John Clark congratulating Brian Katcher on his new book Deacon Locke Went To Prom. This is his fifth book and combines funny with emotional. In addition to writing, Brian is a school librarian in Missouri. Here’s a brief description” “Promposals are taking over Deacon Locke’s high school and there is no place left to hide. But even with graduation looming, shy and unusually tall Deacon doesn’t think he can get up the nerve to ask anyone to the dance. Especially given all the theatrics.
It isn’t until Deacon confides in his witty and outgoing best friend Jean that he realizes she could be a great person to take. Only problem is Jean isn’t your typical prom date. She’s older. A lot older. And she’s Deacon’s grandmother.
But when Deacon meets Soraya—a girl unlike any other he’s ever met—he fears he has totally squandered his chances of having a prom he’ll never forget. Deacon couldn’t be more wrong. About everything.“
By now regular readers of the MCW blog know I’m a voracious reader and book reviewer (125 thus far in 2017). Part of that world involves getting newsletters from a lot of authors, spanning the young adult, mystery, paranormal, romance and new adult genres. Earlier this year, something happened and I’m still not sure how it will affect the world of literature/publishing. Authors started banding together and offering three things to readers: Contests to win books, Kindles and Amazon gift cards, free ebooks and dirt cheap ebooks.
My take thus far is twofold. First, it’s a bonanza for readers and second, it’s a glorious failure for the authors. Why it’s a bonanza for readers should be obvious. Free is really good, a full length book for $.99 is good, but some authors and groups of authors have gone a step further, they’re putting together box sets of up to twenty ebooks for that same 99 cent price.
There some fairly big gotchas in this new movement, however. #1-when you sign up for most of these giveaways, you’re agreeing to be put on multiple author newsletters (sometimes in excess of thirty) and some of them pump out at least a couple per week. Granted, you usually get a free ebook out of the deal, but one can only read so many books, even when retired. Most expect you to post a review which is fair, but when you get hit with twenty new books a week and you already have a TBR stash, it’s not easy staying abreast of the bounty.
Another red flag I’m seeing more frequently as I read these newsletters is how casually authors talk about churning out multiple books in a year (sometimes in a month). That can’t equate to quality and seems like another monster in this literary cavern. Some of the books being offered or sold at bargain prices are horrible and, coupled with the glut, makes it easy for readers to throw up their mental hands and go back to the way they used to select books.
It’s also difficult keeping track of who wrote what when you’re hit with so many newsletters. I will say I’m thrilled to discover the Kindle app for my PC because I prefer reading an ebook on a big screen. I’m also really happy with many of the books I got free or bought for $.99.
However, pricing books so low creates a risk that buyers will have reservations when other books are going for more. I’m not just talking about best sellers priced a few bucks below the print edition, I’m talking about hesitating when faced with buying a 99 cent book versus one that costs $3.99. Pricing an ebook within three bucks of the print edition backfires for me. Here’s why. When I buy a hardcover YA title, I read, review and then donate it to another library or swap it online. In other words, I have something to show for my money beyond reading it. Maybe that can be done with an ebook, too, but I’m either too old, lazy or curmudgeonly to bother to figure that out.
These observations may not relate to most of my fellow authors here, but I needed to share them. I’m interested in your thoughts.