Perchance to Patreon

There’s been a lot of controversy the last week in the m/m world concerning authors who have Patreons set up. Patreon is basically a service artists (from all walks of life, like photographers, musicians, painters, filmmakers, models, you name it) can employ for fans who wish to support them in ways beyond buying their end product.

Patrons have been around for thousands of years. Shakespeare had patrons, and considering some of the salacious rumors surrounding just how much of himself he shared with his patrons, it’s possible he took it to levels well beyond what the modern patron does through the Patreon website. The artists of the Renaissance had patrons, and how many of you have seen the Starz network TV show Spartacus? Ilithyia, Glaber’s wife, became a patron of the House of Batiatus, promising enough money to completely cover the expense of training and caring for one of the gladiators. While parts of that show are not historically accurate, this detail is, and Spartacus lived a hundred years before Christ’s birth.

So patronage is not a new thing, though it has morphed into something the modern artist can take advantage of digitally, and in ways people from all walks of life—not just the rich—can take advantage of.

Being writers, we don’t get a fixed income. I know 60 days in advance what I’m going to get from Amazon. Payments from Draft 2 Digital—my distributor through Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Inktera—are monthly, so we know what we’re getting there as it hits our accounts. ARe were great at telling us what to expect each quarter, until they decided to keep it all instead. And my French publisher is still in the process of translating Power Exchange.

There is little margin for error in living like this. The most I get is 2 months’ notice that what I’m bringing in isn’t going to pay the bills—less than that if I switched to KU for my income, because Amazon only decides what they’re paying those authors two weeks after the month-end. Two months is nothing if you need to scramble to find a job, start working, and earn your first paycheck before then.

“So, if you can’t cover your bills through writing, get a job that does cover them,” some people might say.

I released 2 books in 2016. That’s the same output I had when I was working full time as a corporate drone, not the doubled quantity I’d hoped for when I was laid off and in a position to really have a go at the writing gig. Why?

Because I have gotten another job. 2 of them, in fact. I’ve picked up transcription work and have also become a virtual assistant for a multitude of clients… a lot of whom are like me, artists who are trying to free up their time from the doldrums of business running so they’ll have more time for their creations. I’ve also watched my wife, who only released one book at the beginning of 2016, become completely inundated with virtual assistant work to the detriment of her writing career. Kate has a post about her side of this as well, and you can read it here.

We are killing ourselves to make ends meet, and not because we’ve mismanaged funds, or because we’ve sat on our asses eating ice cream in front of the TV all day. Kate spent thousands to move here and a few months later, she had to have emergency surgery, adding thousands in debt to our situation because in this country, healthcare even for non-chronic issues can be enough to bankrupt a person. Amazon keeps changing the algorithms on how they feature books that are selling in order to support their Kindle Unlimited model, which is a royalty vampire for all but the biggest of names involved in it. Those algorithms are what put our books in front of new readers when people are browsing for what to read next. A writer friend of mine said the other day, “Is it any wonder only 15 of the top 100 books on Amazon’s rankings are not KU products?” All Romance eBooks decided to make off with our (and a bunch of others’) royalties for the last quarter of 2016. For Kate, Scribd changed their model in an attempt to compete with KU, and also nixed most romance books out of their inventory (which is why now only 2 of my titles are in it anymore) and that cut our royalties from them down by hundreds.

More $ going out + less $ coming in = unsustainable bill paying + AJ & Kate getting side jobs that have quickly become full time jobs because the paycheck is monthly as opposed to every 60 days for Amazon and descending amounts at varying points in time from the smaller vendors.

So while this might seem to some to be coincidental timing given the latest brouhaha, Kate and I have set up a Patreon after months of waffling back and forth on it. We waffled in part because we’ve seen grumblings like what has become a swell of voices this week decrying the practice, and in part because we keep trying to cover ourselves with “one more client” on both our VA client rosters. And I’ll be honest, there’s a little fear on my part that we’ll do this and the response will be chirping crickets.

We’ve decided to go into this jointly, because it’s all for the same household, and together, we think we can give patrons double the bang for the support—with new writing each month from the both of us, ebooks, signed paperbacks, and swag (plus we might come up with other ways to offer our talents and gratitude to patrons as we get better at this) depending on the tier patrons subscribe to.

For those who think this method of interaction between reader and author is nothing but bribery for content that “should be done out of love” or a demand for more from readers who already buy our works, I totally respect your decision to stick to supporting your chosen authors by buying their distributed works as you see fit. For those who think you’d be interested in helping support Kate and I in exchange for more content in the form of short stories, scene flashes from future works and WIPs, and perks above and beyond the traditional exchange of money for a formatted and edited ebook, check out the link to our Patreon and see if it’s something you might consider supporting.

On another note, as a result of the ARe closure, I realized my readers who prefer the PDF version of my books have no venue from which to purchase them. I’ve taken immediate steps to correct this, joining the Sea to Sky Books family in the hopes of providing readers with another choice in book buying options. My Books page has been updated with the new links to each title. I hope those who once used ARe as a source for buying books will consider this new option, run by Tina Haveman who is the owner/operator of eXtasy Books publishing. I’ve had extensive conversations with Tina and feel this could be the beginning of a good working relationship for both me and my readers alike. Happy reading!

 

Intermission

So it’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and I imagine a lot of people are still in family mode. The kids are breaking in their new shoes or figuring out their new electronics or draining the batteries on the new toys at record rates. The parents are probably looking around their houses and wondering how it takes so long to clean and only seconds to destroy again. Grandparents are likely watching their whole broods with pride in their eyes and reveling in spoiling those they love.

Me, I’m kind of in planning mode for the food we make on New Year’s Eve. Since I was a little kid, New Years meant a table full of finger foods and movies, and then we’d drag ourselves sleepily off the couch, pat ourselves on the back for (barely) making it to midnight, have a glass of fizzy non-alcoholic grape juice, and take ourselves off to bed.

As I got older, the food was the one thing that stuck. We never went bar hopping (the door covers were outrageous, as were the crowds) so a friend would sacrifice their house and we’d fill it with people, booze, and food. Some years there was drunken snow sledding at 1 am, some years there was dancing in the living room, and some years, New Years Day was warm enough for a pickup basketball game in the driveway once we weren’t too hungover to move.

These days, it’s much tamer. There’s still no way I could brave crowds in a public place New Year’s, and it’s Kate’s birthday, so I try to make it more about her than about rolling over another year (although this year, I may go streaking through the neighborhood and whooping for joy at seeing the ass end of 2016, because Jesus it’s been a shit year). So our New Year’s Eve will consist of more finger foods than we can possibly eat, a rendition of Happy Birthday, some gifts, and at midnight, champagne for the adults and sparkling grape juice for the kids before we ship them off to bed and hope the next year beats the pants off this one in terms of good stuff. Lord we all need a good year.

I wish everyone a happy and safe New Year’s Eve and all the blessings to come in the new year. If you’re the resolution type, I wish you the fortitude to succeed.

My resolution: get more books out. Two in a year is pathetic. I want to double that.


Many of you already know, but voting is going on for the M/M Romance Group Goodreads Member’s Choice Awards. Click this link to vote, if you’re a member of the group.

A huge thank you to those who nominated me for the following 5 categories!

Best Hurt/Comfort: Defenseless
Best Paranormal: Reaping Fate
Best Established Couple: Mitch and Nate (Reaping Havoc series)
All Time Favorite Romance: Reaping Fate
All Time Favorite Author

gr-award-badges_2016_nominee_400

Get voting! Polls close December 31.

Restraint (Power Exchange Book 4) or How This Disastrous Election Won’t Stop Me

I think I’m done reeling from the election results. I might have my balance back. Now, I’m rolling up my sleeves and ready to fight. I’m ready to take on those who want to see immigrants and Muslims and People of Color and LGBTQ people shuffled out of their country, into dark corners, or into some other kind of oblivion. President Trump is the dying gasp of a white patriarchy who can’t handle otherness, and while it may feel like a hurricane force wind right now, I’ve got lungs, too, and I plan to scream back. I will be like Lieutenant Dan, on the mast of a small ship riding stormy waves, screaming into the wind and the rain, “Is that all you got! Come on! Bring it!”

I will not go quietly into the closet/dark corners/oblivion like apparently half the voters in this country would like me and other marginalized groups to do. Nope. This is MY country, too and I absolutely refuse to be a doormat because these people have deemed my differences are not differences they can tolerate.

So much for America the melting pot.

I’ve been kicking around an idea for a 4th Power Exchange (this series has taught me to never say never. It keeps coming back so much I might as well make that the tagline). Ben of all people has been whispering to me, saying, “Hey, I have a story, too. Maybe I’m ready to let you tell it.” It has some legs, so I’ve tinkered out a plot and in the last couple weeks have gotten the first scene down amid a wedding, some serious personal strife that knocked me over like Hulk punching Thor, and this ugly, UGLY election. I cannot promise when Restraint will be released other than to say 2017. But it’s my foremost project, and is the one getting my attention. It may not go as fast as Consent did (4 months to write) or it may. The point is that I’m writing it and in the wake of heartbreaking, devastating news, I wanted to share with my people that maybe we still have things to look forward to. I know I still have a voice, and I plan to use it. I’m going to be getting louder. This is my way of saying I will not sit down, I will not shut up, and in fact, I will write about the love of people like me until I take my literal dying gasp. I will never quit.

So, as a promise to you all, I give you the first scene from Restraint, Power Exchange Book 4. I hope you like it and are excited Ben and Gavin have more to say. Click through to read on.

Continue reading

DEFENSELESS Release Day Contest

Defenseless by AJ Rose, Published by The Grim Writer Press, Releasing September 13, 2016
Amazon$3.99 pre-order price, $5.99 regular price. mobi format
Barnes & Noble
$5.99 epub
iTunes: $5.99 epub
All Romance Ebooks$5.99 mobi, epub, pdf
Page Foundry
: $5.99 epub
(Links made live as they become available.)

Length: approx. 145,000 words, 438 pgs
Genre: m/m, bisexual romance, legal drama, contemporary

From Rainbow Award-winning author AJ Rose, Defenseless is a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping story of love through adversity.
——

Kyle Decker knew dating Jesse McGovern would change his life. Young and in love, and with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, the world is theirs to conquer.

But their victorious Pride celebration ends in a savage attack, brutally demonstrating they’re far from equal. Instead of wedding planning, Jesse and Kyle face an arduous recovery and a shattered sense of their place in the world, their once-promising future suddenly something to survive.

While Jesse struggles with a permanent injury and its emotional aftermath, Kyle’s single-minded focus on Jesse’s recovery is the only thing keeping his demons at bay…for now. What was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love is now full of lies and resentment.

With their dreams tattered and forever changed, trusting anyone—even each other—is daunting. So how can they have faith in twelve strangers on a jury? They’ve already learned the hard way it only takes a moment to become truly defenseless.

Official Book Trailer:

I will give away an ecopy of the book to two lucky commenters on this post, but you have to answer this question: Where were you when you heard the SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality, and what went through your head?

Contest ends 8 pm Central Time, tomorrow, September 14th.

DEFENSELESS Available for Pre-Order!

 

For a limited amount of time, get a special pre-order price of Defenseless, only $3.99 (regular price $5.99). Available now at Amazon! Get it now while you can!

Title: Defenseless
Author: AJ Rose
Length: approx. 145,000 words, 438 pgs
Genre: m/m, bisexual romance, legal drama, contemporary
Publication Date: September 13, 2016

About Defenseless:
From Rainbow Award-winning author AJ Rose, Defenseless is a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping story of love through adversity.
——

Kyle Decker knew dating Jesse McGovern would change his life. Young and in love, and with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, the world is theirs to conquer.

But their victorious Pride celebration ends in a savage attack, brutally demonstrating they’re far from equal. Instead of wedding planning, Jesse and Kyle face an arduous recovery and a shattered sense of their place in the world, their once-promising future suddenly something to survive.

While Jesse struggles with a permanent injury and its emotional aftermath, Kyle’s single-minded focus on Jesse’s recovery is the only thing keeping his demons at bay…for now. What was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love is now full of lies and resentment.

With their dreams tattered and forever changed, trusting anyone—even each other—is daunting. So how can they have faith in twelve strangers on a jury? They’ve already learned the hard way it only takes a moment to become truly defenseless.

 

 

 

 

Defenseless Cover Reveal

I’ve been waiting for this for a while, and the day’s finally here. The cover for my new release, Defenseless, is up at Diverse Reader and you can enter to win a pre-release copy, one of three I’m giving away. The book will be released in September. Sooooooon.

Let me know what you think!

Lunchtime Poll (Again)

I have a question, if you would be so kind as to take a few seconds to answer this question about the interest level in an audiobook version of the Power Exchange Trilogy. Much obliged.