“If you can’t be an athlete… be an athletic supporter.”

That’s my favorite line from Grease, and as funny as it is, there’s a note of truth in it. It’s a given that if you’re a writer, you’re also a reader. A lot of readers would like to be published writers. And in the meantime, if they are not actively writing (or are waiting to be published,) those readers are still supporting other writers.

Every time they buy a book.
Every time they recommend a book to a friend.
Every time they check out a book from the library.
Every time they turn up at a signing.

And lots of readers who are writer-supporters have preferences and hierarchies when it comes to how they do their supporting. Financial constraints come into play. Opinions about business models and practices come into play.

So then I mused about the fact that TICKER will be published by an Amazon imprint. Amazon has acquired the print and digital World English rights to the novel. The contract I have Ray Ban outlet signed with them means that I do not control which formats in which it will be published. I do not know at this time if the novel will be carried in brick-and-mortar stores, be they big box or independent.

Due to the holiday shopping thing that happens this time of year, I have seen plenty of excellent and well-deserved “buy Indie!” campaigns, online and off. So my question ultimately was…. Would my readers follow me to Amazon, if indies and big box brick-and-mortars don’t carry TICKER? What about the paper vs. digital debate, if the book only comes out in one format or the other?

At what point, if any, would I lose my author-supportive readers?

So I did what I usually do: I took to Facebook. And we had a lively and informative and polite discussion about these issues. The answers to my questions, by and large, seem to be: that really depends, Mantchev.

Depends on the options the reader is offered.
Depends on the formats and release dates and devices the readers can use to access it.
Depends if the readers read the first chapters and like what they see.

And, in few heartening cases, I heard, “It doesn’t matter who is publishing you, or how. I WANT YOUR NEXT BOOK.”

There aren’t any clear-cut answers, and the market is ever-changing. What will endure, though, are the words and the people who love them.

So let me take this chance to thank Amazon for giving me the chance to share TICKER with the people who would like to see more words from me. Let me thank the author-supportive readers who will purchase the book or borrow it. And let me thank author-supportive readers, period, because you are my audience. You are the people who first sat in the theater audience and held your breath for Bertie.

You are the reason I keep doing what I do.