Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It Started Poorly Then Got Worse...

After yesterday's rant, I had the brief inkling to continue to air my grievances today, but thought better of it at the last moment. I've got a list of things that infuriate me about the world that's a mile long. I could post every day about it, but it makes me miserable. So instead, I figure I'd throw something out there about the state of my writing.

After the full manuscript of my novel was summarily rejected by one big time publisher, I queried a big six publisher and cringe at the crappy query I sent. Really should have proofread that one one more time Still waiting for that next rejection.

A Dead God's Wrath is still hanging around there in the ebook world. Sales to date look like this:

Kindle          Barnes & Noble          Smashwords
25                            6                             2

For a grand total of 33 copies. I'm still pretty pleased with it. I think most of the sales have been to people who stop by the blog on occasion. I do realize I'm a crappy marketer, and would probably do better if I forgot the whole blogging/twitter thing and just wrote more. But I kind of like where I'm at right now with that. I enjoy reading the blogs I follow and I think I write about as much as the family will allow.

I do think I'm going to try to put something else up for sale in an e-format soon. Probably. I'll give it a few weeks for certain, I was listening to a podcast tonight and I started really thinking about why I'm sitting on so much stuff, I have short stories (a few anyway), novels, all sorts of stuff that I've been sitting on for a long time. Most of those need some editing work, which I think is at the heart of why I've not already done that part, as I am not a huge fan of editing. For me it's the difference between designing race cars and being a mechanic. One is a dream come true and the other is what you have to do for the damn thing to work.

So I need to do a lot more of the mechanic type stuff for a while. When nano is over this year I'll dive right into that.

There has been some push back from a number of authors in regards to pricing, as that race to the bottom seems to have, well, bottomed out. First, I saw a very minor author (meaning, they have a small following of fans that will buy anything they produce) selling novellas for $2.99 and it surprised me. Then I heard an interview with another author, one that has no professional sales to their credit, that is selling short stories for $2.99 and doing so with no fanfare, several pen names (for different genres) and no marketing at all on their part, and selling in the hundreds of copies per month. The latter mentioned in the interview that they saw a bump in sales of one of their novels when they raised their novel price to around $5. The logic being that the perceived quality of the cheaper priced book was poor, but when the pricing got closer to what a reader would expect for a professional product then they were more likely to buy. Weird.

So, two instances don't equal a trend, but I'm thinking of playing with my pricing some. I don't think I could ever justify selling something like A Dead God's Wrath for $2.99, I don't think it holds that kind of value. But I also don't think I can really run an experiment with only one data point either. That brings me back to my need to have something else out there.

Anyway, I'm just thinking with my fingers at the moment, typing away, and avoiding working on my nano novel. My town constable has been attacked and carried off by an unnamed assailant. I suppose I should go back and write his death... or not. It's a plot twist I'm anxious to reveal. One of many. So much fun to be had there.


Melissa Bradley said...

I'm not a fan of editing, either. I wish you luck with that and with NaNo. I haven't entered the big novel writing month this year because my own writing has ground to a halt under the various things i have going on. I need to get back into it and very soon.

Deborah Walker said...

Are ye going to send your short stories out to magazines, Rusty, once you've edited them? There's some very nice venues out there. A sale gives you a huge boost.

Tonja said...

Editing feels like work, but writing is really fun for me. You should definitely post short stories - I bet that would make people want to pay the dollars for your novelette. I procrastinate on NaNo too.

M.J. Fifield said...

I like the avoid working on your nano novel bit because I'm trying to avoid mine too...I desperately want to cut out a good 20,000 words and I'm afraid the only way to keep them in is to avoid the whole thing completely.

It's interesting that authors saw a bump in sales when they raised their prices. So far, $4.99 has been my eBook limit. No matter who's doing the writing.

Grumpy Bulldog said...

The good thing is the new Kindles are shipping earlier than expected, so hopefully next week I'll have mine and can finally read your story!

Michael Offutt said...

$2.99 seems reasonable. I hope you don't get a rejection. You deserve success my friend :) Big Six here comes Rusty!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I have seen authors like Dean Wesley Smith propose the following tier structure for prices:

short stories: 99 cents
novellas: $2.99
novels: $4.99

This is what I followed for my novella, Lyon's Legacy. To me, it makes sense to scale prices based on word count since my editor charges by project length. My next project will also be a novella, but it'll be on the shorter end of the word count range. I may either add some samples at the end or reduce the price. It should be interesting to see what happens with the next generation of e-readers. One of the good things about being an indie writer is we can change prices at will.

P.S. For what it's worth, your sales are better than mine. ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Whatever you put out, you know I will buy.
And since I enjoy editing, you know you always have a critique partner who will help.
I know a publisher who would dig your novel, but it deserves placement with a much bigger press...

Kid Shuffle said...

Sales are sales man, once you get one, there is nowhere to go but up!

Cindy said...

Pricing seems to be one of those things that is continually debated among Indies. I still don't know what the answer is.

Rusty Webb said...

Melissa - Thanks, I need all the luck I can get. Like, I spill syrup on my keyboard and it gets stuck, and someone inflates my wordcount.

Deborah - I always think I should, then I look at what I've written and think, 'next time' and put the story aside. When I say it like that it sound stupid. I don't know why I don't.

Tonja - I had one I was going to post near halloween, but then I didn't. Sigh. Besides, I'v seen where others have done similar things and they've not gotten tons of success. I might try that soon though.

MJ - probably a good thing to have a predetermined limit. It's too easy to just click the 'buy it' button.

Grumpy - Don't get too excited about my story. I'd rather not have to compete against expectations. Keep them low.

Michael - Thanks. I don't know about deserving anything, but I'll good things whether I deserve them or not.

Sandra - I agree with you, as long as all the potential readers are on board then I'm happy. I'm afraid all those $.99 novels have skewed the perceived value of a book.

Alex - as always, you are way too kind with the praise. Please don't stop.

Kid - good advice.

Cindy - it does seem like that debate won't go away. I'm hoping that as time goes on, the gold rush that came from people looking to get rich selling whatever they could throw up onto the kindle will disappear, and those left will be able to write and put stuff up without feeling like they have to put their life's work up and sell it for less than can of soda.

Trisha said...

I'm the opposite - I wait till stuff is the cheapest it will ever be before I buy it. ;) said...

I still hate writing query letters. The blessing of self-pubbing is that you don't have to (though I do anyway just to keep my skill set.)

With the literary world changing with the quickness, I think we writers just need to keep putting our work out there and keep an eye on things.

As we all know a back list is what keeps us paid, so just keep writing and designing really cool covers ;)

Donna Hole said...

It'll happen when it happens :) I'm sitting on a lot of stuff that needs editing too. I keep telling myself I need to take a blogger break to edit, then a new story idea hits while I'm revising and I push it aside to explore something new; and adds another unfinished project to the heap.

I bought Dead God; I really need to sit and read it . .


Andrew said...

Don't feel too bad; you'r Kindle sales are 6x what mine are for aproximately the same period.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

No, I am way too honest. You're way too stubborn. Enough said.

Rusty Webb said...

Trisha - I think there is real psychology at play there as well, it's all about perceived value. If it's normally at $5, and then it drops to $.99 for a day, it has a tendency to force your hand a little bit and think you're getting a great deal, but if it's always at .99 then you might be more likely to always plan on getting it one day, but there is nothing to make you pull the trigger and just get it. I don't know, people are complicated, no one strategy works for everyone.

Donna - It's nice to have company then. Good luck to yours.

Andrew - 6x the sales... given the royalty rates that means we're probably looking at exactly the same amount of cash coming our way... not a moment too soon. I'm planning on getting a sub sandwich with mine.

Alex - That's what I mean, keep it up. Thanks dude.

Andrew said...

Hmmm... Subway... I might be able to swing Subway. heh
If I ever sell enough for the Nook to actually get paid by them I might splurge. You come for a visit, and I'll treat you at Subway.