted a six month, or longer, delay. I was able to persuade her to move to three months.
Will the kindle edition of A Memory of Light be released at the same time, as the hardcover?
I'm afraid that Harriet has decided there should be a delayed ebook release.
Of course, the comic industry isn't quite the same as the publishing industry, as Marvel and DC both have their own apps on the iPad/Android. No middle-man. But I can't believe that the publishing industry hasn't considered a solution like this to keep paper books relevant. In fact, I feel like Barnes and Noble would jump all over something like this: Buy a book in their store, and get a free (or even a $1) digital copy on the Nook.
It's an issue that I've busted my mind trying to figure out. There are several ways to do this, all somewhat problematic.
1) Work directly with someone like B&N. This requires them to sell the digital copy alongside the print edition, probably at the register. Kind of a "Oh, you bought the hardcover. Would you like the digital add-on for a buck?" Then they give you a slip of paper with your digital code on it. There are huge logistical issues here. Not insurmountable, but still tough. How many books do you do this with? All new books? How do you keep all of those slips separate? Do you have a machine that prints one with a code? Who pays for the infrastructure? What happens to all of those slips once a book rotates out of being new? We already have trouble with advance copies being snatched by booksellers (or other) and offering them up for sale on ebay when they were intended to be review copies. (Printed at a high cost and given for booksellers to read.) I could see this, without careful management, going the same way.
Also, what about all of your independent booksellers who are already up in arms about B&N and Amazon getting all of the preferential treatment? What do you do about them? Let them give away an ebook too? It would have to be multi-format, and that means printing and shipping them all the slips on your end.
2) Print a code in the book itself. Easiest answer, I think, but it offers a huge problem. Books are not usually a sealed product. People like to flip through them on the shelves. So how do you hide the code? Make it inactive until it is scanned at the register, like some gift cards? I don't know how much work is required for this. It seems like less than the one above, but still requires and infrastructure change.
This is much, MUCH easier to do with a sealed product like DVDs or CDs.
If anyone has suggestions on how to make this all work, I'd love to hear them. I've proposed giving away digital copies of my books with the hardcovers before, and Tor as scratched its head trying to figure out how to make it all work.
Edits: Logical flow, typo fixes.
EDIT TWO: It has been mentioned on twitter that maybe, a code could be printed on the receipt. Much easier than a method I mentioned above—but the problem remains that it's not something that I can do alone. I MIGHT be able to get a code in my books, if we can secure them somehow. I alone can't get retailers to change so they print something out and give it to a customer. I'm mostly curious about something I can take to Tor, as a suggestion, that we could maybe get to work for the last Wheel of Time book or my future hardcover releases.
What about the system Baen uses? They include a CD with the book in multiple formats already.
Granted, that increases the overhead for the publisher. And the ISO is able to be spread online.
I'm intending to try this again. When I asked last time, they were hesitant because of the cost. (About a buck.) However, that was for one of my books before I hit the level of popularity I have now. The Wheel of Time is something else entirely. Something that might be prohibitive for another book because of small print runs could be much more cost effective here.
However, perhaps a code/CD plus shrink wrapping for certain books might be a good way to go. If we released most copies like normal, but did a certain percentage of them packaged like this with a code for a digital download, maybe it would work.
On this note does anyone know if the ebook release of A Memory of Light will be at the same time as the paper copy? I would prefer to buy it on my kindle over purchasing the physical copy.
She might not delay the launch this time. If she wants to, I might have a better chance of getting her to agree on a special edition with ebook included in the hardcover than I will persuading her to push the ebook launch up. It's one of the reasons I'm exploring this concept now.
Okay Mr. Sanderson, here are my two ideas, but I don't know if they are actually feasible.
Disclaimer: if it turns out I'm fantastic with these ideas, please forward me a copy of A Memory of Light in the next week.
1. Can you know just have two copies released at most stores? One copy would be the non-shrink-wrapped regular book. The other copy would be the 1-3$ more expensive shrink-wrapped copy with the digital code. Or keep the hardback copy+digital behind the counter.
2. Include a scratch-off-code in all the books, but sell the copy at the normal price. The code will require a 3$ activation fee when you activate it online. I realize that the possibility for theft is still there, but I would assume if someone is going to illegally scratch the code and pay 3$, torrenting the book would be the first choice.
Release A Memory of Light early. I know it will help.
1 is a fantastic idea. I've got Avenging Spider-man in my pull (which comes with the digital copy), and this is pretty much how they run it. Comic is in a sealed baggie. They don't offer a version without a digital copy (that I know of anyway) however.
I think your idea is the most feasible on here.
I think this is one of the main options I'm going to try.
Hello people of the internet. I`d like to introduce you to.... email.
Most retailers have them anyways. You buy a book, give your email.
Receive email with direct download link or (heaven forbid) a torrent to relieve stresses on sites selling fast selling books. Harry Potter comes to mind.
Done and done.
Edit: Most B&N stores, among others already use a web based sales format. They just need a small code entry to create a drop box. Containing the Distributor code, and book name.
I think Tor is more likely to want to use Tor.com as a method for this, as getting people to sign up for that (which is free, but includes an optional newsletter) could be valuable for them. When they gave out Mistborn for free, this was how the approached it. Sign up for our website, and we'll send you a book via email.
Scrap number 1. Independent booksellers are awesome. I bought your last book through one.
Print a code in the book itself. Good solution. Proper solution.
Your problem is that it's supposedly easy to "steal the code". This makes a massive assumption, and ignores existing evidence.
First, you aren't the first one to think of this. People already include codes for ebooks in their books. I know this is done fairly often in the tech industry (programming books often allow you to get access to an ebook. Granted, the market is much smaller than what you are probably used to by now, but the target market is also more tech savvy. They know how to pirate the book, even without the code.
And that brings us to the second point: pirating. People who would copy the code can easily obtain your manuscript online already. In fact, getting the code would be far more trouble then it's worth. They have to go to a store, find a copy, write the code down, go all the way back home... or they could simply go one of a few places and have a copy in minutes.
So, this brings us to the third point: who would go to a book store with the expressed desire of picking up your book? Your fans! People who already buy and pay for your books. People who want you to write more. People who want to see you finish your multiple series. And I'd be hard pressed to believe that your fans would open up a copy of the book, copy the code, and use that at home. They know what that costs them.
And even if they did, would they have really purchased your book? Really? What your suggesting is that someone who loves your work, who has followed it, goes to the bookstore with the expressed intention of copying the code and leaving. That's pretty far fetched. Even the MPAA and RIAA can't come up with numbers that support these sentiments (industries that, despite all the doomsayers, continue to grow and earn massive profits).
Yes, a few people might steal the code. And frankly, any system that accepts these codes will need to be lenient in the codes usage. But the reality is this:
1.People will violate your copyright, code or no code.
2.Having a code won't make it any easier.
3.Having a code will only provide additional value to your paying readers.
In the end, the only people who would abuse this are people that weren't going to buy the book at first anyways. You should try this out. You might be surprised.
I don't disagree with anything you've said here. However, you've got to understand that I need to deal with the realities of a large business with investors and corporate overseers.
Tor is not afraid of piracy, as I've said elsewhere. They give away DRM-free books, and have done so with mine. They let me give away on my website one of my books DRM-free in its entirety two years before it was released in stores. However, accepting that people will pirate and hosting the method they will use to pirate are different things entirely.
The Wheel of Time is not something that the publisher wants to experiment with. It is a known quantity, the biggest bestseller for the company by a mile. Things we could get away with for a new author that the company views as being 'built' are not going to work for the Wheel of Time simply because this will have a 'why rock the boat?' kind of attitude.
That's why I'm looking for something for this book that won't rock the boat quite so much. We can rock the boat on my own books, which are still growing, rather than the company's baby.
It will be a few months, I'm afraid. Harriet's decision, not Tor's or mine.
Will A Memory of Light be on iBooks on the 8th?
No, I believe it is April. Harriet insisted. I tried to get it simultaneous. This was the compromise.
Why such a delay for the ebook release?
Harriet is uncomfortable with ebooks. She wanted a year delay. We talked her into a few months.
Super annoyed that ebook versions of A Memory of Light don't come out until April 9th. Own all the other books in ebook form.
I wish it were our choice. Harriet insisted.
Wow, anger about the ebook is brutalizing those Amazon ratings.
Always does. I wish they would realize Tor couldn't change this, nor could I.
A Memory of Light is out today! Yay! On my way to the airport after a brief night's sleep. See some of you tonight in the Twin Cities.
Really??? Then why isn't it on my Nook?
Harriet insisted it be delayed on ebook.
Did anyone ask her why no ebook? Did she answer?
She is worried ebook sales would cause the hardcover to not sell enough to hit #1 on the bestseller lists.
I disagree, as does TOR, but it is her decision. Longer explanation on my blog tomorrow.
A Memory of Light not available on Kindle until April? What a stupid decision.
I'm afraid my hands are tied. Harriet insisted.
I have to say I didn't realize till this morning and was quite bummed. No more physical books get bought here.
I also do not buy physical books any longer. Just found out no Memory of Light ebook and I'm disappointed.
See the end of my blog post today.
@torbooks Please release A Memory of Light in electronic format. cc @BrandSanderson
See the end of my blog post today. Nothing I can do, I'm afraid.
Thanks for your openness. This says "rankings are more important than readers", but your explanation helps.
Well, Harriet doesn't get ebooks. She thinks they're like paperbacks. She figures if paperback readers will wait, why not ebook readers?
Just read about reasons for no ebook... There are now illegal copies everywhere... I am waiting to buy but am very disappointed.
I am very sorry. Wish I could do more.
Any idea when the Kindle or Nook edition of A Memory of Light?
April. (Explanation on my website. Terribly sorry about the delay.)
I get this question on occasion, and always feel the best thing for me to do is emphasize that I prefer you to buy the format that makes you the most happy. That way, you are encouraged to keep reading, and that is really what is best for me.
Most authors makes something around the following:
Hardcover, 15% of cover. (Regardless of store, unless it's a bargain book.)
Paperback, 8% of cover. (Regardless of venue.)
Ebook, 17.5% of the list price. (Unless they are self-published, and then it's usually 65-70% of list price.)
So, the best way to get money to an author is to buy the hardcover, preferably during launch week. (That influences how high the book gets on bestseller lists and how much in-store support it gets.)
However, I don't think that is something a reader needs to worry too much about. To be honest, rather than thinking about this, I think most authors would say that the best thing you can do for us is just read the books. Second best is to loan your copies to a friend so they can enjoy the books too.
With these percentages, were you then sharing/splitting it with the Robert Jordan estate for the Wheel of Time books?
Can I just send you money?
I suppose you couldóbut I'd rather you buy a copy of one of my books and give it to someone. If I have you send me money, then we work around all of the people who deserve their share for helping me out. (Like my agent and editor.)
Risky question time! How do you feel about those of us that buy your hardcover, then go and pirate the ebook?
* This comment is not an admission of guilt.
Risky answer time. I've got no problem with it. I wish I could actively give away the ebook to everyone who bought the hardcover. I can actually do this on books like Legion and The Emperor's Soul, where I retain rights to the ebook. (So I do.)
I'm not encouraging this, mind you. But I'm also not going to complain or make anyone feel guilty. If you've paid for the content once, I feel you should have access to it into the future, whenever you want, in any format you want. (With the exception being audiobook, where the voice actors deserve to be paid for their work above and beyond me getting paid for the writing.)
What about with audiobooks? I subscribe to Audible and I can't help notice the price I pay for my subscription makes the books I get a steal compared to buying them without subscription or buying actual discs. How does that work out for the authors?
Audible has done wonderful things for the audiobook market, helping the format gain a lot of popularity. But their prices ARE rock bottom. I don't know off-hand how much we make. I don't mind, however, because audiobooks in the past were so horribly expensive.