Robin and Ruby turns one today. It was exactly a year ago that my third novel was published in hardcover. What a great year it's been. I made a book trailer, did readings in SF, LA, NYC, Philadelphia, Boston and Berkeley, was interviewed by some smart people, and even got nominated for one website's gay fiction award.
As of this week Robin and Ruby has been reborn as a paperback, with a new cover photograph, a book group guide and some great blurbs to help convince folks to buy it. I hope they do. Book sales are the least of the reasons that motivate my writing, but without moving a few units, what I do becomes unsustainable.
You'd have to have your head in the sand not to know that the publishing industry is going through all kinds of changes, not least of which are shrinking hardcover fiction sales and the increase in E-books to 25% of publishers' overall sales. Though I'm a read-on-paper guy when it comes to my own habits, I don't much care how someone finds my stories, just that they do.
But the big bummer of E-publishing is piracy. Just as music artists suffered ten years ago when everyone started passing around files for free, so too are authors seeing their incomes shrink as pirated versions of their books become disseminated. It's been plenty hard to make any kind of living off writing fiction; things aren't getting easier. I can't tell you how many times I've stumbled upon a website offering a free (i.e. illegal) download of Robin and Ruby, usually for the iPad. (My publisher stays on top of that, in a cease-and-desist way, but it's nearly impossible to stop. They call it "viral" for a reason.)
If you haven't bought a copy of Robin and Ruby yet, this would be a good week to do it, to give the book a little sales bump. And if you have: THANK YOU. The reason I do what I do is because of you—the chance to communicate with a readership hungry for stories.
If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'll be reading at the following events next month. Come by and say hello.
Mon. April 18. 7-9pm. Lost in the Woods: Five Writers off the Beaten Path. At Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby @ MLK, Berkeley. Theater is located across the street from the Ashby BART.
Fri. April 22.7pm. Peninsula Literary Series. 7pm at Gallery House, 320 South California Ave., Palo Alto.