New to the Toolbox

I've added something new to my Author Toolbox and to my Associations. I've joined Sisters in Crime. What is that? It's a national writer organization that focuses on women crime writers. This is big. This is VERY big. The way I look at is that the more you align yourself with people who have similar goals, the more likely you are to succeed. That's why I've been a member of RWA for so many years. I've always been adamant about gathering resources and this is yet another great resource.

In Stephen King's book, On Writing, he talks about gathering your toolbox of items that you'll need to succeed. Into that box you put all the things that will aid in the road to publication. I've been published, but that doesn't mean that I stop now. In fact, the need to keep expanding your toolbox grows along with your career. Makes sense doesn't it. It also makes sense that as your career path changes, so does the need for the things in your toolbox. If something doesn't work now, that doesn't necessarily mean that it won't work at a later date. It's like those scenes that don't work for your current work-in-progress, but you go on to cannibalize it for another book. Most of us have done this at one point or another.

So, this is my latest step in my career. I'm actually very excited about it. It's a positive step and I hope to learn from the masters that populate such a fantastic organization. I'll keep you all apprised.

Rejection, Rinse, Repeat...

Odd title, I know, but frankly I'm in the kind of mood. Quirkey, resigned, somewhat off balance, none of these are new reactions for me. But then, I'm no stranger to rejection. This week I recieved a rejection from a well known house that allows submissions of previously published work. I'd submitte it back in August and had no hopes of hearing anything on it until October. So imagine my surprise when I opened my email on one of my truly yucky days this week and found an "R" email.

After comisserating with my friends I feel a bit better. The book is good. I can publish it myself. But I was hoping to find an expanded audience for it that I'm not sure I can get through Indie Pubbing. My friend Diane made the comment that "Instead of hurting less, it seems rejections wound us more", as we progress through the years. It's tough. No one wants their baby to be turned down, especially when it's already found a good home once. It's kind of like an animal being that been returned to the shelter and has to start looking for a good home and someone to love them all over again.

So, after a few days it doesn't smart as well. They didn't take the time to tell me it was horrible and to never send anything to darken their door again. In fact, the email suggests that something else may suit their needs later. But it's still rejection and now I am facing the difficult decision over which direction to turn. The way I see it I've got two options.

1. Try to submit to a house that is more mystery oriented and less romance oriented. But most of the big houses require an agent.
2. Indie pub it myself... and there is another option...
3. Indie pub it and make it a series. I've had a mind to do this for quite some time. There is another book that could easily become the next in the series. But do I really want to go there?

We shall see. I'll keep you all posted. I'm sure you're all on the edges of your seat to see what I'm going to do. But I think I'll chose to look at this as just another opportunity. After all, I'm an optimist at best.

Indie Pubbing: So... Let's Talk Pricing... Again

I can't tell you how many discussions I've been involved in that have to do with pricing your own work for sale. Think about it... you've labored for hours over this baby. You've sweat blood and tears over this work. Now,  you've got to put it at a price that will not only be fair to you, but won't turn readers away. How hard is that?

There are tons of writers out there all trying to gauge pricing and how to maneuver for the best sales. But none of us truly can say what will work and what won't. I've done the KDP select route and I've done the free days and frankly, all it did for me was kill of potential sales. I may have gained a reader, but they've already bought my book. Now what?

Okay, so a lot of this has to do with the fact that without additional inventory to give to readers you really have very little play room with setting prices. But that doesn't mean that you should in any way undercut the value of your work. You spent the hours writing and editing. You've either purchased, or spent the time to create a catchy cover to attract the readers. You've done promotion. You've done it all. Are you undervaluing your work.

I get it. Without readers it really doesn't mean anything. You could put it at hundreds of dollars or nothing and it would have the same effect. (I'd like to try the $100 option, just for the kick of it). But now that some of the bright, shiny newness of indie pubbing is wearing off we have to take a serious look at what is going to work long term.

Let's use Three Truths as an example. This work is a roughly 50,000 words. It's the size of a contemporary category fiction from one of the large pubbing houses. If it went out from them they'd charge about $4.99 ($3.99 if you buy off their site) for an ebook version. I had my book, which was originally intended for the same market, at a price point of $1.99. Sounds like a good deal, huh? But is a potential reader going to look at the price and think that the book can't be good because it isn't priced higher? I've got a friend who consumes ebooks voraciously. She tells me that paying $3.99 for a book or higher doesn't bother her because she knows that she's getting something good for her money. She looks at the price as a value indication. So why don't we as writers and indie pubbers look at it the same way?

My dear, dear friend Nina Pierce, who has graciously guided me and talked me off more than one ledge at a time or two, goes by the Taco Pricing when looking at pricing her work. (By the way, her work is amazing!)

 $0.99 (1 Taco) ? Books less 10,000 words
$1.99 (2 Tacos) ? Books 10,001 to 20,000 words
$2.99 (3 Tacos) ? Books 20,001 to 50,000 words
$3.99 (4 Tacos) ? Books 50,001 to 75,000 words
$4.99 (5 Tacos) ? Books 75,001 to 100,000 words
$5.99 (6 Tacos) ? Books 100,001 words to ???
I'm 99% sure she got this from someone else, but the idea is the same. It's a comparison of tacos to books. How many tacos are you getting for your dollars?

Guess what? I adjusted my prices. I may not be selling much, but I don't want to undervalue my work. That doesn't mean that I won't occasionally be doing deals (hint... hint), but it does mean that I pride myself on my work and I know that it can stand on it's own.

What's your take on pricing?

When Did it Become Fall?

I've been busy. Daughter is now back at college and son is back at school and things should be settling down around here, but they aren't. I love my kids, but I've have also always loved the time when they went back to school (my apologies to the teachers who also have to go back). Somehow, when the dust settles it easier to get my thoughts back in line and think about all the things that need to be done before the upcoming holidays. But this year I'm distracted.

Not only am I getting lots of new things up in my Etsy Shop (shameless self promotion inserted here), but I'm editing a book that I wrote some time ago and that has my mind going in a thousand different directions. Last week, one of my most favorite cities was again in danger. I was in New Orleans in the pre-Katrina era, certainly not long before. I'd love to say that the city won't be forever divided in history as pre and post Katrina, but it would seem that the impact is monumental. For me, the story I wrote was based on the city I saw pre-Katrina. Now, I'm charged with going back and rewriting the history I wrote to include a much changed city. One I can only imagine.

In my book, I wrote about the sounds and smells and the feel of a city where the air was heavy with history and rich with opulence, decadence and especially, elegance. I centered a key twist around a scene in the fabricated Hotel Casteleone. There was no such hotel in New Orleans, not to my knowledge, but the essence of it is a compilation of all the wonderful things I witnessed in the French Quarter. Before going to New Orleans my ideas of grand hotels were based on the legendary Waldorf Astoria in New York and the Sir Francis Drake on Union Square in San Francisco. But it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the Grande Dames of the Veiux Carre. The architecture of the city is enough to make anyone swoon with glee, but the history behind that architecture lingers like a viable essence that exudes from every pore of every brick, every chip of stone and every gilded iron balustrade. Ultimately, the Hotel Castelone had the formidable and inspiring entrance of the Ponchartrain Hotel, the formality of the Hotel Monteleone (and a slight nod to the name) and the courtyard somewhat along the lines of the one at the Hotel Dupuy. The Hotel Monteleon and the Hotel Dupuy are still going strong, despite the trials of weather and economy. The Ponchartrain is now a senior living center, an ironic twist for a hotel that once hosted celebrities and travellers who escaped to the city for an often extended stay.

So, I'm off once again to work on my book, hoping to do justice to such a wonderful city and knowing that I could never truly do it justice. Until then, Bonne Chance!

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