The cost of creation

Natasha McNeely triggered a lengthy tangent in my mind; one I’ve been considering rather in-depth for a long time, and moreso in the last few days as I truly begin to weigh my options in publishing. Natasha talks about e-book prices, and her take on appropriate cost.

Firstly, you all get a disclaimer: this is just my thoughts, from a personally inexperienced perspective, yet with the backing of a whole lot of research and sense of pride in storytelling. There. Now, onto my rambling.

There’s nothing wrong with the $0.99 price point. There are valid reasons for using it, including drawing in new readers, and letting people get a relatively risk-free taste of your work. After all, isn’t it exceptionally easy to justify dropping a dollar on an e-book, just to see if you like the writer’s style? I know I’ve done it.

However, there is a catch. Many, in fact.

As I outlined to my husband when we were setting up his freelance illustrator rates, you need a wide scope for what the client, or consumer, is actually paying for. When you are an artist, whether through images or words, you have years of experience and learning behind you. The buyer is purchasing a quality product because you have a decade or more practice put into your craft. By asking for a fair price, you are giving value to the sheer amount of dedication necessary to perfect your art.

Then there are subtle overheads. The tools required to produce your product. A computer, with peripherals and software; a desk, pens, paper. Electricity, an internet connection, and a workspace. Even if you had all of these things before you started writing, using the home computer in your lounge room, they are still business costs. You could not offer an e-book without paying for those things at some point.

There are also literal costs in producing and marketing a finished e-book. You might get lucky and not have to pay for all of them, or you might go all-out and use most of the following (and more): cover art, editing, formatting, uploading/account fees, advertising including business cards or other little handouts like bookmarks (which require design and printing), a dedicated website, the list goes on.

After all that, the writing itself must have value. It must. You did not spend a year or longer writing this one specific book, to see no returns on your personal effort. Now, that’s not to say value is inherent in money (quite the opposite), but this is an important element to consider when offering your e-book for under a dollar.

I believe an e-book novella deserves to cost up to $5.00, with novel-length works going anything up to $15.00. I’ve been happy to pay $15.00 for an e-book I especially wanted, and will probably do so again. I also believe the lure of a cheap first book should come when you already have a backlog of work available; that way, readers can buy more of your writing while it’s still fresh in their mind. Will they remember to come back in a few months time, even if they liked their $0.99 purchase?

Just as a new author releasing a paperback will not sell their first book for less than its worth, as a book, as a complicated, dedicated creation, independent writers most certainly shouldn’t be expected to sell their e-books at a devaluing rate.



The Versatile Blogger Award

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award state that I must:
Thank the person who gave it to me and link back to them in my blog.
Share seven things about myself.
Pass this award on to 5 other recently discovered blogs and let them know.

Look at that! One of those blog award dealies!

My thanks:
I was unexpectedly awarded the Versatile Blogger by my awesome friend, Natasha McNeely. We’ve been in contact for just a few months, but she is a super lady with some excellent ideas and perspective. It’s always great to talk to you, Natasha. Thank you for the award!

Seven things:
How do I decide the seven interesting tidbits to share? I don’t know. Let’s babble and see what comes out?
1. All my life, I’ve found I get along better with men in general. Yet by a vast majority, my blogging buddies and writer friends are women. In this fascinating instance, I relate incredibly well with these select ladies who share their thoughts and experiences.
2. I don’t like tomatoes, capsicum, or celery. I enjoy eating most vegetables, and if pressed, I will still eat those three in other dishes, but I don’t choose them for myself.
3. I own four Tarot decks (and a Goddess Oracle card set). They are a generic Rider-Waite clone which was my introductory Tarot deck many years ago, the Morgan-Greer deck, a Manga deck, and the gorgeous Shadowscapes Tarot made by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. I have my eye on several other decks, for both appreciation and collection purposes.
4. Getting my tattoo didn’t hurt much at all. It felt mostly like being mauled by an angry cat for a while, and I’ve been subject to that experience plenty of times before. Nevertheless, just when the needle went directly over my veins (on the inside of my wrist), that pain shot up my arm and made me cringe.
5. I was a figure ice skater for seven years, and a ballet dancer for four years. These activities helped make me as self-confident as I am today, but caused me joint problems (especially in my knees), which I will have for the rest of my life.
6. At its longest, my hair was around three foot long. I got it all chopped off in one go, and still have the plait of hair. I’m going to donate the whole thing to Locks of Love.
7. I really like calendars, and usually have at least one in every room of my house. I have a lot of difficulty with judging the passage of time, so having calendars readily available enables me to be aware of the date, and day of the week.

Five blogs:
Woohoo, the fun part! I chose these lovely people because I enjoy their blogs a lot, and because there’s a good possibility they haven’t already received this award! Sharing the love, people.
Write Your Own Story from Nina Martinez
Written Not With Ink from Barb Reily
Spiritual Strudel from Shelby Eaton
Stuff from Sherry Stanfa-Stanley
And because I’m a rebel (or can’t count), Katy-Rose Hötker AND Joseph D’Lacey



New book from Natasha McNeely, plus more!

A Glimpse of The Dark is a collection of short stories with a dark fantasy theme by our resident Ancient Egypt aficionado, Natasha McNeely (check the Favourite Reads sidebar for her blog!). You can purchase her new e-book through the following link.

Click here for A Glimpse of The Dark

Katy-Rose Hötker also sees one of her flash fiction pieces in print, now available in the Daily Flash 2012: 366 Days of Flash Fiction (Leap Year Edition) collection.