Thursday, November 24, 2011

Please Pay The Editor

While Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is floating through New York City, my friends on twitter are cheering each other and me with eggnog and pumpkin pie, while the first Christmas trees are being set up and everyone is in a festive mood, I just received a couple of tweets saying this:

Would like to read your book. 17$? Will they be lowering the price anytime soon so we mortals can afford it?

And, I have to admit, I snapped.
Let’s see.
You’re willing to spend money on a TV, on a computer, on a skateboard or a car. You’re even willing to spend money to go to the movies or a concert! You don’t mind spending a minor fortune on an iPad or iPod to listen to your music, watch videos online, read a downloaded book. ALL these things are recreational, and I could extend this list forever and ever, but you know where I’m going with this, right?
Here’s the thing:
You DO mind spending money on that book itself. (I’m not going into the video or music thing; enough said about that.)
A book is a product. It’s not something that poured itself into the internet out of thin air. Someone spent a lot of time writing it. A LOT of time. Maybe like a year or so. Many, many hours of work, of developing and producing this object, the story.
Then that same somebody spent another, very long time on rewriting, editing and polishing it, slapping it into a presentable shape.
I’m not even talking of the many people at the publishing house involved in the production of a book, and about how many hours, weeks, months, they spend on it before it is ripe for publication.
Ok, let me ask you again. 
Why are you prepared to spend money on the kindle or iPad, but NOT on the book you want to download and read?
Because, you know, authors and publishers, editors, proofreaders, sales managers, agents, graphic designers and I’m sure a lot more I haven’t thought of, they really like to eat too. And they really like to be able to pay their bills.
I don’t think the people at Apple would give you an iPad for free. Or the people who build the Kindle. They want to sell their stuff.
I want to sell mine too. So does my publisher.
So please, treat a book, no matter which format, with the same respect you would treat a Kindle. You wouldn’t need a Kindle if you didn’t have a book. Right?