Tag Archives: making a living

Legendary Stories – Monetization

So I’ve had a few thoughts about how I want to get these stories out there and wanted to bounce them off of you, my loyal readers, to see what you thought.

Obviously, I’ll be selling them individually. Given their length I’m thinking $1.49 for each one on Amazon/Smashwords. I wanted to try something new, in addition to that.

$10 – You get all twelve stories, plus the prequel stories, personalized, in e-book format as they come out (possibly even a day or two early). This would save you $10.85 off of the cover price and hey PERSONALIZATION!

$15 – This would get you the above, plus e-book version of the stories I’m writing for the Action Pack. This is a joint project between Mike Plested, JR Murdock, and myself. Mike’s story will be Boy Scouts of the Apocalypse. JR’s will be a western/steampunk mashup. I’ll be writing a story that takes place in the Legend universe. I’m going to give the back story for one of the secondary characters. He’s basically Indiana Jones + Fox Mulder + Rube Goldberg. It’ll detail what REALLY happened at area 51 and events from it will enhance the modern stories I’m telling in the Legend universe. There should be twelve stories in there that I would sell for $.99 individually (and I’m not planning on doing that, only way to get those will be to buy the Action Pack or get this deal) so you’d get 24 stories for $15 that would ordinarily cost you $29.76.

$20 – Same as the $10 level, but you’d also get the further edited and SIGNED paperback version of the first season of Children of Legend when it comes out next year (may have to charge you for S&H when I get that out to you if you’re international). I’m thinking the paperback will run about $20 since it will be around 120-140K words.

$30 – Same as the $15 plus a SIGNED paperback version of my Action Pack short stories done up in a novelized fashion.

Now, this would be a sort of subsciption/pre-order deal. I’m not sure when I’d make this live per se. You might want to see the first few stories and I respect that. I’m also open to suggestions. If you think you’d like to do this leave me a comment with what level you’re interested in. I won’t hold anyone to this informal poll, but it will let me gauge interest. This worked well for Ginnie Dare and let me pay for the cover. I’d also like to get this professionally edited so this would help pay for that as well.

I may do this via Kickstarter or Indiegogo when the time comes so any thoughts on additional swag/levels of support are appreciated.

Ginnie Dare On Sale

I’ve decided, in the tradition of this great on-going electronic publishing experiment, to drop the price on the e-pub version of Ginnie Dare. Use the link below you’ll get it in e-pub and mobi/Kindle formats for $4.99 $2.49.

If you prefer to get it another way it’s available on Smashwords for $2.99 and will be available on Amazon for the same price later in the week. I don’t have an end date in mind on this, but I’ll make an announcement before the price change. Why wait though?

Only at Barnhills

I had a reading at Barnhill’s Books, a local wine and book shop, this weekend. It was a lot of fun. The folks there, particularly Mike and Suzette, are fantastic. They gave me two slots on Saturday. I read from Ginnie Dare in the early afternoon and from Through a Glass, Darkly in the evening. The crowds were light, thanks in part to good weather and the local county fair, but I count it a success for a few reasons.

The readings were good practice. In one case I had an audience member who was completely unfamiliar with my work. One of the books I sold was to someone I didn’t know and I was able to sign and personalize it for him. Connecting with future fans like that is something that you can’t do as well online (though it can be done). The biggest thing I got out of it though were the connections with the shop and its owners. Mike is an independent publisher at Second Wind Publishing and an author in his own right.

They will be selling e-books from their site. We talked about producing audio books for his authors. We also talked about selling e-books on physical media through the store. This is one forward thinking gent. We also talked about Flying Island Press. So while it would have been nice to sell out of books and have people lining up to hear me read, thinking long term I believe that this relationship will be a fruitful one for us both.

That will only be possible though if people support them. I know that most of you don’t live in Winston Salem. It should be noted that Barnill’s does ship books, so if you wanted to buy one of my books you’d be doing them (and their efforts with local and independent authors) a favor if you ordered from them. For that matter you could go into your own local and ask if they can order my books. I’d hope that they can. So, support your local book store if you’re fortunate enough to have one and authors like me will thank you for it!

Free Fiction Fridays

Last Friday I decided to try an experiment. I gave away a Smashwords coupon to my mini-“anthology” consisting of two stories; “Piercing the Veil” and “Vicious Cycle”. I’m the kind of person that does things like that a little impulsively and right after I released the coupon I did some thinking.

My first question was, “What am I trying to accomplish?”. I want to get more eyes on my stories at this point. I’m fighting some degree of obscurity (for large values of obscurity), and if giving some stuff away helps overcome that then I’m all for it. However, I know that there are people out there who believe in my and want to support my work financially. So I give them ample opportunity to do that by offering my works for sale at as many venues as possible.

When I tweeted last night that I was going to do another Free Fiction Friday today and wanted to know what people wanted me to give away, I got some push back. The objection seemed to boil down to, “if I buy your work and three days later you’re giving it away, I’ll feel cheated”. There was also the notion that if someone knew I was going to do this every week they’d just wait and get what I had for free.

I understand both sets of feelings. My own thoughts on the matter are this though, if I’m supporting an author financially and they decide to put something on sale or give it away then I should respect that. They, no doubt, have reasons for doing what they’re doing. I pay money for stories because I want that person to continue being able to make stories and because I believe in them. Sometimes I even buy things that I’m not otherwise interested in, simply to enable someone to make something cool. Case in point, JR Blackwell’s LARP game Shelter in Place. I’m unlikely to ever play it. I like zombies, but I’m not a LARPer. I backed her Kickstarter campaign anyway.

If someone wants to wait until I put something out for free, for whatever reason, to download it, that doesn’t hurt my feelings. Their reasons are their own, and I made the conscious decision to give it away so they’re not pirating and my being put out would be silly. The only thing that bothers me is the notion that someone wouldn’t buy one of my stories (that presumably they were going to buy at some point) simply because I want to try using a loss leader to bring in more eyes.

So, if you think this is a dumb idea or that ultimately it’s going to hurt me more than help me, I really am interested in hearing what you have to say in more detail than Twitter will allow. I plan on doing giveaways of my short fiction only on Fridays for the next couple of weeks at least, maybe longer if it turns out to be helpful. But if there’s sound logic that I’m overlooking then I’m game to listen.

Where My Readers At?

I’ve been gradually ramping up my efforts to find out where my readers are at and trying to make my fiction available in those places. To that end I’ve begun selling books at Goodreads, in addition to Smashwords, Amazon, and my very own bookstore. I’ve also sent out coupon codes to podcasters, writers, and bloggers to share with their audiences and I set up my story “Fetch” to be featured on Daily Kindle Bargains. Finally, I’ve been using Google Plus and have found new friends, writers, and a fan or two.

All of this is very early days yet, and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to reach prospective readers. One thing I’ve noticed (reinforced by Nobilis Reed) is that on social media sites like Google Plus, authors tend to network with other authors. That’s good to a point. Iron sharpens iron and all that and most writers are also readers, but I’d like to find readers who are primarily readers.

So I open the floor to the writers who are more successful fiscally than I am, where do you find your readers and how do you connect? Also, in my efforts to reach out and offer ways for people to sample my wares, I want to avoid being a douchenozzle and bombarding folks with spam. So, where do you draw the line on self promotion?

Not to leave readers out of the questions, where/how do you find new authors and how much self promotion is too much? Are coupons/free samples a driver for you to try new things? And how much of a role do reviews on sites like Amazon and Smashwords play in your decisions to buy?

Thanks for any input you have!

Semi-Professional Editing

I’ve been thinking a lot about editing lately. I’m an editor for Flying Island Press and I’ve been doing some self-publishing (though not everyone agrees that that’s what I’m doing) which, best case scenario, involves no small amount of red-lining. The critics of self-publishing point out that there’s a lot of sub-par product out there. They assume, and in large part are probably right, that that’s because they aren’t professionally edited, as they would be if they were published “professionally”. It’s certainly not because authors are unaware of the need to have good eyes and skills applied to their work. One of the things that I hear again and again from my fellow creators is, “I know I need an editor, but those don’t come cheap.” So, we do the best we can and put our stuff out there.

I’m curious about a couple of things from my writer peeps. Have you used an editor for your fiction? If so, who and how much did they charge? Were they “pros”? Setting aside the raw definition of that word, I’ll define it to mean “someone who does it for a living”. Were they “semi-pros”, defined by me as “someone who charges a below market rate”? And if you did, how long did it take you to make back your investment?

If you decided not to use an editor and it was because of the perceived cost, how much would you be willing to spend? What is it “worth” to have someone look at your work if it will, to a degree, ensure a better product? I ask, in part, because I know there are people out there, in our community that are semi-pro/pro editors and I’m sure they’d like to know. I know two personally, Jenny Melzer and Allison Duncan. (Semi-pro is not an indication of quality or rate, but is based on the notion that I don’t think this is their primary source of income. No judgment on them.) I have no idea what their client base looks like, so I don’t know if the semi-pro, self-publishing authors out there are using them.

I do know that at present Allison’s rates are beyond my budget. Jenny’s are closer to the mark, but I haven’t sent her anything, yet. I’m just not sure I can justify paying her either. I’m actually kicking around the idea of forming a group to give us another, inexpensive option. But would someone, who charges less, be perceived by you as lacking in the necessary skills to justify any outlay? Is a semi-pro someone I can trust my manuscript to? What do you think?

Future Plans

I know my buddy advised me not to talk about numbers and that may be sound advice, so moving forward I won’t worry about them so much.

Okay, I’ll worry, but I just won’t say anything. 😉

What I will say is, I didn’t make the numbers I wanted to. Yes, that’s a little frustrating. I set a reasonable goal, but people buying what I have to sell is out of my hands. So, I can’t let that frustrate me. As one person told me, I might see an uptick in sales there once Ginnie Dare is out. We’ll see.

Moving forward, I plan on creating recordings of some of my stories. I’ll likely put those here and on Podiobooks so that those of you who enjoy podcast fiction can enjoy them. Keep tuned to this station.

I also wanted to put a link here for “Battle of Wildspitze”, an awesome ten-thousand word short story that Zach Ricks and I wrote.

We’re writing more in that universe and plan on putting more of these stories out, maybe a print anthology of them too. We also plan on podcasting it down the road, cause we’re cool like that. I’ve also included a bit of sample text after the jump for you to have a look at.

For those that support me both in spreading the word and in buying my fiction (both are important), I thank you.

Continue reading Future Plans

Contest Update!

So here’s where we’re at contest-wise. Thanks to a couple of generous (and lovely) young ladies (and some other folks I don’t know) I have crossed the halfway point and am at fourteen sales. Only one of those ladies has sent her receipts in. So, if we do cross the twenty-seven sales line by the end of the month, she’s a dead lock to get the paperback proof of Through a Glass, Darkly

I’ve Tweeted and Facebooked and blogged about it. I’ve had people share and RT my contest. I’ve put the word on on MobileRead.com’s Forums as well as the Kindleboards. I’ve also shared it on the Kindle Facebook fan page. I’ll continue to use these methods and any others I can come up with. I’m still running into people that don’t know I’ve put stuff on Amazon and that I have a print anthology available, so I’m not reaching everyone I can. Thanks to Amazon’s limited reporting tools, I don’t know if people are downloading the samples (you can get samples of most any Amazon Kindle books delivered right to your device) or not. If you haven’t taken advantage of the samples at least, please do so. If you have and you’re just not compelled, I’d actually like to hear that.

There are still ten days left in the month. This has only gone for seven days, so there’s plenty of time. You don’t have to buy all six stories to be entered. If you’d just like to send me the money for a signed copy of the print book I can arrange that. Any help you lovely people can give me in this effort is appreciated. Blog, Tweet, and Facebook about it. Tell your friends. And for those that have done that, a great big thanks!

Bobby and His Dragon

I’m trying out some direct sales through this site in preparation for Ginnie Dare and some other projects. So in order to test this I’ll be offering a cute little middle grades level story I’ve written that’s available nowhere else. It’s only $.49 for a story that clocks in at 3400 words. Well worth it in my opinion.

I also made the e-pub myself so I’m a bit proud of that.

A preview for those who’d like one:
Continue reading Bobby and His Dragon