Category Archives: culture

99 cents doesn't undervalue me

Amazon Kindle 2

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Since going free on the kindle Second Chance Romance has  been downloaded a lot. The other two are selling well.

I almost regret not being totally obscure anymore. I feel like people are watching me now. Whereas before I used it as a way to hone my craft.

I’m only making 35% on each sale via Amazon.

Some people would argue that I should raise my prices to 2.99 and get the 70%. But, I’m not going to.

Artists are not entitled to a certain amount of money. No one is. I am not in this for the money. No writer can start out that way. I write because I love it. I have to write. I may even submit to a publisher someday. My books may be the best example of indie work is sub-par.

At least I’m giving it a shot. I am evolving and growing.

If my had not gone Free, I would have been sitting at 50 sales a month give or take. After the initial blitz I still might fall back to that.

Any money I get from this is gravy. Most writers say they can’t make it as ONLY a writer. I’m reading Hugh MacLoed’s book “Ignore Everyone” and he says “artists” have 2 jobs: their creative, fun job and a job that pays the bills.

I’ve heard the argument that if you sell your book for .99 it’s undervaluing the work you did. Your work is worth more than 99 cents. There was hours and hours.

To one person my book might be worth $5 or $10 or $20. To someone who doesn’t like romance, it’s not worth the energy and bandwidth it would take to download my book to their e-reader. To me, no book is worth $20. I will never buy a hardcover.

When you buy a physical book, you aren’t paying the author for their time. The publishing house did that already, now they’ll get a kickback for letting a publishing house licence their words to someone else. (Publishing is a really messed up system if you really look at it). When you buy a hardcover the author’s portion is like 15%. Puh-leaze.

99 cents isn’t undervaluing myself. Readers don’t want to pay 2.99 for an unknown with three books out. When I have 10 releases, when I have an established platform, I can charge $5 if I want.

I don’t have an established platform. I’m not writing material that is really popular (paranormal). My heart is not there. My heart right now is in these hockey novels. After that, i have an idea that I’ve had for a long time (I got it while I was working on Summer Fling) for a paranormal type. I am in love with the idea, but I had to do the hockey first.

I am not saying all new self-published author’s should release their books at 99 cents. I’m not saying it’s bad to list your first book at 2.99 or 4.99. If it’s right for you, go for it. I have thought about this for a long time. Under 2.99 is what I think is a fair price.

As for free, the turn around in downloads and sales has explained to me that free really does work. My next plan is finish my last of three short stories I have for free and bundle them for the Kindle. Maybe four short stories, I have a Up in Flames short story regarding SPOILER. Can’t tell you yet.

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Urgh growing as a writer

Someone emailed me some typo locations yesterday from Second Chance Romance. I cringed as I fixed them. I am so unhapy with it. I have grown so much since I wrote that book. It needs a total overhaul, but i don’t have the time or energy.

I had a long conversation with my husband about it. I wanted to delete Summer Fling, it’s my weakest book.

I’ve read author comments where they say they wish their first book would disappear or it was right to be rejected. I get that. I just don’t know what to do. I stand by the story, just not how it was told.

On the other hand:

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
— Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words)

Making mistakes means I’m doing what people are scared of. And so what if I don’t become rich, most authors do not. The only place I can go is up. I have to go write I had a terrific historical erotic idea. There are not enough of those.

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Free Second Chance Romance

Since Second Chance Romance is distributed to the world minus Amazon via Smashwords for free, Amazon said it was doing a price match.

So, Second Chance is Free on Amazon.

And I have it categorized as Erotica. Therefore, I got 10,000+ downloads yesterday. Another thousand this morning. It was #1 in Erotica, and #17 on the Kindle list.

I can’t check what it is this morning because I’m refusing to look. I’m refusing to look because I don’t know if there are new reviews. I dont’ want to read reviews. I’m more or less happy with the book. I don’t know what others will think of it. I don’t what people will think of it being listed as erotic. There are three or four sex scenes and one of those is anal.

I think that reviews will hurt me, but they do. I take them personally. I am disappointed when people say they don’t like it. And I don’t want to be one of those authors that goes crazy and starts yelling about negative reviews. So I’m not going to look.

It’s been a weird day for me. Summer Fling and Complications over Coffee are up as well. Not huge, like 20 books each, but that’s more than I usually get in a month.

I haven’t seen an uptick on blog traffic either. We will see in the next few weeks what happens.

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On getting better

Having fun and not being the best does not mean I am happy with my current level of profiency.

I recently put Colours of the Rain up for critique at Critique Circle.

I feared putting up something on Critique Circle. I didn’t want to hear “you suck, quit writing.” I feared that was the truth.

The feedback has been good. And helpful. Overwhelmingly helpful, I’m not sure where to start. Only one thing said I didn’t agree with. Which was that the starting scene shouldnt’ be there. But it’s the tie in to the title of the story, so I can’t cut it. But I have a better way to tie it in.

The good is that I don’t tell, I do show most of the time. What I’ve not shown was written when I was working out the characters etc. Good to know and something I couldn’t see. My characters are likeable. The plot is followable and enjoyable.

The bad is that a few typos. I tend to write “your welcome” instead of “you’re (you are) welcome”. I overuse WAS. It was, there was. Was, was was. I’ve been working on things so hard that when I write first drafts I worry about my use of WAS.

Does being imperfect mean I should have kept Colours of the Rain to myself?

No. I do have moments of panic when I worry that letting my imperfect writing will wreck my chances of being read as I get better.

Y’know what? The best authors in the world with legions of fans who support their every move and will claw your eyes out if you say something bad about them, these authors have readers who HATE them. A handful, a hundred.

Sure, it will deter some people.

Just as some people don’t shop at the Dollar store.

I don’t wholly want to infer that my writing is of bad quality. It doesn’t have the benefit of a $1,000/hr editor. But, some of those books aren’t worth the price you pay for them either. So …it’s not that bad of a metaphor. 99 cent book. Maybe you do get what you pay for.

I question the assumption that every written world there must be PERFECT. How much do computer companies get to charge for their software that crashes, freezes and is less than perfect? Why do we put up with the cost?

Publishing companies have taught us to expect it because they held the gate for many years. They said was good enough and what wasn’t. now the reader can decide. And I really don’t expect people to flock to my book and heap praise upon me because it’s the best thing ever written.

I know I limit my success due to the imperfection. I’m just refusing to stay in the shadows until I reach some goal. I’m putting my shit out there and a few people are reading it and liking it.

If in five years, I find that Colours of the Rain and Second Chance Romance and the rest of the imperfections are hurting my sales. I’ll dump the name. It’s not that hard to find another one. Especially when your entire premise is that you make shit up and people pay for your made up shit.

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Why cheap and free are okay

But what about free content?

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I’m sure people hoard 99 cent books because they are cheap to buy. Some people download free content and never around to looking at it. I have a ton of free pdfs that I’ve forgotten about. They sit in a folder entitled “books” or “downloads” and once in a while I find them, glance through the pages, realize it’s not for me and delete it.

It’s still a valid way to get your name out to people.

Especially when it comes to short stories. Colours of the Rain has been downloaded 1500 times. If a tenth of the people read it that’s 150 reads. If half of them read it, that’s 700. Cool!

Second Chance Romance
has 748 downloads. If 5% read it and buy Summer Fling, that’s 40 sales.

It’s far better than no one buying it at 5.99 or even 2.99. I know I could get a higher royalty at 2.99 on Amazon. And I consider changing it and seeing how many copies get sold.

Part of why I don’t have it at 2.99 is I don’t feel like it’s a 2.99 book. I said before in my imperfection that my writing is 70%. I don’t have the 30% to get a professional set of eyes on it to push it past 100. I’m getting better at it.

I know 99 cents is equated with a less professional book. Maybe I’m reinforcing that attitude. Hey, become a beta reader and point out my flaws before I release the book. Email me asrai.rdATgmail.com. 🙂

The second reason I’m going with free and cheap is I just want to be read. At two  years into the writing. self publish journey, I don’t expect to be on the best seller’s list. Many of the author’s going around talking about self-publishing are established, they have a name, they are known, so their success doesn’t apply to me.

ALso, I don’t have a strong backlist yet. I have three novel length books on Amazon and Smashwords. I have two short stories for free. That’s not a lot. I’m building my platform, I’m building my readership. That is more important to me than 70% royalty.

Lots of people can write about why 2.99 is better than .99 cents. It’s not better. It’s different. It’s not a lack of pride.

If you go with 99 cents because it’s cheap and lots of people will buy, do your research. Make sure you are setting a price point that works for you.

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Everyone has an opinion

I follow a few author’s blogs and a few of them have stepped out and said that self e-publishing is not the way to go. If you can, get with a “real” publisher. One who can market you and edit you and fit you into their mold.

You gotta wonder about their motivation.

I am just saying authors with contracts have a vested interest in publishers going strong. If they can convince a few people that indie is a bad thing …

They have convinced themselves it’s the right way, which translates into the only way for some people.
If indies do become stronger than the Big six.

Shit did those authors catch the wrong wave.

Ah, Zementa has many related articles, but I’m not going to link to anything else. It’s out there peeps.

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Why you should be imperfect

I wrote a long post justifying my imperfection in my novels.

When what I wanted to say was this:

Imperfection is okay.

At least I’m out there letting people read my words. And while I let people read my attempts so far, I’m working getting better. Everyday.

I would rather have 100 people tell me my grammar isn’t perfect but my stories and characters are great (which all my feedback so far has said) than to have my novels sitting on my hard drive.

Writer’s have a great opportunity before us. We can write something and put it out there. Chances are at least one person will read it. Or we can sit with our thumbs up our butts and in 10 years look back with regrets.

My husband has a theory that when people feel crappy about hitting 30 or 40 it’s because they feel like they having accomplished enough. If you want to be an author, then be an author. If you want to start a business, do it. Whatever you want to do, you can do it.

Now is the time.

Not everyone can deal with my writing “mistakes”. Not everyone will like my writing. (If you buy something you don’t like there is a period in which you can get a refund from most retailers).

You know what? Not everyone likes Twilight or Harry Potter or whatever. A lot of people do. Should we deprive the world of them because one, a hundred, a thousand people don’t like them?

I won’t even go into the people who run around going “but who is checking on the quality?” Woe is me the sky is falling because someone published some crap. People have been publishing crap for ages.

Some people like the crap (Quentin Tarantino keeps making movies, I know a lot of people who live for the reality series the Bachelor save us from the world where love is a contest and bad writer’s get published by “the big six legacy publisher’s).

So I say, fuck everyone who demands perfection.

They might be people who are afraid of failure.

Failure and imperfection mean you are doing something. You are trying and you aren’t afraid to do things that might not work. I’m not suggesting that if you release a novel you edited yourself that you’ll be the next bestseller. Lower your expectations. You might not even pay your electricity bill for a summer month with the proceeds.

And people might give you crap for promoting the image that indies aren’t professionals.

We try to teach children not to worry about what other’s think about them. And then we are too afraid to try for our dreams because of what other people might think of us. do what you are afraid to do.

Releasing a book that has a misspelling or grammatical error is not a matter of life and death. No one is going to come to your door and yell at you. The grammar police may have a little tantrum in the corner. A reader or three might ask for refunds. (No one has asked for a refund of anything yet). But not following your dream can have a huge impact on your life.

No one can stop you from trying. Let’s see what happens when they see us coming.

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