Marketing and Pricing

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m presenting my stories, from a marketing and pricing perspective, and I’ve decided to make a few changes.

First, let’s talk Pericles.

I’ve been wondering for a while whether I chose correctly about its price point.  $7.99 is a very reasonable price – below typical mass market paperback prices.  But I’ve been wondering whether people read Passing In The Night, like what they’ve seen so far, and move on to Pericles…only to be stymied by that price, since it is above what a lot of other people ask for their books.  Maybe I’m just being silly; sales have been creeping along pretty steadily, after all.  But creeping is the operative word.  So I figure what the heck.  A little experimentation can’t hurt.  So I’ve dropped the price down to $5.99.  We’ll see how that does for a few weeks.

Second, short stories.

At first, my policy was $.99 for short stories, with prices rising from there.  But in the spring of 2012 at the workshop with Dean Wesley Smith up in Oregon, we talked about a pricing idea that I thought was neat: combine two shorts together, with story B as a bonus if you buy A and story A as a bonus if you buy B, and charge $2.99 for that.  Nice, huh.  A little extra value.  So I went with that.  The results have been ok I guess.  But then in the last year or so I haven’t put out many short stories, so…  *shrug*  But a couple months ago, another writer on a mailing list I belong to reported getting warning emails from Amazon for doing just what I have, saying the two products are essentially the same, so he shouldn’t have two separate listings up for sale.  And thinking about it, that makes sense.  So I think I’m going to de-double the short story listings.  Of course, if I do that, I’m not going to feel comfortable charging $2.99 for them.  Novelettes and above?  Sure, no problem.  But for a short story?  No.  So, I’m going to drop short stories back to $.99 and go from there.

Finally, Glimmer Vale.

As you all know, Out-Dweller was released about three weeks ago, to rave reviews and the adulation of the masses who were eagerly awaiting it.  🙂  Or not.  In truth, Glimmer Vale, though selling a trickle when it first came out, has been essentially dormant for the last year or so.  So frankly I’m not surprised Out-Dweller hasn’t made much of a splash yet.  So how to help it splash?  Well, I’ve found making Passing In The Night free helped keep Pericles rolling; I’m quite certain were it not for people picking up the prequel, Pericles would not be selling even at its current trickle.  Because what would point people to it?  Given that, I’ve begun the process to make Glimmer Vale free in all outlets.  Now, based on her post today, I suspect Kris Rusch might not agree with this decision.  Or maybe she would.  As it is, Glimmer Vale is generating little or no value, from a cash flow perspective (16 sales in about 18 months….yeah not so good).  But if making it free draws more eyes to the series, and enough of those eyes like what they see, it could be a very good thing.  At the least, it can’t be worse than what’s happening now: nothing.  Of course, there’s always the possibility that Glimmer Vale is just no good, in which case making it free won’t help at all.  But I rather think it doesn’t suck.  So here’s hoping some more visibility does the trick.

Right.  That’s it for now.

Thoughts?  Questions?  Concerns?  Snarky witticisms?  You know what to do.

 

Oh yeah, one last thing.  I’ve not been particularly good at pimping my newsletter signup.  But see that little link in the upper-right of my sidebar?  It’ll take you to the signup form.  The newsletter will announce new releases, special deals, giveaways, and other fun things.  I won’t spam you – just one message a month or so.  So go ahead and sign up.  As a sweetener, you’ll receive a coupon code for a free copy of Masters of the Sun, my first novel.  Hard to say no to that, right?  🙂

Goals and Results

Hello friends.

I meant to discuss how 2013 went and my goals for 2014 a while ago.  But, you know…life.  Pesky life intruded, and I did not.  Now it almost feels too late to talk about it, seeing as the year has already begun to move on.

But I’m going to do it anyway.

In 2013, I set a goal of writing 300,000 words.  Included in those words would be finishing The Pericles Conspiracy, Glimmer Vale 2, and Dawn of Enlightenment 2.  I was also going to submit to Writers of the Future every quarter.  So…how’d it go?

Meh.

Final 2013 TallyI didn’t hit the word count goal – 196,000 words total on the year, or about 2/3s of the way there.  Which isn’t too bad.  But still not what I wanted.  This brings my total word count since I started being serious about this to 569,000 words (since 2011).  Just over 1/2 way through the mythical 1,000,000 words of crap.  Of course, I think I got through several of the million words earlier, before I began tracking and being serious.  But I’ve no idea how far, and it could be I’m deceiving myself as to my level of suckitude.  Time will tell, I guess.  🙂

So that’s word count.  Novel output?  Much better.  Pericles and Out-Dweller are done and out there.  Glimmer Vale 3 is about 80% done.  I didn’t make any more progress on Dawn of Enlightenment 2; it still sits at about 8,000 words or so.  So overall not too bad.

Writers of the Future?  Fugetaboutit.  I dropped the ball on WotF completely, after the second quarter of last year.  It’s now been…two?  Three?…quarters since I submitted to them.  Why?  Well frankly I haven’t wrote any short fiction in a while; I’ve been concentrating on longer works.  I need to get back on the horse there, I think.

So as far as goals go, 2013 was a mixed bag, but more good than bad.  What about business metrics?

Well, I accrued more royalties in 2013 than I did in 2011 and 2012 combined, so that’s good.  If that trend continues in 2014 (and I expect it shall, with what I’ve got planned), it promises to be quite a nice year.  I also got some books into a local bookstore, which is great.  They seemed pleased with how that worked out, so I expect I’ll be invited back again.  Which is also great.

So things are going pretty well.

That said, I feel the need to kick things up a notch.  So I’ve set the following goals for 2014:

1) Write 500,000 words – because I want to hurry up and get past that 1,000,000 words written milestone.  Broken down as I did last year, assuming a 40 week writing year I need to write 12,500 words/week.  I did better than that several weeks last year; I just have to be consistent about it this year.  Now…is this doable?  If you look at my first three years’ output (229,000, 144,000, and 196,000) you might say it’s not likely.  And you might have a point.  But it’s totally doable if I focus, and you know what?  Even if I don’t make it I’ll write more than I would have without the goal.  So it’s all good.

2) Publish Glimmer Vale 3 by the end of March.

3) Finish Dawn of Enlightenment 2 and 3, and publish in the summer and fall, respectively.

4) Write that crime novel, 30 Hours, that’s been percolating in my brain for 2 years now.

5) Get going on The Penitent, which has also been percolating for a couple years.  It’s going to be a long one, so I’m sure I won’t get it finished, not with everything else I want to do this year.  But it’s going to rock, so I want to get going on it.

6) Submit to Writers of the Future each quarter.

Whatcha think?  Is that enough?  I hope so because  that’s what I’ve got.

Last year, I fell away from revealing my weekly word counts, like I’d planned on doing at the beginning.  That was bad; it removed accountability.  So I’m going to get back to doing that reporting here this year.

So that’s it.  The plan for the year.  It’s going to be fun!

🙂

 

It’s 2014 And I Feel Like Crap

…or at least I felt like crap.  I’m actually feeling much better today.  But yesterday and the day before?  Fugedaboutit.  Hacking cough, fever/chills, splitting headache, sore throat, queasiness – you name it, I had it.  Yuck.

Note to self.  No more 1/2 marathons with 37F starting temperatures.  I blame my cold on that little bit of foolishness, right there.  The San Diego Holiday 1/2 Marathon, this past Sunday.  Great race.  Great fun.  Awesome finisher’s medal:

IMG_3149

But changing from cold to exertion to warm but no exertion to a bit chilly as I cooled down to warm to chilly again as evening rolled in did a number on my system.  Monday afternoon I developed a cough.  Tuesday morning I was still ok, but by Tuesday afternoon I was AFU.  Good thing it was an early day at work on Tuesday or it would have been ugly.

Suffice it to say that New Years Eve here was non-eventful.  I did not see past 2100.  Yesterday was not that much better.  But now I seem to be past the worst of it.  Unfortunately, our 3 year old seems to have caught what I have/had; he’s been thoroughly miserable today, poor little guy.  🙁

So…a pretty cruddy start to the New Year, physically.

But wait!  There’s more!  And it’s good!

I did manage to gather up enough energy yesterday to give the final approvals, so now Out-Dweller, Glimmer Vale Chronicles #2 is out for the world to consume, in all its glory.  🙂

Glimmer2_Cover_Art - Ebook 600x900

A series of brutal murders has shocked the normally quiet town of Lydelton.  With no idea of the culprit’s identity, or even how the murders were committed, the townsfolk have become suspicious of each other, teetering on the edge of panic.  As the town Constables, Raedrick and Julian must put a stop to the murders and bring the killer to justice.   Somehow.

Before they can do that, the arrival of a member of the Magestirium poses another dilemma.  Because their friend Melanie is a mage, in violation of the laws forbidding women from practicing the magical arts, and the Magestirium’s wrath against those who break their laws is legendary.

But protecting their friend’s secret while saving the town from a horrifying killer may not be possible, since defeating this killer will require every resource Lydelton can muster.

Out-Dweller is now live 0n all your favorite ebook stores: Amazon, Kobo, B&N, and Smashwords.  Apple, Sony,  and the others will follow shortly (Apple would be live already if their direct upload process wasn’t such a PITA…but that’s a different rant entirely).  The print version is also available.  I get the most money if you get it direct from Createspace, but if you’d rather find it at Amazon and B&N, you can do that instead.

The giveaways (for Glimmer Vale and Out-Dweller) are finished over at Goodreads, the winners chosen, and I’ll have their copies of the books mailed off within a week.  I considered just drop-shipping the winners’ copies straight from Createspace, but I think it’s more classy to sign and personalize the copy for the individual winners, so I’m going to take the time to do that.  Hopefully no one minds.  🙂

So that bit of goodness sort of balances out the bad of illness.  Almost.  Not quite.

As you can imagine I’ve gotten no writing done so far this year.  Hell, I got basically no writing done all of December.  More on that later; I’ll do an end-of-the-year wrap-up post tomorrow or this weekend.  And I’ll get back to posting chapters of The Pericles Conspiracy.  I haven’t forgotten about it, it’s just been lower on my priorities list than getting settled in our new house, and then the Holidays, and then…well, you know.

Excuses, excuses.

🙂

Ahem.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got time and energy for tonight.  Gonna hit the sack a bit earlier tonight too.  Sleep seems to help with healing and getting over illness.  Seems like I heard that somewhere once.   🙂

Right.  Until next time, then.  Have a good one!

Out-Dweller Cover Reveal

I’ve been silent for a while, despite getting connectivity back in our new house.  What can I say?  Moving is funny that way.  Distracting.  Busy.  Fun.   🙂  As a consequence of the move, I didn’t make it in NaNoWriMo this year.  Big shock, right?  I topped out at a little under 36,000 words.  Not too bad for a given month, more than my average for the year.  But still not the goal.

Am I mad about that?  Nope.  Getting the family situated takes priority, and I got Glimmer Vale 3 2/3s done.  So it’s all good.  🙂

That said, I still haven’t gotten my schedule squared away at the new house.  My commute is a hell of a lot longer than it was, and I don’t have a writing desk (I had stolen my daughter’s desk in the old place…long story, don’t ask).  Consequently, I’ve not written much so far in December, just a couple thousand words.  But that’s ok.

But that’s not the purpose of this post.

You may recall I finished Out-Dweller, Glimmer Vale Chronicles #2, at the end of October, and I just rolled into #3 for NaNoWriMo.  While the book was off with my first readers, I contracted with James Beveridge, via Lucky Bat Books, to do a cover.  You may (or may not) recall that he did the cover for Glimmer Vale, and did a great job on it.  Well, he outdid himself with this one.  Observe:

JFBeveridge-Glimmer2_Cover_Art 1000x728

Pretty awesome, huh?  I love it.  🙂

So Out-Dweller is just about ready to go.  I’ve received comments from most of my first-readers and am making final edits.  The plan is to have it ready for release by the end of the month.  Of course, shenanigans may prevent that, but I think I’m mostly past those for the time being.  So that’s the plan.  In case you’re curious, here is the back cover copy/blurb for the book:

A series of brutal murders has shocked the normally quiet town of Lydelton.  With no idea of the culprit’s identity, or even how the murders were committed, the townsfolk have become suspicious of each other, teetering on the edge of panic.  As the town Constables, Raedrick and Julian must put a stop to the murders and bring the killer to justice.   Somehow.

Before they can do that, the arrival of a member of the Magestirium poses another dilemma.  Because their friend Melanie is a mage, in violation of the laws forbidding women from practicing the magical arts, and the Magestirium’s wrath against those who break their laws is legendary.

But protecting their friend’s secret while saving the town from a horrifying killer may not be possible, since defeating this killer will require every resource Lydelton can muster.

So stay tuned for Out-Dweller.  It’s a romping fun read, and you don’t have to have read Glimmer Vale to enjoy it.  But if perchance you haven’t read Glimmer Vale yet and want to, it’s available pretty much everywhere.  By all means give it a look-see.  You’ll be glad you did.

#NaNoWriMo and Finished Novels

Hola folks.

I’m departing from the chapters posting tonight to talk about other things.  Three things, in fact.

 

1) I finished another novel last night.  This one is called Out-Dweller, and it is the sequel to Glimmer Vale.  I decided a little while back that I really really enjoy the Glimmer Vale world and characters, and I wanted to go back to them.  Several of my beta readers (but amazingly no reader readers…although to be fair GV hasn’t had that many of those) agreed and have been pestering me to hurry the hell up and write a sequel.

So I did, and it was fun.  It came it at just over 60k words, so it’s about 6,000 words longer than Glimmer Vale.  I don’t envision any of the Glimmer Vale Chronicles (that’s the series title now) being much longer than that.  My concept for these books is to keep them short (for novels) and fun.  Considering that the setting is a mixture of fantasy and a western, I think it’s ready-made for the fun part, anyway.  🙂

Anyway, Out-Dweller is off to the beta readers.  Meanwhile, James Beveridge, the guy who did Glimmer Vale’s cover, is just about finished with the cover for Out-Dweller.  I’ll post the finished version here and on Facebook when it’s ready.  Trust me, it’s pretty kick-ass.  Then I think I’m going to run another Goodreads giveaway in the second half of November for Glimmer Vale, to prime the pump for Out-Dweller’s release, if you will.  Naturally I’m going to do a giveaway for Out-Dweller as well, but I think I’ll wait until I know better what day it will really be ready to go before I plot that scheme too much.

 

So that’s the first thing.  Pretty cool, right?

*defeaning silence*

Exactly.

Right, item the second:

 

2) I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year.  I think I promised that before, but it’s all official now.

You may (or may not) recall that I won NaNo in 2011 with Glimmer Vale, and failed it last year with a bunch of short stories.  I want to say I got 33k-ish words done last November: nothing to mock, but not enough for NaNo.  This year, I’m going to deviate from my initial plan a bit.

Well, sort of.

Recall that I planned to finish Out-Dweller a couple months ago, return to work on the sequel to Masters of the Sun, then get to Glimmer Vale 3 for NaNo and finish up Masters 2 in December and into the New Year.  Clearly I gooned that plan right up if I only finished Out-Dweller last night.

So I’m skipping Masters 2 and going straight into Glimmer Vale 3, starting tomorrow when NaNo begins.  And I have no idea what’s going to happen in it.  With Out-Dweller, I had a rough notion.  For this one?  Not a clue.  So it’ll be interesting.

But that brings me to…

 

Item the third.

3) We are buying a house here in San Diego.  Well, Chula Vista, but it’s close enough to San Diego proper that calling it San Diego is close enough.  It’s a pretty kick-ass place and will give us a lot more room for the munchkins to do what munchkins do.  And for Mommy and Daddy to do what Mommies and Daddies do.  We’re closing on 20 November, and then will be moving in shortly thereafter.

Guess what that does for my NaNoWriMo schedule?

I’ll be taking a couple weeks of leave to facilitate the move-in, but even without work hanging over my head it’s going to be busy.  Busy.  Busy.  Odds of getting a lot of writing done in the last week and a half of this month?  Pretty low, I’m thinking.

Which means I need to finish Glimmer Vale 3 (or at least get it to 50,000 words) by the 20th.

Impossible?

Nah.  In July 2011, I cranked out just under 30,000 words in ten days, as a challenge to myself while the better half and kids were out of town.  That’s a greater daily word count than I’ll need to pull this off now.  Of course, the better half and munchkins are not out of town, and we’ll have moving preps to do over the next couple weeks.  And I still have work.  But hey, it’s just 2,500 words/day.  I write about 1,500-1,700 words/hour.  Given that, it’s only an hour and a half to an hour and 45 mins a day.  Go a bit longer on the weekends to add a bit of buffer.

Totally doable.

I just have to actually do it.  Which means no screwing off on the internet, I guess.  *sigh*

And speaking of screwing off on the internet, I think I’ve done enough of that for one evening.  I’m going to hit the rack, then get up early to get started on Glimmer Vale 3, and NaNoWriMo.

Have a great night, everybody.  Wish me luck!

 

🙂