Choice & Interaction – Why We Have The Membership

There are a lot of authors who exclusively publish with Amazon… and a lot who are making good money!  We love to hear this.  It means that, despite the many diversions that people have, they’re buying books.

If writers are making their living from Amazon, why does Raythe Reign keep going with the Membership?

We know a serial site is a hard sell in many ways.  It seems like a better business sense to just release books on Amazon, especially seeing how well Cursed: Broken is doing and how well The Merman continues to sell.  

It seems logical: why don’t we just do more of the easier stuff instead of maintaining the rigorous Membership schedule, the custom website, all the art, etc…

Raythe Reign’s life-blood has always been the serial stories.  Here’s why…

Raythe can write “taboo” material.

Raythe’s love of forbidden romance is what led to the Membership in the first place.

 Amazon is wonderful for many buyers… but what if you’re looking for fiction with a particular kink or angle that they find ‘objectionable?’  You’re out of luck.  Amazon disallows certain fictional content, even in complete escapist fantasy fiction that can – in no way – be mistaken for reality.

Raythe doesn’t write kink stories or erotica, but she does not censor her own imagination, either.  If her stories take a taboo direction, she goes with it!  That’s what gives us the “Black Label” stories, such as Winter Haven Country Club, The Erl-King / The Fell / The Hunt, Valkyrie, and Birth Rite.

All of those contain either incest, bestiality, non-con, or all three.

Are they just excuses for erotic werewolf brother sex scenes?  Not at all!  They’re actual stories, just like all the stories on Raythe Reign.  But these stories are literally unable to be distributed, except through the Membership.

Accountability

Don’t you just love it when authors go years between books, saying nothing to their loyal readers?  No??  

We don’t love that either!  That’s the last thing Raythe wants to do to her readers.

The Membership gives readers the chance to get chapters ASAP instead of making you wait.  Yes, chapters can be imperfect.  And contain typos.  But you get to read the chapters the very second they’re finished and comment on them.

The Membership creates accountability, which benefits everyone involved.  Unlike fanfiction, where “real life” takes priority (darn that real life…), Raythe makes the writing a priority.  Because you’re paying your hard-earned money, she has to deliver on her promise to tell you an entertaining story and finish it.

Total Entertainment

We don’t actually see Raythe Reign as a reading site, but a fun thing to do.  The engagement with other Members, readers, and of course the Raythe Reign Team is really important to us because it provides more entertainment!

Everyone is responsive, even our “reclusive” artist Mathia.  Mathia has started to respond to comments on Date A Vampire.com (and enjoys it!)  There’s nothing like being part of a fun group.  As a band of typical high school nerds, it’s really important to the Raythe Reign Team to make that happen as much as we can.

So, that’s why we are committed to the Membership.  After almost 6 years, it continues to be fun and exciting for us.  Our hope is that it’s just as fun and exciting for our Members, too.

  • Raythe Reign Team

24 Responses to Choice & Interaction – Why We Have The Membership

  1. Sephoriya June 28, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

    All of these are great reasons and I wouldn’t have it done any other way! I also feel like the membership provides a HUGE safety net if you will. No one is going to pay for material that they want nothing to do with. So we can come to Raythe, read the stories, kinks, and romances that we love, and we don’t have to worry about getting bashed in the comments for it. Because we all pay to be there in the community, it creates a really fun, safe, and open environment for us to be ourselves! The Amazon authors might make good money, but in my opinion they’re missing out on the true riches that we get from our memberships.

    • Raythe June 28, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

      RR is a safe place. Members are respected. Though I’ve only had to intercede a handful of times (because you guys are genuinely kind to one another) to put a stop to nonsense.

      Only the smallest fraction like less than 1 percent of members comment which is totally cool. But the thing is that the site and the people make it safe to do so.

  2. Buddhaali June 28, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

    I can’t believe its been 6 years already! I know I wasn’t the first on-board the Raythe train, and in fact I was deeply uncertain whether it would be worth my time at first to become a member. I lurk on places like this to see what its all about – just *how welcoming* a community or author can be about negative commentary/ constructive criticism is a make-or-break for me. Having a body of dedicated readers that goes out of its way – and an author, of course, to discuss various different points of view on subjects, to acknowledge that there are different ways to think or feel or WRITE about things, and to – not always, but sometimes, agree with a suggested change and MAKE that change? Its down right eerie for the internet.

    It took me months to work up the nerve to comment in a questioning way, to make a suggestion. I was so scared that the response would be a flame-war between commenters or the author, an attack on my words and my person, possibly following me onto other forums or into real life. Not to mention, the content was such that I didn’t want my friends or family to see or hear about it. Not that I don’t love what I read – and this is hardly the strangest category book I read – but there is always the stigma of “oh you’re one of those perverts who likes reading about child rape or gets off on XXX kink” that would make me pause, or hide, or wait before I let my voice be heard… Yet here I am and proud of it, and for as long as its available I’ll be here. Loving every second. Even the cliffhangers.

    Hi Mathia and Raythe! Thank you for keeping a site where I can say that. How weird is it, to be so grateful for something so basic as communication, except one of the most abused internet privileges, I think.

    • Raythe June 28, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

      Your comment is so adorable.

      Unlike most authors I really DO want feedback on the site whether it’s critical or praise. I love praise! But those comments that point out problems or maybe just question choices are GOLD because then I can fix them or at least consider that if I make individual books.

      For most authors the only feedback they get is the reviews which really aren’t feedback. It’s the reader saying to other readers whether they liked it or not. And since reviews directly impact sales getting negative ones even if constructive is devastating a lot of times. The book is done and can’t be changed. So basically for the author you wish you had heard that stuff BEFORE you put the story out there.

      At RR, what you say to me is really important. It makes a huge difference and I want to hear from you. Readers make the books better.

  3. Buddhaali June 28, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    Actually I’ve got one more thing. Quick question for Raythe or the Admin – I know other authors get most of their income from book sales at places like amazon (those cowards who don’t LOVE massive oversharing communication with their readers – sniff), but is it really that much more profitable than to run the RaytheReign site to publish straight to amazon?

    I’m totally in the dark on this. I know NOTHING about how much upkeep a site like this one takes and how long it takes to update… Would you say the membership about pays for the upkeep of the site, or is it still a huge drain on resources?

    • Raythe June 28, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

      I don’t really go into financials of the site with anyone other than staff and my accountant! But I will say that I would NOT recommend anyone starting a site like Raythe Reign due to the cost of running it.

      If anyone has dealt with our tech guru Jeremy you know he’s worth his weight in gold.

      Though you see Kat post here like today the posts are a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of what she actually does for the site.

      If you love the manga just know I pay an excellent per page rate for that.

      If you love the illustrations know that I pay Mathia as much as I can.

      We are going to be redesigning the site soon which will require more time from everyone I just mentioned plus additional costs.

      Truly everyone who works for me deserves more money than I can pay them yet.

      All of this is worth it to me for several reasons: (1) I love being close to the members. You do NOT get the same interaction from books and (2) I can write what I want especially if it’s taboo. With Amazon if I really wanted to make bank I would be writing m/f.

      I think that answers your questions.

      • Buddhaali June 28, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

        oh yes, mostly! and I wasn’t really expecting any kind of dollar total breakdown-fu. I just have no idea the time/energy for upkeep plus how much the resource drain is compared with capital coming in from reader’s monthly fees. I hope it doesn’t leave you guys searching for ways to keep afloat!

        Its boggling that you can afford to pay all these amazing people to contribute to your dream job and labor of love. And possibly, being a labor of love, there are sacrifices being made all across the board by all of you to give so much to all of us out here in reader-internet land.

        Thank you for all your hard work and all my love.

        • Raythe June 28, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

          I still keep my day job as an attorney so … That’s one of the large sacrifices. When I think of how much more time I could write … But the boss gets paid last.

          We do more than fine though. the site more than pays for itself and has for some time now but if you’re comparing pure profit then individual books are far more profitable. But that’s not really what it’s about for me.

          I’m so glad that I have the site now and had no idea in the beginning what it would cost or be like because when I look at how it was for quite a few years I would have backed away very quickly.

          But we are now able to fund things easily though not the more outlandish things we want to do like film or anime or a big game.

  4. Lajoy1 June 28, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

    I have been a member for about 6-8 months now and I LOVE it! I am a big homo-erotic fan and I love your stories, especially the Merman series (can’t wait for more chapters of Merman 2). I have already read Birth Rite, Drakon, The Abyss books 1 & 2, The Dark Earth 1 & 2 (currently reading the comic too) and I am currently trying to finish the Pact book 2.

    I am a fan of Mathia’s work too. Love her art, people should be calling her every day to commission her for work. Also, I have to recommend the Chronicles of Elantra series by Michelle Sagara, those books are great for fantasy references, it’s on par with Harry potter in my opinion (but more for adults), having dragons (they have a human form), sorcery and other immortal people, it’s just great. I hope you keep up the great work and Mathia too, you both are awesome people.

    • Raythe June 28, 2016 at 7:33 pm #

      I’m so glad that you are enjoying yourself! What I love is hearing that people are reading all these stories on the site and knowing there are a ton more for them to still get to!

      Mathia loves those books by Michelle Sagara too! I need to pick them up but I’m on a tea urban fantasy kick right now.

      Yay!

  5. keith June 28, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

    I hope you’ll never stop running the site, however well the books sale on Amazon. I’ve grown to love Raythe Reign sooo much. It’s not just a collection of books like you find on Amazon! It’s a community. We can talk with you, and with the other members, and we all share the same crazy passions and kinks so no need to hide!

    The site allows both you writer and us readers to get so much more than with Amazon! You get to write forbidden stuff, and we get to read it! We get chapters very often, and we can share our feelings on it right away, and you get immediate feedback on them. We get to have gorgeous art, so much more than just one cover per book, and… you get to have fanarts! Seriously, when other authors ask you why you keep the website, ask them how many of them have had their readers organize and participate in an art gift exchange!
    On Amazon you can sell books and make money, but with RR you build a community and you have fun!!

    Thank you so much for keeping up with this amazing website, and the regular updates, it’s so crazy how often you update I cannot even imagine how you can keep that up in addition to your other job. You are amazing <3

    • Raythe June 28, 2016 at 9:47 pm #

      Your comment is why I never plan on ending the site!

      In case I made anyone worried that the site isn’t profitable it is. But I never want to make a decision about whether or not to write a story because I have to pay my mortgage. That’s part of the reason I keep the day job.

      But we are really doing well and I want us to be doing even better. For me the sales on Amazon are gravy but more importantly they attract potential new members.

      All the things you’ve said Keith are so true about what makes the site special. I feel badly for “normal” authors who put up the books and really don’t have members telling them chapter by chapter what they’re thinking. I would feel blind as a writer that way.

      I think I’m going to put up a blog post asking you guys what you think would influence people to join and what questions and concerns you had before you did.

  6. Fiona Hayes June 28, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

    Well I love this site and would not Change a thing. Because I don’t want to be told what to read. Also love waiting to see what she will post for her nexted chapter. I just love this site and can’t wait to see what you will do next. So please both of you Mathis and you keep up the great pictures and story’s.Love the man on man it’s the greatest. Thanks for all the great works so far.

    • Raythe June 28, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

      I think the silence of retailers like Amazon makes you feel like they have everything on there and when you don’t find what speaks to you then you feel more isolated in what you like. You think that there’s no one else like you otherwise surely Amazon would market it right? There must be so little interest that it’s not profitable but that’s so not true.

      The stepbrother stories that are the latest craze are people’s hunger for the taboo incest stories that Amazon won’t allow for instance. So those of us who like this stuff are not some small segment but just one that keeps being hidden.

      But the site gives us the freedom.

  7. Ipodpixie June 28, 2016 at 10:38 pm #

    There are numerous things about this site is love.

    When I first discovered it, purely by accident, I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it. Now several years down the line I realise how great it is to find somewhere with such a diverse range of stories for those of us with ‘different’ tastes in literature.

    I like that you can pick and choose what you want to read, you can wander away from the site for a while and when you return there is lots of interesting new stuff.

    I love that Raythe takes the time to read our rambling comments good or bad and replies to us. I also love that my membership on this site gives me access to all pages (kind of like a backstage pass!)

    I also love that I’m rewarded with my book downloads just for being a member.

    • Raythe June 29, 2016 at 3:27 am #

      As a writer, one of the awesome things for me is that I don’t have to chase what’s popular which I think is shifter mpreg at the moment … but instead can write stuff I want to write while making sure there’s more crowd pleasers out there, too. I think you members give me more opportunities to stretch my wings and maybe give things a shot you normally wouldn’t if you were picking up individual books. So it works great for me, too.

  8. Jennie June 28, 2016 at 11:33 pm #

    I don’t know how your books keep being censored by Amazon, as I’ve found plenty of other yaoi books and manga selling there just fine there. Take Renta, for example. They sell some really porny stuff on kindle just fine! One of the kindle books is title “A Gay Video and a Huge Awakening (Yaoi): 7 days drenched in man juice” and it’s still there to this day lmao.

    • Raythe June 29, 2016 at 3:25 am #

      Yeah … I bet that’s one to read!

      Seriously, not every book that violates Amazon’s TOS gets found, but if you are caught you can get your account suspended.

      Besides that book may not break any of the rules:

      (1) No incest
      (2) No beastiality – though supposedly with werewolves/shifters is okay
      (3) in manga – no images of sex

      Those are the big three and we’ve had all of them. So no Erl King/Fell/WHCC/Valkyrie/Hunt and the list will go on …

  9. Andarial June 29, 2016 at 2:10 am #

    i was also at first a bit unure about getting a membership; but it has been 100% worth it 🙂 i love reading comments, blog posts and seeing new artwork along with the story updates <3

    • Raythe June 29, 2016 at 3:29 am #

      It’s sort of a trust thing, isn’t it? If you sign up you have to believe I’m going to deliver. Is it going to be worth it? Will you have enough to read? Will you like it? That sort of thing. That’s why what we hope is that through the individual books people like them enough and want more of what I write so that they jump to the membership and get all the books included as well as the serials!

  10. Crystal June 29, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    Amazon’s rules are lame. I like they way you do things Raythe. I love being able to read the chapter’s sooner, and reading a variety of stories at once.

    If you ever want to publish any of the stuff banned on amazon I found a site last week called Smashwords, it seems to be a good place to sell Ebooks without any rules.

    • Raythe June 29, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

      Smashwords has a very small pool of people who buy from there and no recommendation system or rather a very poor one, which means you load up a book and it doesn’t sell because no one sees it unless you direct them there. I’d rather advertise to my own site. Their main claim to fame is as a third-party distributor. I use Draft2Digital for that, which is much better. But thanks for the thought!

  11. River Iris June 29, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

    If I’ve said it once I’ve said it in a dozen other comments: thank you for not bending to riches for the sake of your art! For the same reason I read fanfiction, I come here about five times a month for my taboo BL. I love many other worlds that I’d be okay watching with my parents (though ‘Hannibal’♥ and ‘Humans’♥ are questionable). Here I can throw my filters away for a bit without being questioned about it the next day; or not. There is plenty stuff I can talk about with others without mentioning ‘slash’ or the kink. I told my mom I am reading a story about dragon shifters, how the protagonist touches me because we both know what it’s like to lose our home, his courage etc. Your stories are deeper than most of what sells well on Amazon. I comment for a number of reasons, mainly to get my thoughts out regardless of who’s reading, but also with the hope others can be bold enough to too. It’s fun reading others thoughts on the same subject; whether or I agree with them. I almost hope I don’t so we all take what is at face value a simple site about b/b love and make it into something most of us can only get on fan blogs and conventions… if we’re lucky. ♥ =D

    • Raythe June 29, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

      You know that RR is such a part of me and our ethos that it’s a safe place where we can be ourselves makes me forget that this isn’t the same everywhere until Kat comes to me to tell me that another advertising network is closed bc the gay is not safe for the children (even though we are targeting 18 and above but no matter!) or someone gives me a funny look and asks why I like “that stuff” as if mm is something nasty you find under your shoe. That’s when I’m reminded of why I’m glad in the RR corner of the world I don’t have to explain myself.

      Less than 1 percent of the membership comment but those that do really set the bar for others to know its okay and safe to do so. Just knowing they are there reading silently makes me happy because I know I’m not alone in the world in my head. So thank you for telling me what you think and just continuing to read along.

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