Important Information Regarding the ’90s Coming of Age series (Pictures of You & You Are Not Me)

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For a long time now, I’ve been trying to figure out how I wanted to make this post and what I wanted to say and disclose. And for an equally long time I’ve put it off. Mainly because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone and I kept hoping for some kind of change that would make it unnecessary. But, truly, it’s been necessary from the get-go because that’s how publishing works.

When I made my initial projections regarding the release dates for We Can Be Good (Bk 3) and We Make It Real (Bk 4), I operated on a central assumption based in prior experience: that the first two books would pay for themselves. See, as long as I’ve been self-publishing I’ve never had a book not pay for the cost of creating it. I’ve had books earn more or less profit, but I’ve never failed to cover my expenses. So, when I set aside the money to publish the four book series, I went with $5,000, thinking that would be more than enough. I was wrong.

See, it’s a rule for me that each book carry itself. It becomes dangerous to my business for me to allow for a situation where Peter pays for Paul. At least during this stage of my career. Maybe when I have many more books out and a steady back catalog income coming in I could take that risk. But at this juncture, I just can’t. It would only take a few books that didn’t sell with a profit for me to have no capital to work with at all.

So, back to Pictures of You & You Are Not Me. They’ve been so well received by readers who took the leap and reviewers that it may come as a surprise for many to hear that they have barely covered even half of their expenses. I put $3,600 into those books (editing, covers, formatting, marketing) and as of the other morning they had earned $1,900. Not each, but both of them together.

Perhaps it’s crass to be giving you guys actual numbers, but I want you to understand that this isn’t a case of the books not earning enough to satisfy me. I never thought they’d make that much of a profit because they are a little out of the box. But rather these books just aren’t carrying their weight financially. This at a time when my day job is precarious and my book sales are down by 1/3 across the board last year.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Well, it doesn’t mean that you won’t get the rest of the ’90s Coming of Age story. I am DEFINITELY writing the next two books. What it does mean is that I need to bend my rules and allow for Peter to pay for Paul. But I need to do that on future books, not past ones. The plan has to change because the outcome didn’t work out the way I’d initially assumed it would. (Humbling? You bet!) I simply don’t have the leeway financially right now to take another $3,600 hit with the hopes it will pay off eventually. (And I do believe these books will pay off eventually! It may take time, but as a back catalog piece, they are going to be a good asset, in my opinion.)

It means that I have to publish at least one, if not two, books that make a decent profit so I can save up that $3,600 with the idea that it won’t be coming back to me quickly. I don’t know that my next releases will provide that profit. I have no idea, frankly, what will sell and what won’t. It’s always a bit of a mystery.

But here are a few things I do know:

  1. I love this series. I’ve been working on it off and on for fourteen years and I won’t let it go until it’s finished.
  2. I will not take fourteen years to finish the back half of it! LOL!
  3. I WILL put We Can Be Good out in 2017 for sure. If I can, I’ll also do We Make It Real, but I can’t know if it will be 2017 or 2018 at this point.

I want to apologize to everyone who is eagerly awaiting Peter’s next adventure. I am sad to know that I’m disappointing you and a little embarrassed to know that there is no way out of it. At this point, even if some crazy generous weirdo (LOL) were to fund the cost of the edits, etc, I’m so far down the path of trying to get this next unrelated release out that I’d need to do that first.

Again, I’m so sorry to let everyone down. I’m not giving up, though. I’m still enthusiastic af for the books and for Peter and for his story! I’m still invested 100% and that’s part of the reason I’m slowing the timing of releases down, too. Obviously, I could forgo editing, etc, to lower costs. But I can’t ask you guys to accept lower quality books for the last two. I’ve waited this long to put his story out, and I’m not going to send sub-par follow-ups into the world.

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I hesitate to call ’90s Coming of Age series a failure, but this Winston Churchill quote does sum up how I feel about the future of the books. I refuse to lose enthusiasm for the books and I refuse to quit on them.

In the meantime, I’m serving up some hot, slow-burn omegaverse for my next release (hopefully in late Feb or early March). I hope you’ll join me for that wild ride! Sending love to all my readers out in the world! Every last one of you makes the difficulties worth it! Every review, every bit of feedback, every email and FB like and Twitter reply.

You make it real, you make it fun, and you make it worthwhile. ❤

ETA: At the urging of a reader, I’ve updated my Patreon site with some goals regarding audiobooks and getting these next two books released. You can become a patron (and access some extras!) by clicking here:

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Day Job Is Tenuous But the Future Can Be Bright – What’s Happening, Leta?

I have a (wonderful, flexible) day job because I don’t make nearly enough money as a writer to pay my family’s bills. My employer has been sick for 2+ years now and his income has been cut drastically. Obviously, this affects me. It’s a very small business with just me and one other employee. The last time I talked with my employer about my job he said, “I will continue to pay you as long as I can. But I have no idea how long that will be. You need to get ready for that eventuality.”

My current day job allows for a lot of flexibility in my time which has let me write as many books as I have. Since 2013, I’ve put out what amounts to seventeen books. Guys, that’s a lot of books. And I’m nowhere near to earning enough that I don’t need the money from my day job. In fact, book sales were down by 1/3 this year over last and I’m not sure how to reverse that trend. That is, frankly, almost beside the point, though. Book sales go up and down, and there’s nothing I can do about that. All I can control is the making of books and what I spend my time on.

In the face of possibly losing my day job soon, I am determined to be proactive and get ahead of the situation before there is a crisis. I believe in my writing and my readers. I’m not a lazy person. I put a lot of time and effort into my work. I think the number of book releases I’ve had while carrying on a day job and being a good mom shows that. I work hard and harder and more and longer and yet without my day job my family would be in a crisis situation very quickly.

Which brings me to Patreon.

This video explains it better than I ever could. Please take a moment to watch.

“Patreon is for creators who love their communities and the communities who love those creators back.”

I love that line.

Don’t get me wrong! You can love me and my books a whole lot without being part of Patreon and I totally feel that love. More than feel it, I appreciate you deeply and thank you from the bottom of my heart for that love, devotion, and your readership. I get that not all readers can afford to give even a little bit more and I want you to know that I will continue to put out high quality books for you! Patreon won’t affect that at all.

Also, I want to be clear, EVERY SINGLE NEW COMPLETED STORY OR BOOK I WRITE THAT STARTS ON PATREON WILL EVENTUALLY GO OUT INTO THE WORLD FOR ANY READER TO ENJOY. The only difference would be that Patreon subscribers will have early access. I am not offering exclusive content in that way. For example, if I wrote a short story tied into the Wake Up Married universe and put it on Patreon first, I would eventually release it on Amazon, B&N, etc, or put it up free on my blog. Every reader will have access to every new story.

But I also know there are some readers out there who are passionate about some of the books I’ve written, who feel like those characters are friends or family, and who want to be part of seeing new books be built from the ground floor up, and who want and are able to help me do that for a living instead of looking for another day job.

So you’ve figured out that readers would make a monthly pledge to my Patreon account in exchange for more access to what I do. But what’s in Patreon for you as a reader exactly?

I have long known that some readers what more information and access than other readers. Many are happy to pay for a finished book, read it, and be done, but others want more information. What happened to the characters next? What other books do I have coming out? What does it look like behind the scenes of being an author? Not to mention, I’ve always had a lot more to say about my creative process and my books than I’ve taken the time to write up. Mainly because I haven’t thought that was a very good use of my time when I have bills to pay and a sick boss.

But Patreon offers a chance to change that for us! Readers who want more can get more and writers who want to share more can do that without fearing that it’s time taken away from something that will help pay the bills. Throughout time artists and writers have depended on the fans of their work to help support them. Today is no different. Patron acknowledges that and I can’t say how much I appreciate this opportunity the creators of the platform have given us.

Again, readers who don’t want to participate or can’t, I promise that you will still get quality books! Have no fear! I appreciate you and everything you are. Thank you for being readers and fans of my work! Patron or not!

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you’re curious about what I’m doing on my Patreon account, click below and have a look! (Even though it says “Become a patron”, you don’t have to do that just to have a look!) On Friday, I’ll begin posting chapters of my current WIP for all pledges at $5 and up! I’m excited to see how that process goes.

Thank you for reading this and considering contributing!

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