Friday, August 16, 2013

Authors, Entertainers, and Their Politics

I'd like to think that most authors are fairly open-minded people. I guess I like to think that way because
that's how I consider myself. I'm a rational thinker who doesn't like to go to extremes. The world isn't black and white, so what good does it do to think in those terms? So, when I saw a recent headline detailing ridiculous and borderline insane ideas being spewed by an author who, up until now, I had respected, I decided to investigate further. Needless to say, I'm utterly disappointed in what I found.

Dammit, I really wanted to see the movie too! >:(
Apparently, Orson Scott Card, the author of one of my favorite series (Ender's Game), has been drinking the Kool-Aid. It's disappointing on many levels. The first being that, in order to reach such conclusions, you have to be pretty damn paranoid. The second being that I really wanted to see the upcoming Ender's Game movie. Now, you won't see me in that theatre for dust. Sure, it does nothing to his bottom line, but it's the principle of the matter. This isn't just eye-roll worthy party bashing; it's downright insulting and over the edge bat-shit crazy.

Mr. Card, you've done some phenomenal writing in the past. And, yes, you have every right to express your opinions, as many other entertainers have done before you. But, I feel like you've crossed a line here. Like, the Ted Nugent line. And, once you cross a line like that, there's no taking back what put you over. I'm sorry, but you've lost a fan.

Now, while I am in total disagreement with what Orson Scott Card has to say about the Obama government, that isn't to say I'm particularly pleased with where this country is headed. However, my point here is that I would never jeopardize the opinions of my readers (both of them) by interjecting political rhetoric when that isn't my place of authority. That's not why I'm here! You're an author, Mr. Card! You want to rant about how awful things are? Impress me and write an allegorical tale that mirrors modern day. That's what you do! Use your talent, make your point with subtlety, and keep your mouth shut. I get your point, and still buy your books. We all win! I expect actors to act, writers to write, and athletes to... ummm... athlete. If I want to hear bullshit about politics, I'll turn on C-SPAN. If I want to hear crazy talk about politics, I'll turn on Fox News.

What's your opinion on this? Do you think it's important for entertainers, be they authors, singers, actors, or sports stars, to express their political views? And, if so, does it change how you view their value as an entertainer?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Great eBook Pricing Dilemma

I got $3 over here, do I hear $4?
Two years, when I started this great self-publishing escapade, I did my fair share of research regarding ebook pricing. When all was said and done, I settled on $2.99 for the price of my full-length novel. I thought it was the standard going rate and as an unknown, I didn't expect anyone to want to pay more than that. I rated my writing at $3. $3 for a full-length novel. $3 for something that, had I been traditionally published, would command a price upwards of $9.99.

At the time, it made sense. $2.99 was sort of the standard indie number. It seemed that the majority of titles from colleagues were being set at the same price point. I dabbled with free back when Select had the most benefit (early 2012) and even dipped for a while into the $0.99 waters, without much luck. Since then, I honestly hadn't given much thought to pricing my book. Now, with the coming release of my book's sequel, the argument had crept back into my mind:
Am I short-changing myself at $2.99? In short, I felt the answer was "Yes."

So, that's why I'm changing my pricing regimen. I'm taking that leap of faith and asking... for a whole dollar more. I know, it's risky. $4 seems like so much more than $3, but it really isn't. I figure if erotica writers can get away with selling 15 pages "stories" for $2.99, then I can sell a 70,000-word novel for $3.99 and not feel too guilty.

I think the self-published market is experiencing dynamic change. People are recognizing the fact that quality work is coming from independent authors. I think more and more of those authors are taking chances with their pricing schemes and finding success. I'm feeling more confident about my pricing decision. It allows me more flexibility in terms of discounting and better return in regard to royalty rates. Some folks have it broken down to exactly how much they'll charge for a number of words. <10,000 = $0.99; 10,000-40,000 = $1.99; >40,000-<70,000 = $2.99, etc. I'm not producing at a rate where I need to worry about that, but I understand the scheme.

What do you think? Do you have a scheme, or are you still winging the whole pricing thing?