Monday, May 31, 2021

The Worth of a Book

The other day, someone posted about book pricing to a group I follow.  She was merely stating that a series she'd been enjoying had jacked the prices up on subsequent books, making it hard for her to continue to purchase them.  And a load of people jumped on her for daring to say 7.99 was too much for an ebook.  (And it was pounds not dollars, so even worse.)  

The people jumping on her like she was a witch who needed to be burned seem to have forgotten a salient point - books, like any other commodity, are only worth what the BUYER wants to pay for them.  

Yeah, sure, writers put hours and hours of work into their product.  They pay for editing and cover art and marketing, too.  The last time I checked, I'd spent over $11,000 on publishing my books.  If we priced each book at the amount it was worth to us, no one could afford them.  As Hubs says, if I price them at $11K each, I only need to sell one.  But who'd buy it?

I know, I know... thinking about a book as a commodity gives some authors a case of the vapors.  But that's all it is... to the reader.  It's a thing to buy.  Versus all the other things a reader has to spend money on.  Sure, books provide hours of entertainment.  They can enrich your life and your mind.  But they are still only worth what the reader is willing or can afford to pay.  

Some made the argument that a book costs less than a movie, but provides longer lasting enjoyment.  Maybe so.  Lord knows, I'd rather read a book than go to a movie.  (Do people even go to movies anymore?)   But when the choice is buy a book or put that money toward groceries, the groceries win.  

And, by the way, we aren't the ones to say what the value of something OUGHT TO BE to someone else.  Maybe for them, a movie is worth more than a book.  

Again, the worth of the book is subjective and dependent on the buyer's whims, not the author's.

The poor gal who originally made the post about pricing had to shut it down to comments due to all the blasting she took.  I felt sorry for her.  She was only expressing an opinion.  I was right there with her and I said so before the comments went down.  They were saying things like 7.99 is nothing and trying to make her feel ashamed for questioning the price of someone else's hard work.  Maybe for them 8 per book is nothing.  For the gal, it was definitely something.  For me, it's definitely something.  

Would I like to get that much for my books?  Oh, hell, yes.  But I'm not going to berate anyone who can't afford that.  And I'm sure as hell not going to ask readers to shell out that much for a book when I can't do it myself.  Hell, I feel bad sometimes that my books are 3.99 or 4.99 because I know how it goes when you would like to read a book but can't justify the outgo in your budget.  

Those people who were blasting her for not considering what a writer puts into a book are guilty of not considering what a reader might be experiencing with regard to their finances.  Treating your readers like they're cheap assholes is not the way to go.  

Jus' sayin'.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Another Dystopian Freebie

Hey, Everybody!

I know I don't usually post here on Saturdays, and my brain hasn't had nearly enough coffee to be sparklingly witty yet, but I don't want you to miss the start of BLINK OF AN I being free.  

I love this book so much.  It was actually the third book I ever wrote, even if it wasn't the third book I published.  I dusted the manuscript off and sent it through to my editor, and together we got it in readers' hands in 2018.  (The actual paperback wasn't available until this year, though.  Sorry about that.)  

Anyway, the ebook version is free through June 2nd.  Grab a copy today.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Sales and Marketing Updates and Junk

It's the last day to get UNEQUAL for free.  Starting tomorrow, BLINK OF AN I will be free for 5 days.  Then the sales begin.  RUMOR HAS IT will be on sale from 6/2-6/8.  The first three genie books will be on sale from the 9th through the 15th and WISH HITS THE FAN will be free from the 9th through the 13th.

I'll schedule additional sales for other books for later in the month.  

The thinking on the Once Upon a Djinn series sale this time is this:  A lot fewer people have read the fourth book than the others.  And I really want them to read that last book.  It's the one where everything comes together and I'm really quite proud of it.  So I made it free, while the other books are cheap.  We'll see if it works.  If you haven't read that last book, you're missing out.

As of this morning, I only moved 12 copies of Unequal, which is kind of depressing.  Dystopian is hard to move anyway, but I guess right now, living in a pre-dystopian world makes it so people don't actually want to read about one.  :shrug:  We'll see what happens with Blink.  

I still don't have money in the budget for advertising, so I'm doing the best I can with the free outlets available to me.  Two of my go-to FB groups have gone to archive - which means they aren't live anymore.  (One of them went to archive in the middle of my advertising campaign, which blew my mind.  One day it was open and the next it was closed.)  FB keeps glitching out on me and making life difficult, but I am persevering.  I have a couple book groups I belong to on MeWe, but the reach still isn't there yet.  

Anyway, thanks to all of you who have read and reviewed my books.  I really do appreciate it.  If you haven't read or reviewed yet, I'd appreciate it if you did.  Every download helps.  Sales help more.  Reviews are icing on the cake.  

Monday, May 24, 2021

It's Dystopian Time

Mornin', Folks!

It's feeling a little pre-apocalyptic out there lately.  But mankind is not doomed.  We have the power to change things, to step off and move in a different direction.  In my dystopian novels, I detail possible futures and how the characters fight to change the worlds they live in.  Always with the mantra of all my books: Good guys win, bad guys lose.  And, of course, with loads of suspense along the way.  

So, with this in mind, I decided to make my dystopian novels free for a limited time.  Download a copy, send a copy to a friend.  Spread it around.  Will they save the world?  Who knows, but they can't hurt, eh?

First up, we have UNEQUAL.  Free worldwide from today through Friday.

We are all the same.  Equal.

In a world where being different is against the law, Rue Logan lives in fear of being branded Unequal and getting disappeared like so many others.  The Department of Equalization had other plans for her life, but she couldn’t let that stop her.  Now, she works her assigned job as a janitor by day and prowls the hospital’s corridors at night, saving lives.  

Until she’s caught.

On the run from the DOE, Rue finds others like her, Unequals working in secret to achieve their goals and live their lives.  But their leader has a mission of his own.  With war brewing, both sides need her skills to help them win.  Torn between her own deeply held beliefs and her desire to save the people she’s come to love, Rue must find a way to stop the conflict before any more lives are lost.  Even if it means uncovering secrets and lies that could break her world apart.

Saturday, BLINK OF AN I will be free through the 2nd.  

Always, these books are available with your Kindle Unlimited purchase, too.

Friday, May 21, 2021

International Paperbacks and Pricing

Recently, I received an email from Amazon that my paperbacks would now be available in Australia, and if I didn't go in and specify what I wanted those books to sell for, Amazon would choose a price for me.  When I went into each book to see what Amazon thought was a good price for my paperbacks, I saw that in each case, the amount they'd chosen would leave $0 for me.  

Umm... no.

So, I went through each and every book to change the price of the Australia paperbacks.  But in doing this, I noted that the prices I had let Amazon choose for all the other countries where paperbacks are available (based off my US price, supposedly) left very little meat on the bone for me. 

Noting this, I changed the prices for all international paperback copies.  I mean, come on.  I should be allowed to make a little somethin-somethin for the effort, eh?  I tried not to be greedy.  I mean, I make less on each paperback copy than I do on the ecopies of the same books - no matter what country it sells in.  

Unfortunately, with the amount Amazon takes for doing the job of printing and distributing, my paperbacks are not as cheap as I'd like them to be.  When you see the prices, don't curse me.  If I could give you all the same prices the trad pubs offer, I would.  I've got them all as cheap as I can make them - which is also why they aren't available for wide-distribution.  To give all those other sellers a cut,. I'd have to add even more money to the price just to eke out my dollar and change.  

It's the curse of being self-published, I guess.  :shrug:  There are quite a few of us self-pubs who don't even bother to offer hardcopy books because the expense versus the profit just isn't worth it.  I don't blame them.  But I wanted all of you to have a choice.  There it is.  

And, like I said, they're ALL now available as paperbacks in Australia.  Yay!  

And, if you're an author with paperbacks being printed and sold through Amazon, get in there and check your prices before you end up selling books and not getting any money for you.  Jus' sayin'.  

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Dishonest Reviews and Blackmailers

I read about something on FB yesterday and then again on a friend's blog this morning about a writer who is being blackmailed.  She got an email from some unknown person telling her that if she didn't pay, they were going to flood her books with bad ratings/reviews.  She didn't pay, and they did it.  (On Goodreads, at least.)  This dropped her new book from probably a 5-star average to a less than three star average - so far.  

First, this is a total shit thing to do.  They're screwing with a woman's livelihood here.  

Second, as readers, we should all be aware that not all ratings/reviews are honest.  In this case, it's blackmail.  In other cases, it's individuals with an axe to grind against the author.  And there are always the 'paid for' good reviews we should all already be aware of.  

If you're a reader, going off reviews and ratings helps you decide which book to lay down your hard-earned cash for.  And like many, you probably don't have the time to parse through stuff to figure out what's a real review and what's not.  Here are a few steps you can take to help you decide what's true.

Are all the questionable reviews lumped together in a short span of time?  

Do the reviewers have any kind of information about themselves on their own Goodreads pages?  No bios and no pictures are a big flag.

If there are reviews, do all the lumped reviews contradict all the other reviews?  Do they sound canned like the person couldn't have possibly read the book in question?  

Be a dear and spend a little time.  If you read the blurb and the book sounds interesting, check out the reviews themselves instead of going by the star average.  Read a little of the 'look inside' at Amazon (even if you don't buy your books there).  If the book still sounds interesting, give it a chance.  You can always return the book if you find it's not for you after all.  

And if you hear this has happened to a writer, I know the urge is to then go and give her a bunch of 5-stars to offset the bad ratings.  But this would be dishonest, too.  If you're interested in helping, shine a light on the practice so these cockroaches have nowhere to hide.  If that's not enough, and you have the spare cash, maybe buy the book and see for yourself if it's any good.  If it is, tell loads of people about it.  And then give it 5-stars.  

I hope this never happens to any of my friends.  Personally, if they tried that kind of blackmail on me, I'd have to fall over laughing.  You can't squeeze water out of a dry sponge.  Or maybe I'd turn it around and tell them that they need to pay ME a load of money so I don't report them to the authorities.  (Which I would still totally do, but hey, turnabout is fair play.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2021


I was reading something on a friends's blog the other day that got me thinking...  

Whatever you write, make it the best you can make it because your name is going to be on it FOREVER.

This is why we edit and proofread.  This is why we spend countless hours and days writing and re-writing, throwing the words out there and then rewording them.  This is why we obsess over commas and crutch words.  This is why we plot and we plan and we get all neurotic.  

I don't understand people who slap something together and put it up on Amazon.  Maybe they're using pseudonyms so they don't have to worry about their name being on it.  Maybe they have no pride.  Maybe they just don't care. :shrug:

FOREVER.  It's a long damn time to have something out there in the world that you can't be proud of.  

Every story I put out there in the world is something I am proud of.  If a hundred years from now, one of my stories is discovered and read, I'm proud to have them do it.  

The writers I know and love care.  They're proud of their works.  They should be.

Keep writing.  Keep caring.  Keep putting the best stories out there that you possibly can.  Be proud of yourselves.  

Monday, May 3, 2021

A Little Snippet of DN2

 I had this whole idea of a post to write for this morning, but I am not quite up to putting words in order yet, so here's a snippet of DN2.  If you've read DN1 - RUMOR HAS IT - this should give you a happy.  I hope.  It's totally first-drafty, so be kind.

The name on the door said Duke Noble, Private Investigator in gold letters.  I pushed the door open without knocking.  After all, it was my name on the door, even if I hadn't stepped past it in over a month. 

Pushing the door open took more effort than usual.  A stack of mail retarded its progress.  Sooner or later, I'd have to hire a new secretary.  The last one had left in a fit of pique the year before and I hadn't had the time or the inclination to replace her.  Somewhere along the way, she figured if she was my one gal in the office, she ought to be the one gal in my life.  I disabused her of the notion as soon as I caught wind of it and she was gone.  Afterwards, I came to value the fact that my life moved smoother without anyone to answer to or be responsible for. 

I threw my hat on a chair and a fine layer of dust rose into the sunshine slicing through my blinds.  I definitely needed to get cleaners in there before any paying clients arrived.  The fact that none were expected made my decision to delay the call that much easier. 

Striding past the unused and unlikely to be used desk where my secretary once sat, I entered my sanctum.  The dust wasn't as prevalent there, but most of the surfaces within had sheets to protect them.  Two utilitarian chairs sat facing a heavy mahogany desk and the opulent chair on the other side.  I eschewed my seat and went first toward the lone bookcase, pushed the tomes to one side, and removed a stack of newspapers I'd been meaning to read.  I grabbed a rag and cleaned a space for the weight I'd carried in with me.  As I set the urn into its new space, I whispered, "Welcome to your new home, Sara."