The Journal, Friday, 10/6

Hey Folks,

Well, another long post, but one I think you’ll find is worth it.

First, while searching for something else, I ran across an article titled “Master of Magic Realism Harvey Stanbrough is Offering a Free Short from His Collection of Cantina Tales.”

You can see the brief article at https://davidjrodger.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/master-of-magic-realism-harvey-stanbrough-is-offering-a-free-short-from-his-collection-of-cantina-tales/.

I remembered I had left a ‘thank you’ note in a comment below the article. I never received a reply or a follow-up comment.

This morning I clicked the home page of that WordPress.com site, and I learned that David J. Rodger passed away the same day that post about me went public.

I had never heard of David before he was kind enough to mention me in his blog.

I haven’t read any of his work, but I intend to order some today. To read a bit more about David J. Rodger and his books yourself, please check his main website at http://www.davidjrodger.com/.

Guest Topic: Pricing in 2017

The following is excerpted from Dean Wesley Smith’s blog post this morning. You can read the full article at the link in the “Of Interest” section below.

Electronic Pricing… Novels

Genre matters. Range from $3.99 to $6.99, with romance being on the lower side, mystery on the upper side.

Length does not seem to matter at all.

All the studies have shown that you get above $6.99 and you start hitting price resistance for electronic books unless the book is something really special.

You go below $3.99 and you leave yourself no room for discounting or short-term sales.

You get down into the 99 cent area and you are in a trash ghetto.

And yes, I do know about the stupidity of ever-free. Just say no.

[….]

Electronic Pricing… Short Stories

[….]

A general rule of thumb of short fiction… Genre does not matter. Length does matter. Exactly opposite of novels.

Under 3,000 words, 99 cents or $1.99. I would favor the $1.99 to stay out of the trash pile.

Over 3,000 words, $2.99. (I know some writers who are doing $3.99 and making fine money on short fiction, but I like the $2.99 as a good balance.) [Editor’s Note: The $2.99 or higher price point also gets you a 70% royalty at Amazon too, vs. 35%.]

Over 10,000 words, $3.99 and above 20,000 words price it as a novel in the genre and call it a short novel. [….]

Paper Pricing… Novels

The old general rule of $2.00 profit in extended distribution in CreateSpace has become meaningless. [Editor’s note: If you remember, I mentioned this extended distribution only a day or two ago. Ignore what I said, and go with this instead.] Get your price down as much as you can. Under $10 is the best for trade paper. $12.99 is fine as well. Above that you hit resistance unless the book is longer.

Length not only matters, it causes [your cost] to go up. You have no choice, but try to keep the [price] down as low as possible.

[B]ookstore distribution [is] a folly in 2017 because as Author Earnings have reported, almost 80% of paper books are sold online these days.

[….]

Keep the price low as possible, especially in romance. Very price conscious group.

Paper Pricing… Short Stories

Yes, why not do a paper edition of your stand-alone short story? It’s free to do, easy with Vellum to lay out, and makes your $2.99 electronic price look pretty good with the $4.99 paper there linked. [….]

Audio Pricing

Not getting anywhere near audio. You are on your own. But do realize there are new players on the field in audio. Go slow and learn them and give them a chance to grow some.

That’s it.

2017 sure has made things a ton easier. The drive of pricing to hit the bottom leveled out a few years ago and now we are stable.

And if we indies keep our prices in those ranges, it makes those traditional electronic prices look downright stupid. And more readers will go to indie books.
***

A couple of quick, related things — In the original post, Dean talks about using IngramSpark to try to get Ingram to list your book IF you follow his advice and don’t go with Extended Distribution at CreateSpace (so you can keep your price low).

So One, I guess IngramSpark is a thing and that it’s part of Ingram. I stand corrected (and surprised).

Two, if you DO still go with Extended Distribution (and the required higher price) at CreateSpace, your book will be offered in many more stores than “just Amazon.”

Most of my sales are in ebooks and most come through Amazon.

Now, you might think I’d visit CreateSpace later today to lower the prices on all of my paper novels.

Nope. I’m gonna leave them right where they are and in Extended Distribution.

So will my books be overpriced, even for trade paperbacks?

Sure. But price also goes to perceived value, and mostly I publish in paper only so readers will see the price comparison between paper and ebook when they look up my books.

In other words, I use paper only to drive the purchase of ebooks. I think I’ll continue in that vein.
***

I found Dean’s thought on pricing longer fiction very interesting, that genre, not length, is what matters. I have a question in to him via email.

After I hear back from him, I’ll post my own new pricing guidelines in case you might find them of interest.

UPDATE: Dean responded, and he said pretty much what I expected. I’ll post my new personal pricing guidelines as a topic in a day or three.
***

Today will be a light writing day probably. My son and his family are coming to visit for the weekend, so I have preparations to make. Grocery, laundry, stuff like that.

Finally back from doing chores just before noon. Now to the novel for a little while. There are also division baseball games on today, so… (grin). But I’d like to advance the novel a bit before I go to that for the day.

Okay. I got the story back on track. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

See “Pricing Silliness and a Learning Lesson” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/pricing-silliness-and-a-learning-lesson/.

From The Digital Reader, see “Author Website Checklist” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/10/05/author-website-checklist-2/.

Fiction Words: 1407
Nonfiction Words: 1000 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2407

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057

Total fiction words for the month……… 11282
Total fiction words for the year………… 445428
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5090
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 157773
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 603201

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 677 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, 7/5

Hey Folks,

If you like good westerns, two of my books are currently in the Guns of the West Bundle. Dean Wesley Smith also has two books in this bundle, plus there are books by 5 other writers.

This is an excellent opportunity to get 9 amazing tales of the wild west for one low price. Visit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/guns-west/.

Okay, I’ve mentioned a time or two a couple of other writers who currently have ongoing “writing in public” challenges.

To watch their challenges unfold and support their efforts, visit these websites:

Linda Maye Adams at http://lindamayeadams.com/.

Christopher Ridge at https://creaturecritter.blogspot.com/.

Topic: The Value of Openings

For a long time I’ve preached DWS’ statement that to write a story opening all you need is a character with a problem in a setting. And the problem doesn’t have to be “the” problem of the story. Just something to get you started writing.

That holds true.

More often than not, the opening takes off. And the next thing you know, you’re in the midst of a story. The subconscious is at play and all is right in the world.

My own lack of production recently emanates from the fact that I hadn’t (until today) written any openings. I allowed other priorities to creep in.

Like everyone, sometimes I need a jump start. A few days ago I found one.

Sometimes the significance of something isn’t in what’s said, but in how it’s said.

This excerpt from James Scott Bell’s “The Opening as Part of the Closing…” struck me hard:

INSET[T]he opening page and, indeed, the opening paragraph (and even further, if you can do it, the opening line) should be about a disturbance to that character’s ordinary world. Why? Because the reader doesn’t know who the character is yet. So what’s the quickest way to get them interested? Trouble.

INSET(Note that a disturbance doesn’t have to be “big” like a car chase, ghost, or awakening in a hospital room. Just something that causes at least a ripple of portent in the character’s life.)

Mr. Bell, an accomplished thriller writer, echoed DWS’ take. He just said it in a different way.

So just in case you haven’t read it, here’s an encore chance. Read the entire post at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/03/the-opening-as-part-of-the-closing-of-the-deal.html.

As I often recommend, I also suggest reading the comments that follow the post.

Today, and Writing

No writing today. Just editing. It’s coming, though.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Just as a matter of interest, you might check out https://www.toddbrison.com/. There’s free stuff for joining his newsletter. I found one gem in about ten minutes of reading.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 440 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 440

Writing of

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2280
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 110110
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 448067

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 587 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 179