Mystery Readers Only

Between the Covers

By Thonie Hevron

Who has the nerve to charge $30.00 for a mass market novel?

Plenty of best-selling, award-winning authors, that’s who.

Why the heck should I spend thirty of my hard-earned bucks on a book?

Because there is so much more between the covers than mere pages. How long did it take the author dream up the plot? Outline? Characters? Setting? Dialog? All this takes research. Romantic Bronte hero Edward Rochester doesn’t dress or talk like Phillip Marlowe. The setting must be realistic with sights, sounds and smells of real terra firma (unless it’s the ocean). Even visiting a local requires research into soil types, geography, demographics, weather and so on. If I told you how long it took to cull this information to distill into one scene, you’d grab your wallet and willingly hand over the cash.

That’s just preliminaries. After all the above is set in your head (or hard drive somewhere), a writer must do what a writer must do—write! Getting words down on a page may sound simple but fighting the temptation to edit as you go along, warring with distractions and generally motivating your bad self into the chair, take a lot of work. It’s not unusual for prolific authors to write 1,000 words a day. For an 80,000- word mystery, that’s a lot of days.

Typing “The End” isn’t the end for the author. There are edits. I’ve gone through rounds of seven with editors before it’s proclaimed “readable.”

You might think that’s really the end but it’s not. Whether your author is traditionally, small press or indie published, he/she bears the burden of most PR. Sure, the big houses will set up author events at book stores, but it’s up to the author to have bookmarks, swag, a captivating topic on which to speak and generate much of his/her own audience.

Social media platforms would’ve begun the moment the contract was signed. Again, the burden is on the author. There might be some technical help in the form of a custom website but Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, et al, is done on the author’s time.

All this for one book? Well, the goal here is to produce many books. A website will be helpful for marketing, especially if it’s already set up. Social media will have generated interest and sales but to keep momentum the author must be active on the platforms.

All this is work. It’s labor of love, granted, but I know of few (introverted, the lot of us!) authors who like getting in front of an audience and talking about themselves. We authors know to acquaint readers with our work (that’s the whole point) we must stretch out of our comfort zones—or not ever put our words in front of readers.

Whew! All this takes a lot of energy. Authors don’t get paid by the hour and couldn’t begin to figure billing. So, we put a price tag on our darlings and hope others find them as captivating as we did.