More business thoughts

I’ve not made much progress this week.  I’m up to just under 29,000 words on Masters.  On the bright side, the progress I did make was good.  On the bad side, there wasn’t much of it.  Part of the reason for this is I upgraded computers.  My old Power Mac was just that: old.  Six years old, to be precise.  I was taking 10 minutes to wake it up.  Quite annoying, so I’d been using my wife’s Macbook Pro more often than not.  Which was annoying for her.  On Tuesday, my new Macbook Pro arrived, but regardless of Apple’s advertising about how easy it is to migrate all your files from one Mac to another, it took a LONG time to git ‘r done.

In the mean time, I’ve been getting my business registration and banking squared away.  SSN Storytelling is now an actual business entity, complete with checking account.  I got a Paypal account, and set up accounts on KDP and PubIt.  Smashwords is next.

Now that I’m up and running as a business, I’ve been thinking more about strategy.  I’m obviously going to submit to publishing houses and magazines.  But I see no reason not to publish stories myself online at the same time, and make some money.  There’s a lot of potential upside there.  And if a publishing house picks me up too, even better.

So I ran some more numbers, based on my writing goals for this year.  Assuming I make them, my production would look something like this:

Taking a hint from Dean Wesley Smith, I figure I should package short stories individually and in packages of 5 and 10.  Along those same lines, it might be worthwhile to package groups of novels too.  I decided on the above pricing scheme for a number of reasons, but primarily because I don’t see the point in undervaluing my work and removing all profit from my business.  Some will point out that you get more sales from pricing really low, but the more I think about it the less that makes sense.  Sure, maybe you might sell more.  But a quality product will sell regardless, unless you price it exorbitantly high (and $4.99 for a novel doesn’t qualify as exorbitant).

One might ask where I got the sales assumptions.  Right out of thin air is the answer.  But from what I’ve been able to glean on various writers blogs and forums, I don’t think those numbers aren’t unreasonable to expect for each title.  Or maybe they are.  We’ll see.

So, with those assumptions in place, that leads to the following cash flow projection:

To make the numbers easy, I assumed that titles don’t sell at all during the year they’re introduced.  Again, not a valid assumption, but that’s ok.  I also assumed that production remains the same year in, year out.  Again, will that happen?  Probably not.  But you have to start somewhere.  Finally, as you no doubt noticed above, I assumed Amazon-level royalty rates, and that those do not change in the years ahead.  PubIt and Smashwords rates are different, of course, as would be any profit from Print on Demand sales.  But again, this is just a projection based on some simple assumptions.  Reality will vary.

So yeah, there’s potential for pretty good cash.  But then I guess we already knew that.

So today I’ve been pondering how to proceed.  Obviously I must continue writing.  I was thinking what to do with the stories I currently have finished.  My first two short stories are all set.  I re-did the cover on Falling Softly and compiled both of them in Kindle and Epub formats, then tested both on my Kindle for Mac app and using Adobe Digital Editions, and the formatting looks pretty good.  I was initially thinking to wait to upload them to the stores until after Masters is finished and edited.  That way I’d have the novel and a couple more short stories as well, so I could hit the markets with the shorts, a collection of shorts, and the novel all at once.  Seemed like a good way to make a small splash right from the start.  But now I’m wondering if I shouldn’t release Damsel and Falling now, to get some practice with how the stores work, so when the novel’s ready I’m not learning from scratch then.  Seems reasonable too, but I wonder if I’m being impatient.  There’s no rush, after all.

Oh well.  We’ve got a formal event this evening that I need to get ready for.  So I guess I’ll think it through a bit more before I do anything.