Tag: Twenty-Somewhere Page 3 of 11

Giveaway winners, ebook pricing, and parentheses

Apparently it’s a day for J’s. The June giveaway winners are Janet for THE BOAT and Julia for BEE SEASON. Congra-julations! I’ll email you shortly for mailing addresses.

Thanks to everyone who entered.

If anyone wants to win ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis, PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White, or AS LONG AS WE BOTH SHALL LIVE by Lurlene McDaniel, hop on over to We Heart YA. Me and my crit partners have a fun and easy giveaway going there too. (Not too many entries so far, so your odds are good!)

I’m not sure if anyone is curious about this, but just in case, I thought I would update you on my ebook pricing experiment. In May, I (somewhat reluctantly) lowered the price of my ebook TWENTY-SOMEWHERE to 99 cents. My concerns were that this would show that I didn’t value my work (which I do!) or didn’t consider it to be of quality (which I do!). However, I also didn’t want to be too proud or stubborn to try something that has been successful for many writers. (Although fewer than the media would have you think.)

What I found was that I definitely sold more copies at 99 cents than I did at $2.99. However, because of the difference in royalty percentages (35% at 99 cents vs. 70% at $2.99) I would have had to sell SIX times as many copies to make the same (small) amount of money. I only sold about three times as many copies.

So. Midway through June, I decided to go back to my original price point. I figured I’d rather earn more money selling fewer copies — and entice people to actually READ my work, since anecdotal evidence suggests that many people “stock up” on “freebies and cheapies” but never actually get around to reading them.

(Case in point: I have like a dozen 99-cent-or-less titles on my Kindle. They have been sitting there for weeks, and will probably continue to do so until I find myself stranded without reading material for a long period of time.)

However, an interesting thing happened.

I use Smashwords as an intermediate to publish my ebook to Sony, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and a few other retailers. Because of the extra steps involved, price updates to those retailers could take anywhere from days to weeks. (Interestingly, my price DECREASE went through immediately, whereas my price INCREASE has yet to propagate.) So right now, my ebook sells for $2.99 everywhere except Sony, Kobo, and… Amazon?

Apparently, even though I directly control the price of my ebooks at Amazon, they do a competitive price-matching thing. And to my pleasant surprise, I as an author am not penalized for that. Because I set my price at $2.99, I get the 70% royalty rate, even though Amazon is selling my ebook for 99 cents (which technically is supposed to only get a 35% royalty rate). So it’s win-win: I get the higher royalty rate, readers get the low low price.

What doesn’t change is that I don’t know if anyone is actually READING my ebook. It got another rating or two on GoodReads, but nothing at Amazon or the other online retailers. Bummer, but oh well.

So that’s where things stand now. I would like ALL the retailers to get back to the $2.99 price point, and I may have to send some support emails to Smashwords if I don’t see that happen soon. But in the meantime, this isn’t an awful compromise, and now I know some more about playing with the pricing and royalties.

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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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My humble contribution to Japan

I don’t recall when exactly, whether it was before or after we arrived in the Galapagos, but I remember asking Andy how weird he thought it would be if something major happened while we were on vacation. Like Americans who were abroad during September 11th. How disconnected and helpless they must have felt. How clueless we would be without phone or email.

After a quick discussion, I’m sure neither of us gave it much thought — until the early morning hours of our fifth day. Andy woke me up saying, “There’s been a massive earthquake in Japan, and now we’re under a tsunami warning.”

The National Park Service forbid anyone from going ashore and evacuated everyone already on land to higher grounds. Our entire day of activities was canceled, and we moved out to deep, open waters to wait out The Wave. For hours we were glued to the ship’s staticky TV, trying to translate reports from Japanese to Spanish to English. But understanding didn’t require words. The images were devastating, and getting worse every minute. Eventually we changed the station, left the room, tried to think about something else.

Since then, Japan has been hit with two more earthquakes, not to mention all the aftershocks, flooding, nuclear troubles, and more. Thousands are dead; thousands more homeless, penniless, starving. The only thing more amazing than the destruction they have suffered is the outpouring of support they have received.

In December, with the help of readers and friends who spread the word, TWENTY-SOMEWHERE and “The Eraser” raised over $100 worth of proceeds for the It Gets Better Foundation. Now in April, I’m donating all proceeds to the Red Cross relief efforts for Japan. Hopefully we can raise as much if not more.

(Note: The stories have nothing to do with Japan, but as of right now they’re the only revenue stream I’ve got.)

My absolute favorite thing about the online writing community is their generosity. Whether helping to critique a query letter, or just reaching out to offer support during a difficult time, I’ve been astounded by how caring everyone is. So I’d also like to recognize a few other fundraising efforts for Japan, all of which have root in the writing community.

Current (as of this posting):

  • Pirene’s Fountain is planning to sponsor an anthology of poems, flash fiction, essays, etc. about what is going on in Japan. Interested submitters can make a statement, show love and support, speak about Japan’s importance to the world, its culture, loss, recovery, whatever they wish. Paste in body of email to pirenepublisher (at) gmail.com, along with an idea for a title and brief bio. Deadline: November 1, 2011. Any/all proceeds will go toward relief efforts.
  • KidLit4Japan is a children’s and YA literature auction to benefit the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This is the final week!!
  • The 2:46 Quakebook project started with a tweet. Now it’s a rich collection of essays, artwork and photographs submitted by indivdiuals around the world, including people who endured the disaster and journalists who covered it. Sales from their cover poster alone have reached over $15,000. The book is available on Amazon.
  • Added 4/19: Author Barbara G. Tarn is giving 100% of her earnings on Barb & Masayo’s Stories to the Japanese illustrator she collaborated with.
  • Added 4/19: Stories for Sendai is accepting submissions for their anthology to benefit Japan. They are looking for works that show the strength of the human spirit. Deadline is May 15th.

Closed (as of this posting):

Les wrote a lovely post on Japan and listed some more relief efforts there. So did Amanda. I’m sure there are many more writers and bloggers who want to help — and please, if you know of any or are doing so yourself, let me know! I would be happy to add to the list.

My humble contribution pales in comparison to some of these efforts, but I believe that every bit counts. I’m sure the people of Japan do, as well.

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Two notes

1.

To whomever searched for “how to pronounce the namer kristan,” the answer is, just like Kristin or Kristen. But NOT like Christine, Christina, Kris-TAN, Christian, Kristy/Kristi, Krista, or Kirsten/Kiersten.

Oh wait, I just noticed it says “namer,” not “name.” In that case, I have no idea.

2.

After a final tally, December sales of Twenty-Somewhere and “The Eraser” earned $128.47 (and £2.04) for the It Gets Better Project. I have to admit, that’s about double what I was hoping for/expecting, so I was really pleased! Thanks to everyone for your support, and for helping me support a good cause. :)

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Writerly Wednesday

I told you it was going to be quieter around here, eh?

No worries, everything is fine. I’m just enjoying some down time after a hectic holiday season that started with Thanksgiving and ended with… oh wait, it isn’t over yet! Well in that case, I’m stealing a few moments for myself in the midst of this hullabaloo.

(I’m also resisting a silly urge to redesign this site, and wishing I had the talent to turn even the most boring day into a good story.)

Anyhoot, while I go off to read my friend’s awesome work-in-progress (and work on my own!!) please enjoy these links:

  • First, a reminder: 100% of my December proceeds will be donated to the It Gets Better Project. To purchase either Twenty-Somewhere or “The Eraser” in support of this cause, please visit Amazon, the iTunes bookstore, or Smashwords.
  • Next, via Erin (danke!), author Sherwood Smith gives advice to young NaNo-ers. This quick pep talk is filled with gems like…
    • “There is no wrong method, it’s just finding the kickstart that works best for you.”
    • “‘Action’ doesn’t have to be slam-bang gunfights or space ship chases or explosions, though those can be fun.”
    • “Action and reaction are the bones and sinews of a book.”
  • Last and most amusing, an aspiring poet decided to create a documentary instead. Behold Bad Writing, the movie:

Sadly there are no screenings in my area, but if I were in LA, NYC, Austin, or Madison (Wisconsin? seriously?) I would totally go check it out.

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