The Right Way to Buy My Books is Your Way

I have received a number of Tweets and e-mails asking a very flattering question, namely: What version(s) of my books should someone buy if they wanted to maximize my royalty on that sale?

I appreciate this. I really, really appreciate this. It’s a kind and generous impulse and I want you to know it means a lot to me.


Please don’t ever buy one of my books in a format you think will send me a maximal percentage of money. Please buy the format that is most desirable or convenient to you. Buy the format that will enable you to have the most enjoyable reading experience. After all, if I encourage you to buy an inconvenient or uncomfortable format for my own sake, I’m basically telling you to endure unnecessary bullshit for the sake of a few extra pennies or dimes in my pocket. I can’t stand that… no sane writer wants to achieve financial success by scraping it painfully out of their readers, one person at a time.

As I see it, I make my money in the aggregate. It’s why we’ve been doing these “get an e-book of The Lies of Locke Lamora for 99 cents/pence” promotions recently. I earned a respectable advance for a first-time novel on Lies, and it earned out before it was even published. Lies has been delivering regular royalties for seven years now. It’s sold about 300,000 copies in the US and UK/Commonwealth, and I don’t have up-to-date figures for the rest of the world. So… it’s done its job! It’s made its money! Everything since and henceforth is gravy… now the game, as I see it, is about trying to attract new readers and make them comfortable, not gouging them for every last possible penny.


Buy my work in the format that works best for you. The format that will be least distracting. Buy it with yourself in mind, not me. I assure you I’ll be okay. The easier and more comfortable your reading experience is, the more okay I’ll be!


If you are truly interested in seeing the Gentleman Bastard sequence kick in all the doors it can, and in rewarding my editors for their long-suffering patience and hard work, and in tickling the folks holding the purse strings at the various publishing HQs so they’ll cry “More! More Bastards! More Bastards for everybody!”… well, there is a thing you can do, if it’s all the same to you.

Buy a physical copy of The Republic of Thieves. Buy it soon.

There are these lists, you see. Amazon bestseller… NYT bestseller… Locus bestseller… Sunday Times… and so forth. Some of them are silly and archaic and incomplete and maddening, but some of them are worth the trouble to claw one’s way onto. And the more books are sold, and the sooner, and (sadly, for now) the more physical copies are moved… the greater the chance I have of finally nudging my way into the bottom rungs of some of those lists. And that will mean good things, if you want to see more books, and if you want to see them given decent marketing budgets, and pleasant quantities of Advance Reader Copies.

So if you have a mind to do something generous for me and my brain-droppings, don’t aim for getting me a few extra cents. Aim to bump these books up in the numbers game. Like I said, it’s silly. It’s an incomplete portrait of the bookselling market. It’s not something I would pursue for its own sake. But it can’t hurt the future of Locke and Jean one tiny bit. It can only help.

The Republic of Thieves is now available on store shelves (and in e-format) in the United States and the UK/Commonwealth. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who’ve waited for this day, and to all who’ve pre-ordered or already purchased it. May the book deliver something you’re hoping for.

11 thoughts on “The Right Way to Buy My Books is Your Way

  1. S’ok, I already have a way of maximising your royalties *and* bumping you up the bestseller lists – I plan to buy a lot (a LOT) of copies of RoT when you come to Forbidden Planet in London next month and ask you to sign them for all my friends. People who are my friends pretty much by definition like your books, so that’ll be my christmas list sorted this year in one afternoon. Hope your signing hand’s feeling limber :)

  2. I really,really,really want to read the book but the hardcover is far too expensive for me. I live in India and all sites here only show the hardcover copy as the one which is available. Is there a different date for the paperback??

  3. There are sometimes other considerations, too, of course. One reason why I haven’t picked up the physical Republic yet is that I intend to buy it on the 26th at Uncle Hugo’s when you come by. This way I support the Friendly Local Bookstore in the process.

    That might not help your sales numbers (but I have that covered with an amazon purchase on my kindle) for bestseller status much but it will help the store that is kindly making it more practical to see you and get said book signed. (Otherwise, I might have to travel to meet you and Bear in Wisconsin, somewhere. :shudder: 😉 )

  4. I’ve tried to buy a copy.. on the 8th, and the 9th. I’ve been waiting patiently since 2008.. However, it seems that Chapters here in Canada, despite the listed release date as the 8th, will not have any copies of your book in stock until the 28th. Any idea on what the hell is going on?

  5. Another great book, sir! Thank you.

    After reading and loving The Lies of Locke Lamora, I had doubts that a follow-on novel could meet the incredible standard set by the first book, but now you’ve gone and done it twice. Hats off to you, sir.

    Thanks for the work you do.

  6. Am I allowed to buy the hardcover (as I still love the feel and smell of a physical copy) AND then get an e-copy as I’m traveling (and it’s too damn big to pack)?

    Good. Glad to hear it as I already did that. So there.

  7. I received my hardback copy today, it made a long road to Chisinau (it’s in a small country called Moldova :)). The book looks great, and I’m anxious to read it. Wish you good luck with the bestsellers lists and all!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>