To $.99 or not, That is The Question!

Sharon S. (whom you may recognize as one of the fantastic reviewers from I Smell Sheep) posted a link to an article from the Huffington post – Are E-Books Too Cheap? The article discusses the pros and cons of pricing your ebooks cheap and asks whether low prices devalue the authors work.

Ho hum hem ha.

The problem is that authors talk about two different value systems interchangeably and with no distinction. One, the value of the finished product; the story itself. Two, the value of the time and effort spent to create the product. In many cases, those two values have little to do with one another. A great book might only have taken a month to do, meanwhile a horrible book might have taken three years. It’s the same for all of the arts.

For example, music. I’ve never written/composed/recorded music, but I know it’s a long, arduous, agonizing process to achieve quality. However, I’m not buying that song or album because of the process (time, effort, etc) I’m buying that song for the product.  It’s the value of the song itself that I, as a consumer, care about, not the value of their time.

The same goes for a painting, a movie, a cartoon, a drawing, etc. etc. Consumers pay for the end result – the product – or the name signed in the corner – still part of the product. They don’t care if it took you six months or six years to complete it. They aren’t reimbursing your time.

This leads me to a conversation I had a few days ago on the Self Published Author’s Lounge. I commented that I’ve been told before (and I have) that I’m not a “serious” writer because making money is not my first concern. Another author commented that there should be a distinction between being serious about writing and being serious about making money.  Yes! I agree completely. There’s a reason that the “starving artist” stereotype exists. They are the ones who are serious about their “art”, not about the money, while the business minded tend to churn out what the market wants and what will sell because their goal is to make money. Personally, I chose indy publishing to avoid that mindset.

I price my books cheap. Why? Because my goal is to have readers, not make a fortune. Sure, I’d like to make money, but mainly I want to entertain people. Does that make me a vanity author? Is there any other type? Only someone vain enough to think their words have meaning would attempt to be an author or expect someone to pay for their work. YES! We’re all vain! Just like the painters are vain, and musicians are vain and photographers are vain! We want to show people the word through our eyes because we think that our version of it is spectacular! And despite what some people lip service, there’s not a damn thing wrong with that. If you don’t have that ego, then you’re not pushing your work out there in the first place.

This is where determining the value comes in. We’re pretty much all vain, selfish people (I can admit it!). We poured hours of our soul, spirit, tears and sweat into this work of art; we put a part of ourselves into it, and we deserve compensation! The problem is, that your soul, tears and sweat can’t really BE compensated. I have greedy moments where I start to think “I’m worth more than this!”.  Then I stop, sit back, and think about when JK Rowling sued the Harry Potter Lexicon – whom she’d previously supported – because *she* was going to put out an encyclopedia and theirs would infringe on hers. The funny thing is, as a Harry Potter fan, I’d have bought both. After that, I now refuse to buy any more of her books.  I’m not stupid enough to think my one or two sales are going to matter to her, but they matter to me.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be paid, because we should. There is a product to be paid for. The problem is how much do we “deserve”? How do we determine the value of the finished product? By the hours we spent on it? (in that case each of my books is worth less than the one before because I’m getting better and need less hours of editing) By the monetary investment you put into it? (That makes my entire series worth 55$) Or is it by the enjoyment people get out of reading the story? Call me idealistic and childish, but that’s how I like to think people value my book. Not as something that took me six months to do, but as a good story that they enjoyed and want to read again.

And so long as they think that, I really couldn’t care less how much they paid for it.

On Smashwords and Amazon

Amazon has created a new program called kdp select.  The jist is that participating authors have a chance for extra money if their books are borrowed through the Amazon prime library lending program. To participate your books must be exclusive to Amazon.  This means they can’t be for sale anywhere else and you can’t put excerpts on your own sites or blogs.

I will not be joining this.

To do so would be the same as telling nook owners “sorry but you don’t matter.” And I have too many readers who own nooks (this was a surprise to me too!) I most certainly would never tell any reader that they did not matter. That they are willing to churn through my drivel makes them amazing people that I’m so, so grateful for – no matter what format they read it on.

The second reason has to do with loyalty. Smashwords was my first ebook experience. I’ve watched as it has grown over the last three years under the guidance of Mark Coker who has worked hard at negotiating distribution deals, updating the site and dealing with a lot of frustrating and sometimes annoying authors (I’m sure he’s dealt with nice ones too). I have mailed smashwords  at random times and always gotten a fast – and personal – response – even after midnight. I can’t say the same for Amazon. Smashwords has FAQs, free downloadable how to’s and will even send you a list of people who do formatting and cover work.  Amazon has a crappy forum that I can never find answers on and offers covers for 200$ (most of which anyone on the smashwords list would do for 75$ or less.) Smashwords allows you the option to make your work free. Amazon will only make it free if you can show that it is free somewhere else or you join the kdp select group. Smashwords offers multiple formats right on their page (including kindle’s .mobi files) and distributes – free of charge – to several other retailers (B&N, kobo, diesel, apple etc.). Amazon offers kindle files only. (admittedly with an app you can read those on a phone or PC.)

That’s not to say smashwords is perfect, though their faults lie in their sudden expansion. Because of the ebook publishing boom, they’ve been flooded with books that have to be processed. This means what once took a week now takes a month. And while I am as impatient as everyone else, I understand.  I used to make  two covers a month. I was lightning fast. Now I handle twenty or more. I’m not so fast now. If I were to expand and hire someone else to take half or more I could be, just like if smashwords hired a few hundred(or more) people like Amazon has they could be faster. though, frankly, I’m not sure I want them to turn into Amazon junior.

Maybe I am naive and lack the proper business mind set, but smashwords has always felt like “real people” to me, while Amazon is just a corporation. I have no loyalty to Amazon. If someone insults it I don’t feel the desire to defend it. Amazon only wants profits. They use me to get a minuscule amount and I use them back. Childish or not, smashwords feels more like a partner. I want them to succeed because I believe in what they’re doing. I am an indy or self pubbed who proudly does it all myself – just like smashwords does it themselves. We’re on the same wavelength. I expect amazon to screw me over. I trust smadhwords not to. Maybe there’s no room loyalty in business, but frankly that’s not the kind of business I want to be in. That’s why I went Indy in the first place.

Questions Every Writer Asks?

I got these questions from Barb’s blog, who got them from – well, go check her blog and see where she got them from 😉 *

10. Why is it so much easier to write about writing than to actually write?

I don’t really write about writing. Well, I mean I like to chat about things I am going to write or have written, but I’m not into the “you should do this or that” kind of posts. I’m afraid I don’t consider myself expert enough to tell anyone else what they should or should not do. However, when I am supposed to be writing, anything is easier than writing simply because it’s that old “I don’t want to do what I am supposed to do” mentality.

9. Why is my writing in my head so much better than the writing on the page? 
This is because in your head you don’t notice things like repetitive words, cliché phrases, etc. In fact, generally as I’m writing I am not paying attention to it and think it is literary gold until the dreaded read through. That’s when all those not-so-perfect things jump out. When writing in your head there is no read through.
8. How does time seem to fly by when I’m writing well, but yet crawl when I’m struggling to write one decent sentence? 
Time drags when I’m not in the mood to write because I am bored, and being bored always makes time move slowly, but when you’re in the zone, you’re not bored.
7. Do I have too many characters? Too few? 
I always have too many. I already know that. I try to kill some here and there to knock the numbers down.
6. How did I manage to forget that subplot that I began on page 20 and appears to have vanished without a trace? 
As Barb said, this is what read throughs, beta readers, editors and of curse editing in general is for. I know why I forget them, because in draft one everyone tends to focus on the linear storyline.
5. Good grief. How many more editing passes is this manuscript going to need? 
Finally found one I actually DO ask myself. Ha! The answer is usually “several”.
4. When will I ever consider myself a success?
This is also a good question, though I don’t have an answer for it. I guess it’s when I can stop making book covers because I am making enough from my books.
3. Will anyone really want to buy this book? 
I know there are 14 (yes, I added a new one! ha!) people who will want to buy it, not counting family. my question is: Will those 14 people LIKE it?
2. Will I ever have another good idea? 
Of course I will. I can churn out one novel idea a day. That’s the easy part.
1. What happens next? Really. What happens?
And out of the ten this is the third one I actually ask because I have no outline! Ha!
How would you answer these? do you ask these questions of yourself?

*(okay, okay, it was from The Blood-Red Pencil)

9-10-11 Ties of Blood is officially available on e-book!

Despite my being sick and out most of the week, Ties of Blood, book 3 in the Amaranthine series, is now officially available on Smashwords – just barely squeaking in at the last minute!

Don’t want to read it on the PC? No problem! Smashwords sells copies for Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, and others! Just download the appropriate version.

Wanna wait? no problem! Go here to read sample chapters and more!

The paperback will be following along – I have to wait for the proof to arrive (yes, again) so I can double check it before I approve it. Look for it in roughly four weeks.

Instead of putting the book description in here, I thought I’d take a moment to thank some people instead!

My husband, who is just as twisted as I am and maybe more so. I love you.

My mother, who knows the books better than I do and continues to re-read every time I re-write.

My brother, who happens to be one of my favorite people in the world. Also, to my father  – hey, vampire books are way more fun than politics! . And, of course my “UK representative” Rick and his miniature zoo.

Carolyn “Mighty Ed” Cason for once again stepping up and attempting to smack this manuscript into shape.

Jonathan Harvey for all of his bazillion distractions. If you want to waste time he’ll find you a million ways to do it. He also has a book (though there are no vampires in it).

My beta readers extraordinaire: Sharon, Julie, Steve, Super Schnurpel and Kathy.  Good beta readers are hard to find and you guys are worth a million!

Paul V. Montesino, PhD, fellow author and all around standup guy for his Spanish translation. He saved Jorge from being a victim of online translators!

Ruth Anne Nordin, fellow writer and friend for her encouragement to me and so many others.

Daniel Kennedy who pops up now and again, and who is to blame for this whole series.

 Susan “The Ever Delightful” Koenig way up there in Canada for her great suggestions and the smiles she brings.

The awesome gals at Indie Authors Unite, even though I have been absent lately.

And to everyone else who’s encouraged me over the last year. You have no idea how much a kind word can mean!

Lastly, a special thank you to God. Who says he doesn’t love a good vampire book?

*whew*  Look for website updates sometime this week, too, and maybe even a newsletter! *gasp*

Warrior by Violette Dubrinsky

This is an excerpt from Warrior by Violette Dubrinsky, a Fantasy-Historical novel available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance Books.

Excerpt:

Jaisyn tugged her arm free and pushed past him, grabbing the brass handle and pushing inward. No fire had been lit in that hearth in the days since her father’s death. Just thinking about that made her want to cry. Her father was dead, the kingdom was no longer theirs and a large, evil wretch of a king now occupied Wilhelm’s chambers. What had her father been thinking, giving Mathilda to someone like him? Of all his daughters, he betrothed the one who would run screaming from this giant of a man?

As she’d sat across from Vulcan, Jaisyn had critically assessed him. She knew that many would find him handsome, with his thick head of silky black hair that cascaded past his shoulders, and stern yet sensual face, but he was in no way approachable. She had no idea how to reach him. She had to do something to get her kingdom back, but she didn’t know what. The people of Lytheria didn’t live for war, and this man did.

So lost was she in her thoughts that she didn’t recognize Vulcan was pushing the door in until she heard an audible snap of the latch. She spun immediately, recognizing that the door was closed and his tall body was against it.

His eyes looked dangerous and that scowl still loomed on his lips. What was he doing?

“Remove your veil,” he said in that pompous voice of his. Was he serious? She was a princess, a daughter of Lyria!

“King Vulcan,” she began stiffly, her hands clasped tightly at her midriff. “You are in my castle because I wish it. Do not think to disrespect me in such a manner.”

***

Vulcan could have laughed at how she phrased that statement. He was not here because she wished it; he was in his castle because he had conquered it. Twice. He took a step forward and with her fighter’s instincts, Jaisyn took one backwards.

“Take off the veil, Princess.”

***

Did he suspect it was she who’d tried to kill him on that horrid night? She’d tried her best to put that night from her mind but she’d still had dreams—nightmares—about it.

“My liege, you are being disrespectful. I am a princess of Lytheria—”

Two quick strides brought him directly before her and in the next instant, he was plucking the crown from her head, pulling the veil off and tossing it aside.

Jaisyn let out a startled cry and spun away from him, moving over to the fireless hearth. Vulcan’s voice came from somewhere behind her.

“Turn and face me, Princess. Or are you afraid your face will bring back memories of a night not so far gone?”

He did suspect her. How? It didn’t matter, but he did. Which probably meant that he wanted revenge. And he had promised to continue where he’d left off if he ever saw her again. Her eyes darted to the broadsword above the hearth.

Her father’s sword rested there as a reminder of the great king who had once occupied the place. She sent up a quick prayer to Lyria, and one to her deceased father, praying she would not soon be joining him soon.

Quick as a fox, she reached for the heavy weapon, unsheathed it, spread her legs wide, and spun to face him.

***

Vulcan was accustomed to the unusual. He prided himself on not being shocked easily, but this…girl—not just any girl, but a princess—wielding a sword? It was almost comical, with her flowing dress and brandishing a man’s sword. The he remembered that this same woman had almost killed him as he slept. There was nothing funny about that.

He lifted his eyes to her face. Her skin was lovingly kissed with the sun’s rays—a dark bronze. Her mass of golden curls was pinned intricately atop her head, and her eyes, cat’s eyes—almost yellow in their vivid brightness—flashed angrily at him.

This was his princess. This had to be his princess, or else she wouldn’t be gripping a warrior’s sword, looking like she was ready to decapitate him.

“Put the sword down, lady,” Vulcan said as calmly as he, known for his bouts of temper, could manage.

Jaisyn lifted it higher as her soft lips curled into a snarl. “So that you can rip off more than my veil? I do not think so! Lytherians are not as barbaric as your people, my liege!”

“Put the sword down before I am tempted to take you over my knee!” Vulcan bit the words out angrily, and took a menacing step forward.

She moved to the left, and the grace with which she did so made Vulcan recognize something: she was at ease with the sword. If it wasn’t completely unheard of, he might even say that she was a swordswoman.

He began to tread more carefully. More than likely she wasn’t skilled at using the weapon, but he was taking no chances. Stupidity did not a High King make.

“I am giving you to the count of three. If that sword is still in your hand after that, you cannot hold me accountable for what I do,” Vulcan threatened.

She held onto the sword. Vulcan had had enough. He took a few steps forward, intent on twisting her arm, as he’d done a few nights ago, and pulling the weapon away from her. He didn’t even get close. As soon as he was in range, she flicked her wrist so the flat of the broadsword faced him, and swung. A resounding crash reverberated in the room as the sword caught his breastplate, pushing him back a step and making his ears ring.

“I will not warn you again! Do not come any closer!” she hissed out, her hands aching slightly.

Vulcan recovered from his state of shock as anger took him by full force. Steel screeched as he pulled his broadsword from its sheath and advanced on her.

About Violette Dubrinsky:

Violette Dubrinsky is the author of the Dark God, Warrior, and upcoming Moonlight (in which she introduces you to her werewolves) sagas. She enjoys writing romance stories with stubborn, at times, clashing characters, who eventually learn the error of their ways and sometimes grow to love each other. She is the youngest of three, and the only girl. As such, she was spoiled rotten (in her elaborate dreams), and always wished for a playmate closer to her age.  At a young age, she began creating stories to fill in for the lack of creativity on the part of her two older jock brothers. Violette resides in New York and Boston, and although she has no pets, is intent on getting a Malamute or Husky (since it is the closest she will ever be to a wolf and she is quite obsessed with werewolves) at some point in her life.

She can be reached at: violettedubrinsky.com and violettedubrinsky.wordpress.com

…………………………………………………………………………….
For more information on this and her other titles, please visit :

Chance to win a free copy of Target Identified by Lindsay Downs

T

Target Identified by Lindsay Downs

I’m late posting this, but if you hurry there is still time to enter Lindsay Down’s contest to win a free ebook copy of Target Identified, her new Thriller/Mystery novel.

To enter, follow this link to her blog, read the blurb and answer the question in a comment.  The first ten correct answers win a free ebook. SImple as that.

Go. Enter.

http://murdersandmysteries.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/contest-to-win-an-ecopy-of-target-identified/

Thought this was cool…..

This is another example of me mixing all my blogs up, but it is relevant in that Ron has an independently published book, and his new blog is about indy publishing, too!

http://rondvoigts.blogspot.com/2011/05/meet-penelope.html

Click the link above to meet Penelope, the character in Ron Voigt’s novel The Birthday Curse, which is available on Smashwords and coming to a paper back soon. I checked out the sample on Smashwords and found it so amusing that the full version is now sitting on my Kindle in the “to be read” folder.

Help Pick a Cover!

Persephone kidnapped by Hades.

Image via Wikipedia

Stephannie Beman is revamping her very hot novel My Lord Hades, including a brand new cover.  Since she can’t decide which image to use, she’s asking us to help her by voting in a poll on her blog:

http://stephanniebeman.com/2011/05/02/vote-for-picture-for-cover-of-my-lord-hades/

On her blog, click the names in the numbered list to see the selections – and what selections they are – and then select your choice from the poll beneath it.

Be sure to stop by and cast your vote. When else can you look at drool worthy photos and claim it’s for a good cause?

Tuesdays with Terry – Part 11

*As this is the last of the series, I want to take a moment to say a special Thank You to Terrance Foxxe for contributing posts for out Tuesdays with Terry segment! If you’ve missed it, be sure to check out the previous installments as it is jam packed full of information that any writer can use! Also, be sure to check out his books, and don’t forget, he has his own blog, too!

Now on with the show!*

Notes From a Twenty Year Almost Career. The guest musings of Indie Author Terrance Foxxe

 

Part Eleven

 

You want me to pretend I’m in front of an audience, and read it aloud? You’ve got to be kidding!

Nope. Believe it or not your ears will pick up on mistakes in grammar and pacing and sentences that don’t work, faster than your eye will. Reading may be done with the eyes, but the brain actuallyhears the words.

Silently, as you read any book or magazine, your brain hears it as if you are reading it out loud. Try to skim over the words of a favorite author, and see if you remember half of what was said five minutes later. Now relax, and read for the pleasure of it, imitating the voice the author has set down for you with sentence construction and punctuation. How much do you remember after five minutes?

I resisted doing this for the longest time, simply because I felt stupid doing it. Now I feel exceptionally stupid for not doing it.

I live in a house with very little privacy, and my wife and sons are not interested in what I do. Not really. Plus, well, as I said, I felt stupid.

There are writer’s groups, and you may be asked to read for them.

I don’t know. Me, I don’t do writer’s groups. I tried a writer’s group once, but I found a bad one. I arrived at the first meeting with high expectations, only to find most there were talking about writing, and not doing any writing. Okay, I thought, I’ll see about reading something I’m working on. Not to lead the group, but to get something productive done. I craved feedback.

I read, and then I was raked across the coals so hard . . . For forty-five minutes, I timed it, this little guy ranted about how my Horror should have humor, and basically, be just like his stuff. I told him it was my sandbox, and I’ll play in it any way I want. I left so angry I couldn’t see straight. I tried again, another meeting, and was sucker punched. I was told I was uncooperative. That sandbox remark came back to haunt me.

I never went back, and didn’t bother to look for another writer’s group. I tried to start one of my own.

The first question I was asked? “Are you published?” The answer then was no, and my small group never showed up for a second meeting. The all wanted me to give them the secret. The Magic Formula.

I was on my own, no computer, no feedback other than my many rejection slips. Hell, I would have killed for “The Magic Formula!”

Online writer’s groups can be a bad or good thing. Ghost the posts for a while, see what’s what, then decide for yourself. A good group doesn’t meddle with content, understanding that this is your sandbox, and you’ll play in it however you want. They should concentrate on the mechanics of good writing. Style, not content. Style is grammar, punctuation or logical progression. Too much detail? Not enough detail? The mechanics of writing.

I’m very happy with my content, but want to know if I missed something.

“I can’t see where you’re going with this.” Of course you can’t, and you should know that yourself. Hell, if someone out there can tell where a novel is going in just three fucking chapters, I want to meet them and kiss their ass.

I try to limit my own comments on how they can make their own writing better. If the writing is great, but they misspelled a word, I let them know about the typo and tell them it’s great. So . . .

What is The Magic Formula?

To be truthful, there is no such thing.

The magic to all this is a matter of knowing just what the hell it is you’re doing, and why the hell you’re doing it. Knowledge is power. That’s the magic.

I hope you enjoyed my series. Now, go buy my books! Find out for yourself if I’m full of shit. I might surprise you with a great, provocative novel.

******

Terrance Foxxe is crazy enough to share everything he knows about catering to readers, because readers matter most to the Indie Author of today, and tomorrow. He had two books published under his real name, only to discover publishers really suck. After being royally ripped off and then some, he is the Indie Author of A Post-apocalyptic Story of Love,$2.99 USD & In The Dreaming, $0.99, both for the Kindle. Links provided. He’s now a happy man. Buy his books. Read them. Write reviews.

Post Apocalyptic Love Story

The Dreaming

He blogs at http://terrancefoxxe.blogspot.com/

Spring Fever Book Sale

not too bad closer.jpg

Snow flakes on a flower....

Spring is here – or so the calendar says – and to celebrate Indie Authors Unite is having a Spring Fever Sale!  With 65 books under $.99 you’re sure to find something to entertain you while you wait for Mother Nature to catch up with the calendar!

Participating authors include:

  • Linda S. Prather
  • Valerie Maarten
  • Samantha Fury
  • Elizabeth Reeyes
  • Alex Knight
  • Larry Enright
  • Angela Carlie
  • Tracey Alley
  • Tommie Lynn
  • & more! (including yours truly!)

if you’re looking for spring bargains, be sure to check it out!

  • Tales of the Executioners

    Short stories from the world of Amaranthine; a universe of blood and darkness where vampires don't sparkle and night is eternal. Each is about a member of the Executioners squad; the special vampire "police" force. Members both past and present share stories of assignments, origins, and more.

    Dark, light, love, laughter, death...you never know what you'll find in the shadows.

    Get your copy today!

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    October 11th: The release of the Chills Down Your Spine Too anthology, featuring Weeping Hemlock.

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    Joleene Naylor

    An independent author, freelance artist, and photographer for fun who loves anime, music, and writing. Check out my vampire series Amaranthine at http://JoleeneNaylor.com or drop me a line at Joleene@JoleeneNaylor.com

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