We got some great comments and insights from our post about subscriptions!
Here’s Part 2: Why Raythe Reign is a subscription site.
First of all, Raythe is a natural serial writer. Though many writers are the opposite, she loves releasing chapters as she writes them.
- The constant pressure to update is an energizing force. (Of course, she’s a lawyer, and they seek high-pressure environments, lol!) She likes the expectations of her readers, and likes to keep a constant, steady level of performance. Both Raythe and Kat are firm believers in “the more you do, the more you can do.”
- For those who want an update, Cursed 3 is steadily getting attention, but for Raythe, the serial schedule comes first, and any novels come after.
- Raythe thinks more in terms of episodes and cliffhangers, not chapters, and she loves the instant feedback she gets. Comments really, really matter. If we just published books, there would be no chapter-by-chapter comments.
- Raythe tailors stories directly based on what Members like – just look at the recent Sanctuary 2, Ever Dark, and Elven King’s Blade. She’s closer to readers, and that makes for better content – even including readers’ favorite tropes!
- Serials are different from one-and-done books, where the product is sold at the end with no going back. With serials, she can and does change subsequent chapters based on feedback and ideas. Sometimes Members figure stuff out for her…
- Subscribers can take chances on stories that might not immediately appeal. We get a LOT of comments that go, “I normally hate incest, but I love The Fell.”
As the solemn business-end of this operation, here is a business-oriented outlook about what goes on behind the scenes of RR.
Above all, the serial site gives us steady, predictable income, which puts us in a better position than most fiction writers. We can have…
- Staff! Raythe Reign has dedicated IT, marketing, and art people. Not only does it make for a better experience to our readers and Members, but it keeps us looking pro, like a “big publisher.” This is important to us because it gives our entire subgenre legitimacy in the fiction realm. Though this isn’t as much of an issue now, self-published M/M was a serious handicap, much like the early days of science fiction (according to Orson Scott Card, anyway.) We’re still fighting this with Amazon and Google at times.
- The serial site is a lot like Patreon, as one commenter pointed out. We existed before Patreon was an option. Members support us so that this particular (unpublishable) kind of content can get made. If we didn’t have this, Raythe would not be writing what she loves most: action-based M/M paranormal. Honestly, she’d be writing paranormal het romance novels with NO art and NO reader feedback. Because that’s where the money is.
- It’s also really, really hard to advertise a $4 product (most books) and still make money. Getting clicks costs the same whether your product is $4 or $40. This is a huge problem for most authors, who have to rely on Amazon for “free” traffic. But the Membership lets us take some of our steady income and advertise the books, which gets us more Members, etc.
- Both of us are financially conservative, and we like having money in the bank for server emergencies (it’s happened more than you know…) It also allows us to do the manga and art that doesn’t necessarily have to have an immediate return on income. We’re art publishers and sometimes, we just like to get art made because we think Members will like it. All of it comes out of the predictable income.
- Perhaps above all, we’re not dependent on Amazon. This is a huge deal, because a lot (most?) of our content is unpublishable as novels.
So, that’s why we do the serial thing. While we realize that serial subscriptions aren’t for everyone, publishing this way really works for us.