I’m one of those people who constantly doubts myself. I make decisive actions and don’t regret my choices, but I do doubt my capabilities. Do you do that?
Isn’t that crazy? That I come up short in MY OWN MIND. Me. The one person who should love me the bestest doubts me the mostest! (Yes, not the best words, and yet, I know you get it.)
When I have a pep talk with myself, it sounds like this:
Me: No, I could do better.
Me: Stop. What more do you expect from yourself besides your best?
And yet, who determines that? Who determines my success or failure?
My reviews have been great. I love the positive and negative ones. I’ve had tremendous reviews from both ends of the spectrum and I’m grateful for all of them.
And I have to tell you that… I used to believe that. I used to believe that other people’s standards determined my happiness. Determined my success or failure scale. But I just saw a panel that was being offered in a pretty big class and the author stated that she was making 3 to 4,000 dollars a month – and that is success.
And contrary to what a person in my RWA group said, I started making this BEFORE Bookbub. Although, I did have tremendous success with my BB ad (and I continue to do so because it’s an amazing service). I want to make sure that is clear. (An aside, at the time, her comment really bummed me out. But now I can look back and say, that’s okay. I know she’s coming from a strictly traditional supporting POV and I’m a hybrid.)
I’ve been doing this for so long. I’ve seen the “one hit wonders” pop up and I know secretly that they have worked their butts off and we’re just now hearing about them – they’re making $20k+ a month, or whatever – which is awesome.
But before, I used to focus on what they were making and how I wasn’t measuring up. Now, I compare myself to myself. Where I am now compared to last year and the year before and the year before and the year before – because I’ve been doing this a LONG TIME – and the year before is gradually getting better and better.
That is true success. To me. My continued learning. My continued development. My SELF GROWTH. My level of gratitude.
You know what? I think my favorite part of this entire job is the people. I meet so many great people. I get to talk with my newsletter recipients (my Survivors) and we have some great discussions.
I get to meet so many people on FB. I’m working toward including Twitter in my relationship building, but I’m focusing mostly on Newsletter and FB because I understand them, the ideal and theory behind them. I can’t wait to start the conferences and meeting people that way.
But to everyone who has a part in this crazy ride of mine, I want you to know you ARE APPRECIATED.
I’m grateful. So grateful.
Thank you. Such simple words which don’t even grasp or convey the depth of my feelings. My emotions that well inside me until I tear up. I’m so grateful.
I’m grateful for you.
Thank you. And I hope you feel a little bit better wherever you are in the journey you’re on, in whatever industry or path you’re following.
Because you’re doing awesome. You’re amazing. And we can’t run someone else’s race. We can only run our own. Alongside each other.
What do you define as success and have you shared your gratitude today?
Why? Well, I can write my blurbs – sure. No problem. Seriously, it’s not hard.
Okay, the why’s are getting annoying. Just kidding. A lot of authors feel this way. We’re too close to the story. We just put hours, days, weeks, months, years into writing down this story in 20,000 to 150,000 words (or MORE!). How the heck are we supposed to sum all that up in 300 or less?
Should be simple – pick the most important parts and that’s what you focus on. Right?
Wrong. All the words are important to me! All the plot points and characters are important to me!
Authors with particular skill sets have been offering their services to other authors. A friend of mine opened up a company offering blurb help.
I’m always leery of hiring people, even my friends. I have no idea why. I think it stems from coming from a family that is more about DIY than most people I know. I think I can save myself money because I can do that, or learn to do that.
But I’ll tell you what. I know blurbs are my kryptonite. I’m not stupid. And when I need help with something, I acknowledge it. I don’t have time not to.
So my friend opened up The Blurb Queen and I asked her to redo a blurb to see how she would do.
Here is the blurb I had for Broken Trails, Book #1 of the Montana Trails series, Clearwater County Collection.
Well, here is The Blurb Queen‘s redo:
Um, yeah. I don’t think I need to say anymore than to add – I sent her over the Lonely Lace series blurbs which she redid amazingly and next will be the Worth of Souls series and then the Redemption series.
Yeah. I can’t afford NOT to use her.
She has great prices, too.
Here’s her contact info!
But when they say to me, “Mom, I can’t do this or that or I just can’t.”
When you say you can’t do something, guess what?
But if you say, I’ll try? Or I can learn? Anything that opens up your ladder to reaching your potential?
I explained to them yesterday that the best way to meet their potential is to
Because my babies are amazing.
We have so much potential.
You have so much potential.
Because you’re more amazing than even you know.
I’ve had quite a few readers and future readers as well as readers of other authors ask me through email, Facebook, Twitter, contact sheets, Google+, etc. some pretty intriguing questions. These questions all circle the same topic, so I thought I’d approach it from my blog where there is room to cover my answer.
First of all, I read the reviews of other authors’ when I’m searching for my next read.
(Indie and Trad) – in fact, if you’re an author, you better be reading.
When I’m looking at the reviews, I can usually tell who is full of crap and who gave an honest review.
I started noticing a trend in what is called a LOSS-LEADER* book’s review. Mine are no exception. I started taking a tally. And I’m appalled at my findings.
*A Loss-Leader is a first in a series or collection of similar books that is priced beyond cheap and/or free. Most of the Loss-Leaders in this study were FREE, however a few of them were priced at $0.99.
Also, in this study, all of the books were indie-pubbed – meaning the author was in control of the pricing and strategy.
Here is a list of my study’s comparisons as well as conclusions.
We’ll get into why this makes a difference in a little bit.
*insert arched eyebrow* because the first book free – which is usually the hardest to write – isn’t enough? That book was essentially indentured work – no pay off but lots of investment in the cover, editing, proofreading, tracking down people to help make it free, etc. in the HOPES that the reader would WANT to continue reading, would gladly pay for the next books, excited they got to read the first one free.
That is like going to your work for a month and at the end of the month having your boss say, “Oh, man, you know, I really liked your work, BUT I’m not in the mood to pay your rate that I was willing to pay when I wrote your check. I cancelled your paycheck. Sorry.”
That would reek and stink and suck, and would be ILLEGAL. So why is returning a book not illegal?
Sick, just sick.
At least if it’s been read by 20%? or so, right?
I price the way I price because Amazon has the royalty split set up to corner me into a more controlled pricing arrangement. It makes sense. It’s set up to avoid the crazy prices – like $0.99 for a full length novel.
That’s BEFORE the download fees get subtracted or any returns. So for every dollar they make about 35 pennies.
$2.99 to $9.99 prices will net an author 70% or so not taking into account the extra fees, etc. So, on that book that gave hours and hours of entertainment, $2.99 is just too high? (and it took HOURS and DAYS for that author to write – if not MONTHS).
Personally, I’m on an entertainment budget. I refuse to spend more than $4.99 on an ebook when I can buy a paperback for $5. Which really sucks sometimes because, like right now, I’ve been eyeballing this book being released by a trad pub and the ebook looks AWESOME.
Seriously, right up my alley.
But it’s priced at $7.68. For the ebook. The print is $7.69. This is hurting the author at that price.
Authors don’t get that high of a royalty off the print – I don’t care who you ask.
Many readers get used to expecting the lower prices just around the corner.
In a set of comments on multiple loss-leaders in my study, many readers indicated that they would be waiting for the next book in the series to go on sale or become free because they didn’t want to spend the money.
One even went so far as to say, “I read this author often and I always wait until after the first month because her prices always drop. If you’re looking at reading this book, just wait a little while. She’ll lower the price and it won’t go back up.”
Your readers shop you like I shop Wal-Mart. Why buy those snow pants at full price this year when at the beginning of spring, I can buy them for almost 75% off?
I’m not kidding.
Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July – all these things go on ridiculous sales after the fact – I stock up for the next year because I know I’ll see another holiday exactly like that one.
You’re being played because you’re setting yourself up for it (sorry, I slipped into second person narrative there… when I’m flabbergasted, I do that.)
Think of it this way. If you wanted to see a movie – in a theater – and it was releasing on day X for $10 a person to see, but you knew in extremely similar theaters in just Y amount of days, you could see the same movie for $3 a person – wouldn’t you wait?
Today? With prices like they are, you bet your butt you will. Up where I live? Most do.
The loss-leaders in my study spanned a variety of release dates – some as old as two years. This was encouraging for indie authors, simply because their long tail could grow exponentially.
In fact, on some of them, I did a side study that looked for groupings of similar dates to see if there was some kind of a trend – like a promo or something that occurred.
In 64.3% of them, they had groupings in a month’s time to indicate there had been promo of some kind in that time period. That’s terrific.
While my study was conducted with a biased eye toward looking for similarities, the control that I utilized included –
With all of the above, I have come to the
that the low pricing/loss leaders are being taken for granted.
Many posts lately from other authors and industry professionals have bemoaned the lowering of the value of the book and I’ve witnessed it myself as well as just reported on an aspect of it above.
My pricing strategy is simple and predictable.
If I do a preorder, that preorder price will be the sale price it will be on – most of my preorders include something special specific to the PREORDER ONLY. Meaning, the short story you receive or whatever it happens to be will not be available again.
This means a lot to my readers who follow the stories of my characters.
However, if I do NOT do a preorder, I will have a lower price available for release day/week for my review team and to reward my loyal readers and then
For AT LEAST 6 months – IF EVER (caveat – I do loss leaders on most of my series but my loyal readers know this and most don’t wait. This seems counterintuitive – especially based on my above findings, however, I’m a firm believer in the effectiveness of Loss Leaders, I just don’t believe they need to be thrown around willy nilly when this trains readers to expect them. Have a firm plan and know what you’re training your readers to do).
I don’t generally do $0.99 sales. In fact, Amazon has one of my books lowered to match the price of one of my books on a pirate site and I can’t get it returned to its normal price.
At the beginning, I didn’t realize what I was doing – I would release it for regular price and then lower it a month later to a sale price.
My readers felt screwed – and when I realized what I was doing – I felt like I’d screwed them.
So I devised the pricing plan.
Having read the above, do you have any thoughts on the current trend in ebook pricing? Should it stay low? Should it go higher? Why?
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