Value Your Work, Value Literature

As DOJ, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Apple, and the like battle it out over eBook pricing here I am, a self publisher of one novel, thinking of my decision to price my book at 6.99. Good decision? I think so. I could have priced it at .99 cents… wait are you kidding me? I put a lot of work into that book! It’s not a short story, it’s a full novel. In my opinion there’s a fair market for short stories at less than a dollar price range. I recently read one and was pleased with my purchase. But should a full novel go for a buck? No! Authors! Do not sell your hard work out like that! A three hundred page novel should not sell for the price of a thousand word story.

I considered pricing  my novel at 2.99, a good price range for  new authors trying to attract the attention of readers I think, and I’ve watched many new authors sell a lot of books at 2.99. But what about the value of each? If a hundred thousand people purchased a book at 2.99 based on good reviews wouldn’t they do the same at a 6.99 price? I think so. I would, shoot I’d pay 9.99. So I ask, why price your book at 2.99? Ah yes, to get people purchasing, it’s a tough market out there. I feel you!

So why did I price mine at 6.99? I think it’s a fair price for a new author. I know it’s a fair price for the work I put into it. If people like it they will purchase it, if not they won’t, nothing secret about that.  I, like everyone else can make many assumptions on what the eBook  pricing wars outcome will be, but the responsibility lies on us, the self publisher, to NOT devalue our work. I have never walked into a bookstore, you know where the traditional (published) books are and purchased a new novel for 2.99! Paperbacks that have filled shelves for years still go for 6.99! That’s where my fair price thought came from, let me explain.

If you feel you have a voice, a good story, something for a large population, or a select genre, whatever your fancy, don’t price your brand new voice, your talent for story telling, your place in the literary world-dirt cheap-for the sake of selling as many copies as possible for a quick buck.  Have faith in readers! They will find you at more than 2.99 a copy. The real challenge in self publishing is not with pricing, it’s with marketing. Letting readers know you have a product they will enjoy. For me self publishing also means we must keep the value of literature in its glory.

Advertisements

Borrowed Dreams

Recently there have been talks about a website called LendInk. I was concerned about it myself. I also wrote LendInk and requested my title be taken off their site. That same evening, after more discussions, I went back to the website to gather information on how the site operates but could no longer view it. My Norton antivirus screen popped up with its warning about the site.  I have since learned the owner took the site down after recieivng complaints. This link was sent to me to shed some light on the subject:

http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/2012/08/congratulations-you-killed-lendink-and.html

Perhaps some education on lending policies would ease tensions. I do not have the scoop on this subject, but what I do have is an opinion. Some would shine a positive light on the use of such “lending” sites. I’m certainly not opposed to getting my work out there to readers. In fact that’s why I give it free to begin with, I run the special to get interested readers with the hopes of a review or two. The review hasn’t happened but I keep hope, maybe even pray someone takes the time.

Getting back to the point, I want readers but, go figure a but right? I’m not in the know of how the, “lend,” sites actually work. For instance, there was no actual purchase of my title in the eBook format when my book appeared at the LendInk site. I know because being new to self publishing I obsessively check the stats! However, there were free purchases, my doing of course, I put the special out. I’m guessing this is how my title was picked up and sent to LendInk as a title that someone can borrow. Ok, I’m still not opposed to reaching readers. As a self publisher, not having the marketing support of a traditional publishing company, I, and all indie’s have to watch for ourselves.

So here comes the fear, My book is being lent to a thousand people and I haven’t sold a single copy, OMG! Do you feel me? How am I as a self published author to know just how many sites my title is being offered for free at, one, two, one hundred…more?

It’s a hot topic and I want to learn more about “lend” sites. If they are a benefit to authors, (self published), what are the true benefits? Is this program a good way of getting our works out there to readers, much like us giving them out for free? If so sign me up! But if I haven’t sold a single copy and my book is being borrowed a hundred times over without, and here’s what’s tearing at my gut, without a single review from any of the borrowers, I’m the loser.

I’m not savvy in developing these type of websites, but if I were, I’d without a doubt create one, but try and get retailers like Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, etc., to provide a link to authors/publishers to my “lending” website where they can monitor the the borrows, maybe check off the total they allow to be borrowed, have borrowers leave a review for the author and future customers with a link back to the retailer (Amazon, Smashwords, etc.) where the review can be seen.

Now that’s lending/borrowing sense. But right now, self published authors are operating clueless, we don’t know where our books have landed in the world of borrowing, or the number of sites offering them. And if you’re a brand new author, new to self publishing, like me, it’s troubling.

Dare to Write and Share

I recently wrote and published, Compelled, by Ann Simpson, an intense story in a jail setting about a young couple’s encounter with a dangerous criminal subculture. It’s a crime novel, a romance, a drama, and is available at Amazon, CreateSpace, and Smashwords. Many published indie authors understand the work that goes into each of these, the writing, editing, book cover, formating, and marketing! While marketing I was drawn to the many first pages or chapters offered for view at Amazon, believe me one could spend hours just reading these excerpts from our fellow indie author’s works.

I asked a reader, a friend of a friend, what exactly grabs her attention when choosing a book to read. She said the cover first, then the first sentence or couple of sentences of the first chapter. If that grabs her she said she closes the book and looks on the back cover for a synopsis. If she gets that, I want to read this, feeling, she purchases the book. First impressions seem critical! And so I have decided to share an excerpt of my upcomming novel The Genealogist’s Guests, albeit minor changes with editing could happen,  I thought it would fun to share.

Coldness throughout the house couldn’t stop her.  The fire she set hours before was a mere hint of smolder that barely lit the large room outside of her small home office. Stacks of papers and books lay all around. A small lamp was placed on the floor to her right.  The sixty watt bulb faced a wall illuminating the family tree painted onto the canvas from floor to ceiling.

The wind outside howled as the storm approached, and mother nature’s threat to cut power to Liz’s computer rushed her as she searched almost desperately for clues about Isabella Hay Taber, her third generation great grandmother.  The lights dimmed as the computer prepared to shut down, “No!” Liz held the monitor with both hands, “I haven’t saved it.” The sound of the computer tower’s hum went silent right after the click Liz heard shattering her pleas for just a little more time. She was close to finding out how Isabella came to Rhode Island from Saint Nicolas, Aberdeen, Scotland.

She looked over to her wall at the tree she painted, nearly three thousand ancestors smothered by darkness as the storm outside beat the wood siding of Rhode Island Colonial, a sturdy structure built in 1920. She stood in the darkness facing her family tree visualizing the names she had painstakingly wrote with the tip of a paint brush, Isabella’s name called to her, a feeling she couldn’t escape. Something about the young girl from Scotland who married her third generation great grandfather Edward Luther Taber sparked her curiosity but with the power out she would have to wait to continue searching for answers.

Liz purchased the twenty four hundred square foot home several years back with hopes of entertaining family who all remained in Virginia when she moved north. They said she was crazy for leaving but Liz had a passion for ancestry and she wanted to be near her ancestor’s graves, their old homesteads, and the towns they lived in, she needed to connect.  She especially liked the Town of Norwich, Connecticut.  A Dunkin Donut shop on Main Street served up a hot cup of coffee on cold New England days. Liz walked many a day down the walkways and roads surrounded by buildings built long ago. She laid her eyes on the Carroll Building built in 1887, and the Norwich Town Hall built in 1870, in fact the very ancestors she’d come looking for walked the same path as she and saw the same landmarks.

She closed the office door and tended to the fire incased in a brick mantle and mused at the size of it. It took up the entire wall leaving no room for cozy corners. She made the best of it and circled her sofa and chairs facing the fire. She’d sleep right there on the sofa to keep warm until the power resumed. She wouldn’t have minded a cup of hot tea but she was feeling tired and the idea of heating the water by fire seemed too much for her to do at the time so she settled for brandy. She never really felt lonely with all her dead ancestors occupying her time but situations like this when the power was out she’d allow herself to hope that soon someone from Virginia would come visit. She sipped her brandy and eventually fell off to sleep.

The storm continued through the night and the house fell silent except for the howling wind and rain outside. Liz lay fast asleep in the large room lit by the fierce fire she built. Adjacent to the room, the home office door was closed to keep the warmth in the main room she occupied. A hum of soft musical tones lingered in the background of the office.  The tree of many names was shadowed by darkness. Close to the base of the tree Isabella’s name was bright. The humming continued as the office door slowly opened and as Liz laid on the sofa covered with her favorite throw a woman wearing a black dress that hung to her ankles sat in the chair next to her. Her hair was pulled back in a neat bun, her face was aged but revealed a beauty that once was, and her adoring eyes rested on Liz.

Liz turned to her side and opened her eyes. She felt the unease and looked to the empty chair, she had an overwhelming sense she wasn’t alone. She closed her eyes and mumbled, Go back to sleep. She hummed a tune she hadn’t heard before and assumed she’d made it up in her brandy induced fog, then fell fast asleep. Isabella rose from the chair and hummed the same tune until her spirit reached her name on the handpainted family tree in the tiny home office where Liz called for truth about her ancestors.

Dare to share yours!

It wasn’t easy

But I have published my book, Compelled,  at Smashwords, Createspace, and Amazon. I am excited about the new book cover designed by Donna Casey at DigitalDonna.com. Editorial service was done by Diane Reynolds.  I send a special thanks for your contribution to this book. I am equally excited about my next title The Genealogists Guest, but I have a lot of work to do with Compelled. Mainly get the news out that it is available. I’ve been reading about marketing, my true weakness, and much of what I gather is that social networking is key, along with word of mouth, and a few reviews. And so I have advertised, should I say, on Facebook, Twitter, and other social websites.

Compelled

And so, after much thought and hard work on my book, I’ve finally come to a decision…the first and second books belong together, and so, part one The Tug and part two The Thrust will be under one cover.

Yep, I posted the message above on Facebook Saturday, June 16, 2012. It’s possibly the craziest decision I’ve ever made. But fact is as the author of the two titles I couldn’t see them as separate books. The second continued from the first and though I was told, “If people like the first one they’ll buy the second, you’ll sell two instead of one.” The better advice was that I, the author, am the one who knows best. And my gut tells me to do the crazy, to take a chance, and give my passion, my story under one cover. Well actually sell it under one cover.

Maybe it’s the first time published author thing. You know where the rush to get the first part The Tug out to readers was so exciting and, forgive me; irresistible, it had blinded me to the full potential of Compelled. And so, after much thought The Tug and The Thrust will be part one and two in my soon to be released new and not so new novel. The story, you may ask, is love at its strongest triumph, the will to stand against all obstacles, and in Macon’s case, criminals, to save his sweet Anna. A story of a good boy gone bad ass, forced, err, compelled to become whatever he had to, to assure his freedom and he won’t leave without Anna.

The cover is completed! I am happy to give great credit to my new book cover artist Donna Casey. Take a look at her portfolio at http://www.digitaldonna.com. If you’re in the market for a cover I recommend Donna!  I’m crazy about the new cover. It will soon be seen at Amazon, CreateSpace, and Smashwords. The editing process is complete with special thanks to Diane Reynolds my editor. All that’s left to do is join the two parts, and yikes, format, and send them on their way to readers. It feels like sending my baby off to, yep, jail!

Interested? Maybe crazy sparks a little curiosity?  I am an indie author! My taking a chance shouldn’t surprise anyone, right, you got me on that one. I don’t know whether my book will be a success, but I hope, pray, wish, want people to read and enjoy my work. So what’s this turmoil of mine all about? It’s about losing one’s self in fiction, mad writing and living, yes breathing each word to create an escape for readers. But not an escape from feeling the emotions because:

Macon will do anything for her. Anna soon finds out how far he will go. They are joined by love and separated by housing units. Set up by cunning criminals and forced to do the unthinkable. Macon finds the strength to free himself but Anna is left behind. He is driven by his love for her and revenge for those who did this to them. His predicament is worse than torture, but he’s relentless and dangerous. They pulled him into their world and now he must push his way back out. He’s not leaving without Anna.

Deadline Forward

Delayed and hindered is how I felt, however I’ve worked my way through illness, lots of family activities, work and chores, you know the drill, and have just sent chapters 6 – 13 of The Thrust to my editor Diane Reynolds. I’m now realizing my April 1 deadline to have it published will be more like May 1, if I work passionately. But I am excited.

In The Tug a youth gets caught up in some trouble with the law and is sent to jail. An unbelievable thing happens when he is backed into a corner by a group of ruthless predators. To survive he must learn the ends and outs of this deadly subculture. He survives but Anna his girlfriend doesn’t. Macon the MC does the unthinkable to save her.

The setting is in current times, in an updated jail with doors instead of bars and dayrooms for inmates to interact. Anyone who’s ever been in jail or have heard the rumors about jail will connect to the story. It is truly another world once one is behind those cinder block walls. My targeted readers are everyone of course but people who work in jails and prisons, or use to, police officers, detectives, anyone in the courts, friends and family of those who are currently in jail, and the curious will find The Tug interesting.

The Thrust is a sequel to The Tug and picks up the story with a deeper plot and surprising twists, with a sense of what it must be like in jail, keeping in mind that officers don’t have as much control as they think. Much goes undetected leaving vicitms on their own…while in Jail! But to make it work, survival that is, inmates must have connections inside and out of jail. Macon’s survival depends greatly on his ability to gain connections. Question is what will he do when he gets them.

I am thrilled to present a modern day jail experience for readers! It isn’t contained inside and could reach any one of us at any time!

Tools

Amazon makes it easy to publish an eBook. For those of us who plan to publish or already have that’s old news. It’s good to keep up with all the news on self publishing, and so I’m forwarding an article I found this morning from PRWeb .

I find it interesting that Amazon has 275 million registered users of ther site, and with 100 million people searching Amazon a month, wow it’s amazing Amazon is only fifth place in terms of web traffic as the article reveals. Leaves me to wonder who’s in 1-4th place. ebay? Guess I’ll have to follow the convenient link from the article to Alexa.com to find out.

Links to the orignial report from the article is here  a link to an advertisement to purchase the 17 page report Partnering with Amazon by Ryan Diess. Only the first 1000 purchasers will get the report at $7.

I don’t know if I’ll need this report and many readers of this blog may feel the same way. But any tip on how to sell an eBook through Amazon sounds like a must and so I’ve download the report to my desktop. I’ll be publishing a second  book here soon and I’ll be checking the report out. Tips? I’ll let you know what I use.

New Self Publish Blue Leaf

I try and keep up on all new ideas for self publishing and I came across this article at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46670997 TheWriteDeal eBook publisher has introduced Blue Leaf self-publishing series to begin later this month. I signed up for membership and downloaded their guide for submissions to Blue Leaf. The Style Guide. The first thing I noticed was that authors would submit a manuscript for acceptance. Feels a bit like traditonal publishing. Submission are by email.

If the WriteDeal publishes your work (if) they design the book cover or if they think the authors own book cover is “intriguing” they’ll accept it. Special note: This could solve my book cover needs. I’d be interested to see what their book covers look like.

If The WriteDeal accepts the author’s maunuscript for publication he/she would be contacted and be asked to sign a contract, traditonal? I don’t know yet. It’s brand new, maybe the first of it kind, so what benefits would the author get besides having their editors approve the manuscript for publication. Could it be possible that due to the editorial and acceptance process the author has a better chance of selling more of their work, something to think about. Are they suggesting their serivce will produce higher quality self published ebooks?

The author would also be selecting payment options, not sure if that meant the author pays to get their work published or how they want to recieve their royalties. 60% is what they advertise.

In addition, The WriteDeal introduces the author with high quality works to traditional print publishers. Like I said its new, it’s interesting and I’ll wait for the reviews. So, what do you think?

 

 

 

New is Good

I gave in. I purchased a laptop with the hopes of getting more done, with writing that is. Sharing a desktop with four other people was difficult, but now I can hide in my room, a coffee shop, McDonalds, the book store, library, or wherever, and write on. I am excited about my next release, The Thrust, and now I can grab more time to finish it. I’ve joined The Book Marketing Network, Twitter, Branchout, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, and weRead and so I’ve been spending time getting familiar. I think they are addictive and I am enjoying the chats, and reads. I gave a review on Amazon and am about half way through on the next novel. I chose to purchase and read new author titles or at least new to me. They are Darcie Chan and A K Alexander, both entertained me well. I’ve jumped on board with reading and giving feedback on newly published authors and their work. It escapes me where I got the idea now, but we all need support, or at least reviews of our works, just as much as we need to write. I’m new too! I’m here to stay. I love to write fiction.

Back to Work

http://thebookmarketingnetwork.com/profile/TheresaSimpson

I’ve just boasted about my editor Diane Reynolds. She reviewed my first five chapters of the Thrust, edited and returned it for my review. I posed a question for anyone who wishes to share. Do you have an editor you’d love to to brag about? How well does that person work with you? I love being able to send five chapters for review myself that way I can move on with the story which by the way is at chapter seven. Though illness put me behind I feel rejuvenated and a late March early April release date is still planned. Oh how I love the thought of another title published 🙂

1st 10 pages

1st impressions. Final drafts.

The Delete Key

A real writer knows when to hit the delete key.

The Dystopian Nation of City-State

A cruel, futuristic vision created by science fiction authors James Courtney and Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills. ©2013-2016. All Rights Reserved. All writings available through Amazon.

Authordiscovery.com

Helping authors get found, get feedback, get fans, and even get famous!

ladybug and lulu

two little ladies. one continuous adventure.

How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks

self-publishing tips for authors

Christa Wojciechowski

Dark Fiction, Delirium, and Digital Marketing

readers+writers journal

Connecting Readers and Writers

When Nothing Goes Write

...and I mean nothing.

Andrea Reads America

A literary tour of the USA

Balls Deep and crying like a baby...

Reviews, ramblings, and crap like that from Rich Meyer.

Words That Stay

A Blog by K.M. Alleena

preposterousprose

20,000 leagues under the blog

Michael Frost's Frostbitten Blog

I wouldn't look under the bed if I were you.

Espen Stenersrød- From Pen To Heart

Jack Kerouac with a scent of Henry Vaughn

Sarah O'Flynn

Blogging My First Novel, one post at a time

audrey lexington

My dream is to become a professional bullshit artist. Or, as others prefer to call them, a novelist. I know, a highly unoriginal and unattainable goal. What's my back-up plan? Ninja fairy. Here's to being disgustingly unoriginal!

Writing in a RainDrop

Reigning Together Through the Raindrops of Life