Tag: epublishing (Page 2 of 3)

A discussion of value

What is the value of a book?

No, really! Please tell me what you think it is. I’m curious to hear the different answers and reasons.

Specially I’m wondering, what price do you want to pay for a new hardcover? A new ebook? An independently published or self-published paperback? An indie or self-pubbed ebook?

I’m looking for insight because of my experiments with TWENTY-SOMEWHERE. For a while now I’ve been debating taking the plunge and offering 20SW for 99 cents. I finally did it as a May promotion, so if you’ve been curious and have $1 to spare, you can get your very own copy from Amazon, the iBooks store, or Smashwords (which offers many formats for your computer or mobile device). I’d also love some more reviews — honest ones, of course!

Now, I have very mixed feelings about the 99 cent price point. As a reader, of course it’s a great deal. But then it again, it also isn’t much of an investment. The problem with super cheap or free books is that there’s no incentive to read them. When I first decided to read ebooks on my iTouch, I loaded up on free stuff. Weeks later, overwhelmed by the clutter, I had to delete almost all of it.

I’ve heard that lots of people (who are apparently slightly less cheap than me, lol) do the same thing with ebooks that cost only $1 or $2. On the one hand, the author doesn’t care, right? Because whether you delete the book off your ereader or not, that’s money in their pocket. But on the other hand, what authors need more than money is an audience. Without fans, you can’t make a living. You can’t have a career.

Furthermore, is 99 cents really a fair trade for all the hard work an author put into a book? (Especially given that authors really only get 30 cents of that back.) What happens if readers become accustomed to that price point? What if they start thinking that’s what books — even the printed kind — are really worth?

As my business-minded boyfriend would surely tell me, at the end of the day books (like everything else) are worth whatever people are willing to pay for them. And a lot of factors go into that.

(For the record, I am willing to pay more for a good story, quality writing, and professional formatting. In printed or electronic form.)

The “digital revolution” is amazing, and I absolutely believe in it. I guess I’m just worried. Worried about books costing less than a pack of gum. Books, which teach us so much. Which take us to strange and exciting places. Which introduce us to new people. Which make us feel love and fear and hope.

Personally, I think my ebook 20SW is worth more than 99 cents. In terms of what I put into it, and what people have told me that they got out of it, I think its regular price of $2.99 is a good value. But I’m trying not to be stubborn, trying to learn all that I can about what readers want instead of what I think.

And I’m trying to remind myself that 99 cents hasn’t killed the music industry. It probably won’t kill me either.

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What’s been going on

  • I decided to go ahead and offer the full 40 episodes of Twenty-Somewhere on Smashwords (which converts it into pretty much any format you could want for your computer, phone, or ereader) and I’m in the process of doing the same at Amazon. This makes it easier and cheaper for readers to get the whole story. (Considering my modest sales, and the major revisions ahead, I don’t think any agents or editors will care.)
  • BIG thanks to Sonja for adding her review to 20SW episodes 1-4 so they didn’t look so crummy with just a little 1-star rating. (I’ll have to comment on those reviews after the update so that people realize they were in response to an earlier version that only had the beginning episodes.) Sonja = awesome. ^_^
  • Progress on the 20SW proposals & sample pages is… progressing. My friend and fellow writer John suggested a structure for the opening chapter that I really like, and thus the writing is finally coming together! My self-imposed drop dead deadline to submit materials to The Major Publisher is July 19th — exactly 12 weeks after I got the request from them. I’ve been told that’s a normal/reasonable timeline.
  • In Colorado I started reading War Dances by Sherman Alexie, finished when I got back, and am now reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Your turn: What’s going on with y’all? What have you been up to?

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A for effort?

Continuing with the Best of 2009 Challenge

December 21 Project. What did you start this year that you’re proud of?

Hmm. I’m waffling on how to define “project” here. Maybe I’ll just list “efforts” that I’m proud of. They are:

  • Using “waffling” in a blog post.
  • Using a lot of quotation marks in same post.
  • Making it to the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest. But I probably could have gotten farther had my manuscript really been ready, so that’s a little bittersweet…
  • Earning my first royalties by experimenting with Amazon’s Kindle publishing platform. A total of like $25, lol, but hey, getting paid to write is getting paid to write!
  • Realizing I would probably be better suited (and happier) writing for people in their teens and twenties. This doesn’t sound like an “effort,” but believe me, it wasn’t an easy thing to put away the notions I’d carried about my literary career for over 15 years.
  • Writing Twenty-Somewhere for fun — and then having it attract the attention of St. Martin’s Press! Completely unexpected and wonderful, even though its chances of getting published are about as good as my chances of… ending this sentence with something clever and amusing.
  • Reading all of Kiersten White’s blog archives. Well technically I’ve only read 60%, but at the rate I’ve been devouring her words, it will almost certainly be done before the end of the year. Or maybe even before I finish writing this post…

All right, maybe it hasn’t been such a good-for-nothing year. In fact, maybe it’s been a pretty decent one. But I’m hoping 2010 will be even better. At least in terms of “projects to be proud of,” and specifically for my writing career. I guess you’ll just have to check back in a year to see how I fare! ;)

But enough about me. Seriously. What projects (or “efforts”) from this past year are you proud of?

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10K

Updates:

  1. The Links page no longer shows URLs, but rather people’s names and then their site/blog title. Even though I also shrunk the font, I think this is much more readable.
  2. Amazon decided to not let people put Kindle books in their aStores anymore (if you don’t know what an aStore is, don’t worry about it) so I had to create an Author page instead. Don’t get me wrong: I’m very excited about my shiny new Amazon Author page! BUT. It’s not as attractive or easy to manage as the aStore was. Supposedly they are still working to populate all my “books,” but for now the bibliography is unfortunately incomplete.
  3. The buttons at the top of this site (just under the masthead) have changed to reflect #2.
  4. “The Eraser” has sold a couple copies! I’m still not sure how to market it (9 yr old protagonist, not a happy ending, but not a sad/scary story either…) but I’m glad people are reading it.
  5. I want this woman’s life! Okay, maybe just her 3-BOOK DEAL WITH HARPERTEEN. But, you know, details.
  6. I’m not really kidding. I want a 3-book deal.
  7. I put up the next set of episodes of Twenty-Somewhere. This means I only have 1 more set left. This means I must write new episodes!
  8. Word Count – Aug 18, 2009:
    10,000/50,000

    Or somewhere thereabouts. It’s late, and I’m too tired to type up what I wrote today. But I am getting better at estimating the word count from my handwritten pages. And I finished a journal! I LOVE the feeling of using up one journal and starting the next. My new one has a cute cream-colored puppy on the cover, with the words, “Knuddel mich…” We’re guessing that means “Cuddle me”? (And no, not all my journals look like they belong to a 12-year-old girl.)

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Who says you can’t go home?

As Sonja pointed out, I have been AWOL, thus denying you your not-quite-NaNoWriMo voyeurism. Sorry! Here’s my best estimate of the current word count. I’m still behind on typing because Wednesday was busy, Thursday was weird, and today I’m just tired.

Word Count – Aug 14, 2009:
8,500/50,000

The bright spot has been adding 2 new Kindle/iPhone/iPod Touch offerings and seeing some sales growth.

theeraser_kindle  20SWeps1720kindle

My friend John says this most recent Twenty-Somewhere cover is responsible for the growth. ;P

Actually, several people this week have purchased the entire 20SW series, which says to me that they like it, which says to me that I don’t completely suck. Woot!

I also updated the website buttons, the Writing page, and the Twenty-Somewhere page. I’m happy with them, even though it means more manual work for me.

Anyway, time for bed. I probably should be writing, but I’m giving myself a holiday. The bags under my eyes insist.

(Sigh. I think Eric is going to beat me…)

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