Category Archives: projects

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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Letting go of what isn't working

I wrote 6,000 words on a novel.

It wasn’t working. I re-thought my character and went back to work.

I wrote 13,000 more words.

And I forced the conflict.  My characters are not meshing. I didn’t give a damn about if they got together or not.They were damp carrots in a cold plot soup.

I decided to drop the whole thing.

It was difficult. I put a lot of time and energy into those words. A lot of lost sleep and cuddle time is in there.

I’m onto my next project. There will be four Flames novels. The four original guys in Second Chance Romance. Kip Turner, Kyle McLachlan, Corey Porter and Doug Black.

The best thing is now that I’ve stopped what wasn’t working, the inspiration and excitement is back.

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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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How I inspired myself

I have untold amounts of time to lay around. I practice attachment parenting (the co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, babywearing type) and he’s a very dependent sleeper. So I nurse him to sleep a few times a day. Which equates me laying around a lot.

I forgot to grab my book to read at nap time and my mind is very busy. As Summer McStravick says her mind is like “a little yappy dog that’s always on the go, yapping”. (That’s a paraphrase of her I can’t recall her exact words and since she said it on a podcast I don’t have a link). My mind is a “yappy dog” that never shuts up. I’m pretty sure I’m a little ADD, and I hate being unentertained.

So, on the note of Summer McStravick, she has this idea called Flowdreaming. Where you do a guided mediation with positive energy and emotions and thinking. It’s like positive thinking supercharged of sorts. Which equates with what I read in The Purpose of Your Life by Carol Adrienne where she says positive thinking isn’t just all happy thoughts, it’s setting your intention for the way you want to feel and going after that feeling.

Back to where I was lying around and my mind was yapping at me for some direction. I turned to my next hockey novel whic h I abandoned due to lack of feeling it. I abandoned the project I went to after that, because of my second Rule “No writing stuff that isn’t fun.” I wasn’t having fun. And I know the hockey thing is going to be good if I can unravel the characters. If I can fall in love with the characters.

So my mind said, if you aren’t in love with your characters, which characters are you in love with?”

I loved “Sleepless at Midnight” by Jacquie D’Alessandro . There are some great romantic scenes which are really hot. Really hot and swoon-worthy. I mean you want to be the heroine and have a hero who acts exactly like him. She is that lucky. I love the emotions between them. The tension. The way you want to grab them and scream “You love each other. Just get together already.” Except the conflict is out of their hands and they can’t be together, except they have to be because they love each other.

Anyway, I’m feeling all the happy feelings inside me.

And then my whole plot came into my brain. I’m so fucking excited to write it, but I had to write down how I got there.

(And then I have to write something else totally unrelated, but is pervading my life and I understood it in the shower this evening. Freaking Freecycle moderation. DId I ever mention that it is occasionally the bane of my existence and i want to quit? I can’t wait to move so I can stop the insanity).

So, that is the story of how I inspired myself. If anyone has a story about how they had fun writing today leave a comment with your email or shoot me an email.

BTW, no affliate links here. Except y'know, my Smashwords.
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Hockey burn-out

I am stepping away from my current WIP, which is the next Up in Flames book.

I’m not writing well. I’m forcing the story and not feeling inspired.

I am going to write some other stuff.

Might even be slightly more commercially viable stuff (read venturing  into paranormal land). Not because I feel the need to be commercially viable, but because I have some ideas that interest me.

So, yeah hockey on hiatus. Maybe I’m just not feeling the hockey love because the Flames aren’t doing well- again. (They were when I was working on Complications over Coffee edits).

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