Monthly Archives: December 2011

2011…A Lost Opportunity

2011 is almost done, and I feel compelled to do my own “year in review” piece.  But please don’t misunderstand.  On the whole, I hate these things.  The concept has been overdone so much that it’s almost become a cliché to me, rather than a useful reflection of the year gone by.  But this was supposed to be a blog where I shared my experiences as I developed as a writer and new self-publisher.  So in this case is prudent to review 2011…both for you, who has taken an interest in what I”m doing (and I thank you), and myself, to gauge what I’ve done and to set a path for 2012.

Joe Konrath has a great post about resolutions for writers, and some of the things I need to address most in 2012, he has already dealt with.  Please check out that post if you haven’t seen it.

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/12/konraths-resolutions-for-writers-2012.html

This review will be short because there really is only one rating I can give my writing career in 2011:

Epic failure.

That’s not to say there haven’t been any bright points.  Self-publishing two novelettes and getting some sales was a blast and clearly my biggest accomplishment. 

Interacting with readers and other writers through this blog and Twitter has also been great.  I’ve not done nearly enough with Facebook, and that’s certainly on the list to work on in ’12.

But that’s where the good of 2011 pretty much ends, for me.

So I’ve been self-publishing, Tweeting, blogging, (some)Facebooking, networking…What’s missing here?

Writing.

Heinlein’s rule #2 (you must finish what you write) has kicked the crap out of me all year-long.  Dozens of projects, in various stages, reside in a couple of folders on my laptop and desktop.  The things that I have accomplished in 2011 CANNOT continue into 2012 without new stories to support them.  This is a hard fact.  All of the biggest proponents of self-publishing that I regularly follow – Dean Wesley Smith, Michael Stackpole, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Joe Konrath – all pretty much say the same thing:  To be successful, you have to produce new material constantly.

I’m not going to embarrass myself by saying how many stories I actually FINISHED this year.  This whiney year in review will embarrass me well enough by itself.  But I think the general reaction would be something along the lines of:  “What the hell have you been doing?”

Reasons for this failure?  Well, they vary.  Some things were beyond my control, but mostly it was time management, and incomplete preparation.  For example:  I lost NanoWriMo this year because my story idea wasn’t ready, and my damn internal editor kept telling me I couldn’t worldbuild on the fly and be happy with it.

Well, I’ve got a few days to figure that out so I can get back on track on 1/1/12 and see what I can make of myself by Doomsday.

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Pricing, pricing, pricing

There is a very interesting guest post on Joe Konrath’s blog on the much talked about subject of ebook pricing.  Elle Lothlorian makes a good case for the ~$4.99 price point.  Check out the post and come back for my brief comments: 

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/12/guest-post-by-elle-lothlorien.html

I’ve worked in retail, in one way or another, for the last 22 years.  Elle Lothlorian’s statement about the impression a cheap price can leave on a potential buyer is spot on.  I’ve seen it a million times.  People passing up that store brand item on the store shelf because it’s “cheap” – not in price, but in presumed quality.  The reality is, in many cases, that “cheap” store brand item is quite comparable to the more expensive item.  And let’s be honest, Joe’s follow-up comment with example revenues at various price points pretty hits it out of the park.

So knowing consumers, as I do, the post makes complete sense. 

As I said, this isn’t a new topic, but for anyone that still thinks the 99 cent ebook novel is a great way to get started, you may as well take your chances with Big Pub.  The return for your effort will likely be about the same.

Now, in my case, I’ve not had a full novel available for sale on Amazon.  So I can’t back up the argument with my own experiences.  I could experiment and raise my novelette prices to $2,99 for the 70% royalty rate, but that seems like a lot for 10,000 to 12,000 words…but that doesn’t mean I can’t test the theory for a little while.