Tag Archives: E-book

Hamlet and Yoda Got it Right

The word aspiring is a load of crap. 

Ok, sure. The word holds the feelings of hope, determination, and perseverance, which is awesome. It is a great word. But in the context of which I’m talking about, it’s a waste of time.

For years I lived under the title of “Aspiring Writer”. I dreamt of the day when I would be able to tell people, “why yes! I am a writer!” I would then smile proudly, full of mirth and merriment. Yes, for years I looked forward to that day when I would able to shed “Aspiring” from my professional title. And then, one day, I realized something which became quite profound in my writer-y path.

I’m a writer. I write. Whether I’m published or not, whether I make a bazillion dollars or not, whether I rise to the lofty levels of the greatest literary minds or not, I sit down and make stuff up in story form. So, I don’t buy into the whole aspiring adjective thing. I have three stories published to date, and a Young Adult Mini-Series in the works, hoping to be finished sometime in the future (details to follow sometime).

So, if you’re like me, and like to make stuff up (or non-make stuff up), don’t aspire. You are “to be” and “not to be”. And please “do”, as their is no try.

Cheers.

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IndieReCon

Indierecon-logo4

Now, let me first start by saying I love where I live. It’s a small town of 2,200 and we’re the largest of 5 towns around a “major” city of about 14,000 people. Yes, it’s small. We’re about an hour’s drive from somewhere else and about 2 1/2 hours away from an actual city. The kind of city which has really good food–not just “good enough”–and toilets that flush themselves. Since civilization is so far away, it’s not often that one gets a chance to enjoy such things, let alone special events such as concerts, the choice to see a movie other than the 3 offered in town, and what I’ve affectionately dubbed “Word Nerd Herding”. Other people refer to this as Literary Events or Conventions or Seminars or other such gathering-type noun.

I used to live outside of Portland, Oregon, and there is a great annual literary “festival” (add that to the list) called Wordstock. I’m sure there are dozens of them across the country and hundreds abroad. Unfortunately, living where I do, it make’s it a bit challenging to make a six-hour drive one way to attend a seven or eight-hour festival and then drive back. And even if I stayed over-night, It’s still a lot of expensive driving back and forth.

So…what to do?

A short while back I met a fellow novelist, S.R. Johannes, and from her site I learned about IndieReCon. IndieReCon states they are “the premiere online writer’s conference for the independently minded”. After looking through the site and what was being offered, the conclusion I came to was…cool.

The conference (missed that noun too) is run by and focused towards the self-published “Indie” writers, which many authors nowadays have become. Now, one of things that has drawn me to this conference is the location and admission fees:

Online and free.

That’s a nice combination.

I’m signed up for next year’s gathering scheduled the weekend of 2.19.13-2.21.13. I think it’ll be interesting to see how the virtual conference goes. I hope to make some new acquaintances  and attend some panels with people scattered across the planet. That sounds pretty cool.

Check it out.

I’ll…see?…you there.

Cheers.

-SJn

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Promotional Herding

Yes, I still have a ways to go before I complete my novel and really shouldn’t worry about the Big Promotional Machine, but marketing and promoting thoughts still permeate the tangle of noodles that I try to pass off as my brain. I find the post-writing world just as fascinating as the writing world itself. I’ve been reading a wide variety of a blogs and keeping up with independent publishing websites. While working on this blog post, I remembered a concept which I think would be a great help in the realm of marketing and promoting your literary work.

I am a semi-retired comic book nerd. While I no longer participate in the reading of current comics, I have a tight and dedicated library of comics, both dramatic and comedic. But, back in the heyday of the late 90s, I was firmly entrenched of the Wednesday release date of the weekly comic book. And during the summer of 1997, I came across a promotional comic that tied-in with three independent comic book creators during convention season.

The Trilogy Tour.

I’ve found links from one of the creators of the Trilogy Tour, Jeff Smith. He and two other creators, Charles Vess and Linda Medley, pooled their resources and went on the road together to promote their books. They were like three one-act bands going on tour.

Pretty awesome if you ask me.

And not only were they one-acts, but they also backed each other up. Three soloists have an enhanced and different sound when they work together as duets or trios. And that’s pretty cool.

As they’re able to pool their money, they could make promotional items such as a comic that included one original story from each of them. Not only was this a great way to get their work out to the public, there was a demand from fans of their work who wanted to add to their collection. And yes, I was (still sort of in a semi-retired way) one of those fans. And they did this for two years. Not only was the first one successful, but the following year they added three more artists, turning the tour into a collaborative road show of different talents. What a great idea.

I immediately began thinking of doing that with writers. If given the chance, I would love to work alongside other writers and, while being our own solo act, promote our works as a collective, helping each other out. And maybe even put together a short book of original stories, one from each of us. Not only would our work get out into more hands, but the price of manufacturing and such would go down as would all share the burden of costs.

While I’m not near the point of promoting works, especially in person, I think it’s a great concept and one I felt like sharing. Perhaps in the next summer or two, I’d love to go on the road with other writers (including comic creators) to show the world, and one another, our passion for The Word.

Cheers.

-SJn

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Co-oping the Middle Man

An on-demand book printer at the Internet Arch...

An On-Demand book Printer

Though my wife would disagree with me, I hate spending money.

Well, I’m not a big fan of spending money on things like paying the electric bill. But, unless my family wants to go the candle-lit and or gas lamp lifestyle, we have to hand over (currently a lot of) money to the Electric Powers-That-Be so we can enjoy the finer things in life like microwaves and the internet.

Given the choice, I’d much rather spend our money on vacations for the family, the one insanely expensive piece of jewelry at Costco (how many zeroes is that?!?!) for my wife and, for me, my incredibly long wishlist of books and games.

Now after talking about price points in my previous post, I began thinking about spending money as a writer in order to, well, make money as a writer. Part of the writing process, regardless if you self-publish or not, will most likely be spent giving other people your money.  Whether it be having your manuscript professionally edited, producing cover art, and/or sending paper copies of your book for (only!) positive reviews, you will most likely have to spend money on producing your Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius.

I’ve looked into the costs of  putting out my novel, Jac and the City of 1,000 Worlds, and it seems selling paper copies will not only be much more challenging but the financial return percentage isn’t a whole lot unless I sell around 100,000 copies which would be absolutely incredible. And after all those are sold, next comes the film rights and then the lavish amusement park with little kids (and grown ups!) dressed as my characters. I mean if one is to dream, then dream big.

So, while scoring the internet looking for both traditional publishing houses and the costs of publishing my own, I stumbled across something interesting.

Cooperative publishing.

I’ve never heard about it before until just last week and the idea intrigues me. A group of writers coming together to not only support one another, but to help produce and distribute books under one common banner. A.V. Harrison Publishing is such cooperative company.

During my research, I found another type of cooperative publisher. BPS Books is an established cooperative company which will aid a writer in publishing and distributing their work. While the author will still need to put money up front as they would if self-publishing, BPS will aid getting your book to outlets that otherwise might be untenable. They also claim, due to lower publishing costs, the writer will be able to claim a much higher percentage of royalties for each book sold. In my research, I have yet to find out how this is but, once I do, I will let you all know. The nice thing about BPS Books is the company wrote a post about the advantages and disadvantages of co-op publishing.

Interesting note (at least to myself): Many of the co-op publishing companies I’ve found are located in Canada. Perhaps it’s a result of my search methods. Or maybe those Canadians are ahead of the curve. I still think we Yanks don’t give them enough credit where credit is due, but I digress.

I’ve spoken with and worked alongside a fellow writer about publishing works under the Daedalus Press banner. I never realized what we were thinking about was creating a cooperative publishing company.

Crazy.

So, I wonder if you or someone you know who has worked with or been part of a cooperative publisher?

-SJn

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99 Cents: The Question Of Life, the Universe, and Marketability

English: Large amount of pennies

Image via Wikipedia

Pending the independent publishing of Jac and the City of 1,000 Worlds, a major question I have with regards to marketing will be this:

What is the optimum price point for an ebook?

I’ve seen tons of ebooks on Amazon that are priced at a mere 99 cents. Not even a dollar. One penny less than a hundred pennies. You get the idea.

I found this article the other day which talks about using math to determine the optimum price point in which to sell an ebook by an independent publisher who at this point is little ol’ me.

After reading that article and this one, I have to be honest: I really don’t get the whole $.99 cent model. At this price point, authors [through Amazon] earn approximately 34 cents per book. And that’s before any promo, marketing, whoring, and other such financial obligations. “To earn $40,000 per year, [an] author would have to sell 333,333 books per year.”

The magazine I worked with, eFiction, charges $1.99 for a monthly subscription and $3.99 for a single issue. I talked with Doug Lance, Editor in Chief of eFiction, and he informed me selling a product under the $2.99 only gives a royalty percentage of 35% whereas the $2.99 price point and above takes the seller into the 70% royalty rate.

NOTE: eFiction went “live” on Amazon back around April of 2011, and they now have 1000 monthly subscribers. That’s 100 subscribers per month. Pretty cool if you ask me. And if you haven’t taken a look-see, hop to their site and check it out. Some great stuff.

So, after reading articles and talking to authors, I’ve decided when I put Jac and the City of 1,000 Worlds on the market, I’ll be selling the ebook version at the $2.99 price point. And that price is still a whole lot cheaper than a new trade paperback ($11.99) and a mass market paperback ($5.99).

Looking at those numbers, I would definitely spend $2.99 on an awesome ebook written by an incredibly talented new author. Plus, if you bring your e-reader to a book signing or other public event, I would be more than happy to autograph a copy of it for you. Then you can show everyone the back of your Kindle or iPad and tell them you met me. And you can’t put a price point on priceless.

What do you think?

Cheers

-SJn

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