Saturday, June 25, 2011

Slashing Prices on My Books and Offering More Possibilities

Based on some reading and some research that I have done over the past few days, I have decided to stop trying to solicit a traditional publisher.  I will be self-publishing exclusively now to Kindle's store, to Lulu, to Smashwords, and to any other site I can find.

What This Means:
Arnett Tanner Wants to Die and Skankarella are just about ready to be made available.  I need to do one more edit on each which will come after I finish writing Kissing Ellen King.

I'll be able to produce more content because I'll be spending less time searching for agents and mailing letters and more time doing actual work that helps my writing get better and my stories become more interesting and more cohesive.

I will also be publishing a collection of short stories (most likely the two at the top of the page and 4-6 others for $.99), and if I can find enough good ones, poems.

Cost and Availability:
The big drawback to publishing online is that not everyone has an e-reader.  Not to worry, most smartphones have an app that is free and allows you to read on your phone.  If you don't like that, you can download my stories as a PDF onto your computer.  If you're still not a fan of using an electronic device to read, printing Arnett Tanner Wants to Die on two sides in size 10 font will cost you about $1.50.  Even with the cost of the book (likely to be $1.49), that's about a third of what you'd spend driving to the book store and picking up a physical copy.

The big draw to self-publishing is cost.  If I publish legitimately, I probably earn 6% royalties on a book that will be priced at around $8 which comes to around $.48 per book.  In this day and age no one wants to spend $8 on anything.  Plus my book would sit on a shelf with one or two other copies and thousands of books around it.  If a thousand people walk into Barnes and Nobles a day, five of them might notice, and maybe one would pick it up.  If I sell my book online, I make slightly more money (I think $.52) per book by offering the book for $1.49.  Plus in posting to here and on Twitter, I ensure that at least a hundred people know that my book is available for purchase.

I've decided that the majority of my work will be available for between $.99 and $1.99 based on cost, quality, length, etc.  This means that Cube Wars and The Chosen, already available via the links at the top of the page, have been cut down to $.99 and $1.49 respectively.*

*Due to differing options on Lulu and a higher floor for minimum pricing, any books available there will have to be slightly (around $.50) more expensive.

In short, this should be better for everyone.  I get to produce more content, you get to read more content, I have less stress, you pay less money.  Hopefully the bottom line is more publicity and sales for me.

(And if you don't have an e-reader, you should get one.  The cost is going way down and they look super nice, almost indistinguishable from physical books.  Plus on an e-reader you can hold multiple titles, adjust the font sizes and do plenty of other things you can't with an actual book, all to make your reading experience better.  The Kindle has a much higher market share (more popular), the Nook has more titles available.  Both are nice.)

Recently I have been made aware of a site called Smashwords that I am very excited about.  They're a bit more strict on their formatting guidelines for uploads, which has helped me immensely.  They offer the widest variety of file formats (about a dozen) for download of any site I've seen thus far which is why their upload criteria is very specific.  Things need to be presentable across a wide variety of formats.  This means that not only will my books look better in general, they will translate better to a variety of different file formats and e-readers.  I would highly recommend downloading any of my books from their site from now on due to the diversity of what they offer.  You can get The Chosen here.

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