Subscriptions, Part 2: Why Raythe Reign runs as a subscription site

We got some great comments and insights from our post about subscriptions!

Here’s Part 2: Why Raythe Reign is a subscription site.

Raythe’s take:

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.”

Kat’s take:

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.

7 Responses to Subscriptions, Part 2: Why Raythe Reign runs as a subscription site

  1. a_h- June 21, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

    Nice to know, thank you!

    • Raythe June 23, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

      Thanks!

  2. Ipodpixie June 21, 2017 at 7:37 pm #

    I like the subscription thing but sometimes, especially when you are really into the story, I wish the story was completed when it was given to me.

    I don’t always feel the need to comment on chapters but I do like that they are read and answered. I also think it’s genius to ask for ideas, you clearly have a layout for how you want your stories to finish up but I think it’s great you are willing to ask for our ideas to get it there. I personally loved seeing my suggestion incorporated into a story. It definitely is unique and makes your readers who pay the subscription valued and appreciated. Cheers 😙

    • Raythe June 23, 2017 at 6:01 pm #

      I totally get you about wanting the story to be completed. But the comments actually hugely influence me. So if there’s a story you’re loving and reading along, you can have a large impact by commenting about what you think/hope/want/don’t want to happen. I consider every comment. As you know from Elven King’s Blade when I picked up your idea about the mate mark not being a tattoo.

  3. Kris June 21, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

    So what pulled me initially was the M/M nature of the stories because you don’t see a lot of well written M/M paranormal romance out there for everyone to see. I think the last one I came across that was good was Lover at Last by J.R. Ward. And I think she only got to do that one because she got successful with her previous books. So I got curious about what was here.

    And holy shit. I am a sucker for paranormal romance. I like J.R. Ward, Karen Marie Moning, and Gena Showalter. I even like the relationship building in the stuff that isn’t romance like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. Which leads me into the fact that I freaking love world building which had me really keeping in to go through the rest of the library. I live with two writers myself and I’m constantly going over material with them for their original settings. I got sucked into Winter Haven and I want to know more about it and would likely keep coming back just for the setting alone, with or without any kind of romance.

    I also love the fact that there’s relationships here that aren’t typical. My favorite thus far as been The Abyss stories, because it showed a positive light on polyamory. I’m in a poly relationship myself and I was pretty freakin’ happy to see something that kind of reflected my own life a tad. Seeing positive and healthy relationships of different kinds is interesting. I keep wondering about what a full S&M couple written by you would look like.

    The Abyss also holds the couple I think about the most which is Jack and Icar. I’m constantly thinking about what kind of shenanigans Jack gets into, and then drags Icar into it with her. With that said, I would be pretty happy to see M/M, M/F, F/F, or any combinations there of because I’m poly and bi and I love everyone.

    Lets see… what else can I ramble about… Oh yeah. There are so many characters and things about the setting that may not fit into stories that a Wiki would be an entertaining read for this website. It’s big enough. Podcasts (or something to that effect) talking about projects and stories and just generally being able to hear the author’s voice would be cool.

    I’m probably a minority on the site in that I’d just love to see stuff all over the place following all sorts of people and relationships and even non-romance stuff just to get more involved in the characters and settings.

    • Raythe June 23, 2017 at 6:09 pm #

      I started writing paranormal, scifi and UF M/Ms because I wasn’t finding what I wanted to read AND I’ve been obsessed with it since I was a kid and didn’t know m/m was a thing.

      The Abyss is a polyamory story, but I didn’t set it up that way originally. I think though that it worked because people loved the three characters so much. But I’ve heard this before from people in polyamorous relationships. I think I might have some of those pairings in the background (not main characters) in Ever Dark as I imagine long lived vampires would pick up new loves, but not want to lose old ones.

      As to podcasts, we’ve wanted to do them and videos and and and … We’ve got to remember there’s only so many hours. But we’re considering it!

  4. zen2go July 6, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

    The flexibility of serial writing is certainly a benefit, especially in being able to respond to reader feedback as the story progresses – but the economics are a bit challenging.

    At 3 chapters/week, that’s 156 chapters/year.
    For simplicity, let’s say 52 chapters make a book – that’s 3 books/year.
    At the $100.00 yearly membership rate, that’s $33.33 per book for new material.

    Of course, there’s also the Manga, which I don’t read – but that’s an additional value for some people.
    – And new members get to catch up on all the material on the site, which represents much added value.
    – And there’s the published books, many of which are free to members – also added value.
    – And the ability to comment in real time, and read the comments of other readers, as the story progresses.

    Still, after a year or two of membership, and catching up on all of the existing material, the value decreases – and even at $20.00 -$25.00/book, it’s a much higher rate than anyone could get in the Kindle Store – for unedited material with numerous typos, grammatical, and continuity errors. And not everyone considers having to wait up to a month for the story to continue a value.

    So, serial writing is clearly a mixed blessing for the reader – and not a cheap one at that. We have to rely on the quality of the stories (not the quality of the writing itself) and the imagination of the author to make this a value proposition. That, and the fact that it’s hard to find stories like these anywhere else.

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