Marsha Canham's Blog

October 3, 2014

Let the whining begin.

Filed under: Uncategorized — marshacanham @ 4:14 pm

I know it’s been a while since I’ve contributed any pithy blogs, but a lot has happened this year to put me in take-time-off mood.

First and foremost was getting a total knee replacement. I’d been putting it off for a couple of years, but when the doc gave me that beady-eyed, silent glare, I knew my time was up. To all the people out there who say: Oh, I had it done, nothing to it…I say: BITE ME. Or better yet, let ME bite YOU.  It. Hurt. Like. Hell.  It also brought back very unfond memories of when I did the original damage to the knee and had to have surgery to get bone chips removed. Back then, it was a full cast, ankle to hip, for six weeks with stern warnings to rest and stay off it as much as possible. These days they heave you out of the bed within hours and expect you to hobble through the mind-blowing pain down a mile long hallway to the torture chamber (therapy room) where a big-breasted Valkyrie awaits. She takes no prisoners. Not even if they scream or faint. Not even if they stubbornly refuse to get out of the wheelchair and threaten her with an IV needle. THAT horror lasted four days instead of the two I was promised, and even then I told them if they didn’t get the paperwork in order I was leaving without any farking release forms.

At home, I expected to find rest and peace . Ever get put on a hospital ‘air’ bed? Its supposed to prevent bedsores and cramping but every time you move an eyelash it hisses while the air cushions adjust. And for someone like me who can hear a watch ticking three rooms away, it was HELL. And I haven’t even mentioned the food. AUGH! Over four days I had two little yogurts and a spoonful of peas. That was all that was edible. Thank goodness my son brought me sustenance from Tim Hortons.

Where was I? Oh yes, my angelic son. Faugh! All he had to hear was that recovery was quicker if the patient exceeds the required exercises each day and BLAM, he turned into a Nazi general. Tears didn’t affect him. Curses didn’t affect him. Threats didn’t affect him. Two and three times a day he loomed over me like Godzilla until I did the required repetitions the therapist ordered. And when HE wasn’t available, my loving granddaughter took his place, whip in hand. I swear neither of them knew how to count either. I hit ten and they were insisting it was only eight. Hmphf. New math.

HOWEVER. Despite the whining and whinging, I did end up thanking them for pushing me so hard. I exceeded the required measurements for bending the knee that the therapist wanted me to achieve week to week, and after six weeks, she signed off completely and gave me a gold star. As of today, I’m walking normally, no limp, and most of the swelling is gone. The scar is hideous and I set off alarm bells at the airport, but it’s relatively pain-free. Would I get the other knee done? Not unless they send a search party into the deep jungles of Bali and catch me in a big cargo net.

Another reason for blog-silence is because I have nothing much to add about the Amazon-Hatchette dispute. I shouldn’t say nothing much to add, just nothing much that is civil. For those who don’t know much about the dispute or don’t even know that one is going on, in a nutshell, one of the larger publishers, Hatchette, is pissed off at Amazon because Amazon wants them to lower the prices on their digital books. Lower prices=more sales. More sales=more readers=expanding fan base. Lower prices=happy readers. Happy readers=more sales. So what’s the problem? Double damned if I know. The publishing world just went through an enormous price-fixing court case wherein the Big Five were charged (and found guilty) of colluding to keep digital prices high. Afterward there was a flurry of discounted prices at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and other fine distributors. The only hold out was Hatchette, who decided to keep their digital prices high…higher in some cases than the print version of the same book. Yeah, that makes sense. So Amazon, well within its rights as a distributor, has refused to deal with Hatchette, and for some reason known only to the pea-brain “bestselling NYTimes” authors who already have millions socked away in the bank, petitions have gone flying around decrying the horrible big bad meanie Amazon for punishing the poor innocent authors by standing firm against the publisher. These pea-brained authors even spent over a hundred thousand dollars on a full page ad in the NY Times whining and whinging over big bad meanie Amazon.

Really? Yes, Really. Whining over big bad meanie Amazon where most of their sales over the past few years have taken place, print and digital. Whining over a company who has helped more authors…like me…get a second chance at their careers by letting them self-publish. Whining over a company who treats their authors like a valuable commodity and pays them accordingly each month, not dribbling out crumbs cloaked in clauses like “reserves against returns” twice a year.

Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe I should be thinking:  Higher prices=fewer sales=but happy publisher.

AND speaking of higher prices…as I predicted months ago, possibly even years ago…the utterly stupid trend of bundling ten full size novels into one volume and flogging it for .99 has finally come around to bite the authors in the ass. I have nothing against discounting books for my readers. I’ve done it many times and have even kept a free book out there (Across a Moonlit Sea), long after I intended to leave it free hoping to interest new readers enough to check out the other two books in the series. And it has helped to keep my sales numbers from slipping into an abyss. September is a notoriously slumpy month for sales across the board for everyone, but I’m not the only one convinced that part of the fault this year lies in the bundling fever.  As I mentioned recently to a yahoo group I belong to: I’ve been against the ten-books-for-99-cent bandwagon since it started rolling. The first few that came out were novel (no pun intended) and probably made out like bandits, so of course everyone under the sun scrambled to put bundles together to catch hold of the new money wagon. In the past six months alone, I was approached FIVE times, four of them by authors I’d never heard of before, but they were all salivating to get cheapie bundles out there.

I’m thinking that not only is the bundling losing effect, but it’s actually starting to cause damage on the home front. There are so many bundles out there now that readers *expect* them! Even worse, they *expect* to only pay .99 for ten full size novels. Hell, why would a reader pay $4.99 or $3.99 or even $2.99 when they can pick up ten for .99? It’s killing us. We’re getting undercut every day and not by publishers this time, but by our own peers and I’m not sure this wound is going to heal any time too soon.
It’s a great bargain for the readers, no denying that. And the excuse I hear from new authors eager to toss in their novel with a “big name draw” in order to get noticed…well, I’m still waiting to hear how that worked out for them. Ten books for .99 at a 33% royalty rate equals approximately .03 per sale. So to earn $2.79, which is the royalty earned on a single sale for a book priced at $3.99, the bundle would have to sell 93 copies. A generous sale of 10,000 copies would generate $300.00 for each author in the bundle. Not bad unless you figure that 10,000 copies at $3.99 would earn out $27,900. Yeah, I’d sign up for that deal LOL. It might take longer to sell those 10,000 copies, it might take that new author–or even an old dinosaur like myself– a few years of writing more books and doing more promotion to achieve those numbers. But at least they wouldn’t be lost in a bundle. Reality check, people? Readers who buy bundles featuring a “big name” author will often only read that one author because it’s a deal to get their book at that price. The other nine? They more often than not go into the cyberspace filing cabinet.
Aren’t you glad I decided to blog again today?



    Comment by MICHAEL — October 3, 2014 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

  2. I always enjoy your blogs!

    Comment by Southern Belle — October 3, 2014 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  3. I am too! Thank you for that education about the conflict. I’d heard about it but only the “big bully Amazon” part. I am an avid reader but my eyesight is failing so my e-reader is my savior. I can no longer read at night without it as I need the backlight (even with my glasses). You are in my top 5 all-time favourite romance writers and I couldn’t be more thankful that I found this blog. Otherwise I would not have found your e-books. Although I read them all in print as they came out (and still have them) I really missed your style of writing and was only able to enjoy the books a second–and sometimes third!–time when I found out they were on e-books. Certainly my local bookstores weren’t carrying them anymore–although maybe you’re resurgence will fix that.

    And on that note…how is Far Horizon coming along?! 🙂

    Comment by Cheryl — January 3, 2015 @ 4:05 am | Reply

    • Slowly. LOL. But I do thank you for your wonderful comments.

      Comment by marshacanham — January 3, 2015 @ 2:09 pm | Reply

  4. What happened to your website? It’s not coming up anymore.

    Comment by Cheryl — January 3, 2015 @ 4:07 am | Reply

    • I wasn’t aware it had disappeared, so thank you for telling me. I have contacted the web host, so hopefully it is just a glitch and will be back soon!

      Comment by marshacanham — January 3, 2015 @ 2:07 pm | Reply

  5. Ahhh…your blog is nearly as interesting your lovely romance novels. I’m a latecomer to the Scotland Trilogy – my, oh me… absolutely loved those books. Feel like crying even though I’ve read quite a lot about Culloden. You’ve probably been nudged in this direction before – if so – here’s another nudge. Have you or would you ever consider writing a book about how Alexander and Catherine’s lives turned out after “The Blood of Roses.” I thought “Midnight Honor” would do it, and although I’m preparing to read it, I understand it’s basically set during the same period as “The Blood of Roses,” just focuses on Anne Moy and John MacGillivray. I’m still looking forward to reading it. Just wondered if our sexy Alexander and lovely Catherine wind up in America, on the Continent or stick in Scotland. Wishful dreaming…

    Comment by Judy Tabor McCollough — March 6, 2015 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

  6. So I can understand your viewpoint on the .99 bundle, especially with authors not making much off it. However, I personally have brought a few of these myself and currently have been reading the same one for months. The one I’m reading now is called hidden worlds. Each author has put in a book that is the first in a series which is why it’s taken me so long to read it. I will read one installment and find I have to finish out the series and some other works by the same author. Then when I finally do I go back to hidden worlds and read another installment and the process repeats. So my .99 has actually been quite expensive because the next book in the series is usually 2.99 and when that finishes I have to have the next one. All that being said, I totally understand what you are saying and actually read across a moonlit sea for free some time ago and had to read everything you wrote after that. I can’t wait for the next thing you write.

    Comment by Heather — March 9, 2015 @ 2:28 am | Reply

  7. No word from you since March? Please tell me you are well, and writing. To lose you now when I have just found you would have me drown myself in my tea.

    I have had a dreadful year, and have been finding my comfort in binge watching Austen and binge reading as many novels as I could download.

    I came across that very same book which you have left out on the digital shelves of Amazon, and was floored. It has been almost half a decade since I have enjoyed a swashbuckling romance as much as yours

    I found myself laughing out loud, or breathlessly turning pages through – of all things – a written account of a battle at sea, and fell thoroughly in love with all the cast. I read passages aloud to my bemused partner, and above all else felt the sun break through the clouds for the first time in a long while. For that you have my deepest gratitude (and certainly as much of my wallet as I can manage – I mean to read all your books!).

    Comment by Christel — May 28, 2015 @ 9:39 pm | Reply

    • Thank you for your comments and wow, I hadn’t realized myself that it’s been since March. I guess I just don’t have a lot to say (I can hear all my friends gasping and falling over in a dead faint). But seriously, so many people blog, and so many cover all the same subjects that I would cover, I felt as if my little blog mostly got lost out there in the cyber ether. But to answer your question, I am still writing, you haven’t lost me yet *g* I’m just too old, too crusty, too busy enjoying the fact that I still wake up on the right side of the grass, to lock myself away in my office 24/7…I spent 25 years locked away for weeks, months on end and missed a lot of time with my son growing up. More recently I’ve gone through a horrible divorce and a few surgeries and I’ve come to appreciate having time for *me* without deadlines or pressure. So now I drop everything to go watch my grandson play baseball, or my granddaughter play soccer, or spend the day shopping or playing cards with friends. I still appreciate all my loyal readers who have stayed with me through all the ups and downs, and hopefully they, in turn, can appreciate the fact that I have never been one to just sit and put words on a page to fill a daily quota. I write from the heart and when the muse whacks me upside the head, and sometimes that just takes a little longer. *g*

      Comment by marshacanham — May 30, 2015 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

      • Well said, Marsha. We will wait patiently for the next one!

        Comment by Cheryl Scremin — May 30, 2015 @ 3:43 pm

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