Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Hate Math – Here's Why

The dreaded science of Mathematics again raises it's ugly head as Dean Wesley Smith makes the case for the $4.99 Indie Novel. 


Good GAD! The Indie roof may fall in. The culture of the 'Dollar Dreadful' has become entrenched - so I doubt even DWS's persuasive voice can be heard above the din. The pressure to sell low is difficult to resist when you're head is in the Indie Ghetto. There it's all about numbers. Selling 1k books gets you into the '1k Sales a Month Club' and $350 in royalties. But if you raise your price to $2.99 you can make $2050.

Dean's got a heck of a point.

Add up the cost of rent, electricity, Internet and add the day-to-day cost of living - $.35 an e-book just doesn't cut it for anyone except a hobby writer or someone with a 'Comet' type book. There are 'Comets' out there – but they appear to be burning out.

Even for a hobby writer - cover art and a copy editor can set you back $300 to $500 per book. You must sell 1430 books at $.99 to pay back a $500 investment. Maybe you don't mind. But for the low-end that's not a lot of payback at $.99. More reasonable is selling 245 books at $2.99 to pay back that $500 in vestment.

Something is wrong when you see a $.99 sale and cringe inside. 

To be comfortable in my own skin, I've got 'Let's Do Lunch' for sale at $3.50 and 'Swallow the Moon' is $4.95 therefore 'Impressive Bravado' a short story is $.99.

These prices are fair in the Real World.

In the Indie Ghettos these prices are very high. At this point you have to ask yourself - to whom am I marketing this e-book? Ghetto mentality comes from a culture. Every forum has a culture – every social network has a culture. The culture of the Dollar Dreadful is deeply entrenched in the Indie Ghettos.

The reasoning behind the Dollar Dreadful.

The Indie Ghetto is a mishmash of newbie writers with skill levels that vary so wildly that 'established writers' blow up about them on a regular basis. In this Goodreads.com forum, called 'Robust' member Larry started this topic: Wannabees Threaten E-Book Market Growth.
"ARRGH! My hope is that EBooks will prove to be the salvation for all the authors that turn out quality books, but failed to meet the marketing parameters of traditional publishers at any given moment. BUT...

That potential could easily be destroyed by wannabees who have no idea of plot structure, grammar, punctuation or genre guidelines. For those who haven't a clue, each genre has certain parameters that must be followed in order to appeal to faithful readers. Those who fail to do so risk a monumental waste of time by producing an unsaleable work. If that were the only problem, it wouldn't matter, but it's not the biggest problem.
He's looked at the Dollar Dreadful and has nearly blown a gasket. I have nothing but empathy for Larry on one hand – and utter outrage at his arrogance on another. Some of what he says is true.

"The wannabees feel they don't have to conform to the well-established genre guidelines. Guidelines that have evolved over decades to meet the demands of readers rather than the plot structure whims of wannabees who are endeavoring to create anarchy out of a respected profession that stems to the days of Homer and beyond."

True – the average Dollar Dreadful is a book that doesn't fit within Genre Guidelines. But, to be fair, it is damn hard to find said Guidelines in print anywhere besides on Harlequin or a related site.

Where he starts annoying me is the part about 'evolved over decades' which implies that the mysterious Literature Fairy has made them Sacred. NEVER to be changed.
What REALLY chaps my tush is 'a respected profession that stems from the days of Homer and beyond.' Obviously, Larry wasn't online for '#queryfail – when agents heaped ridicule and scorn upon the writers' custom crafted queries.

When the gatekeepers hate you, you are NOT being respected. So, unfortunately, your Ivory Tower of Sacred Literature falls apart – from within. This is where the rebellion began, with sneering slush-pile bees guarding publishers in their Ivory Towers.

The oldest professions aren't respected.

The pulp fiction tradition is that of the fresh and different. Yes, it's not yet 200 years old, that's because it is the product of fast printing and cheap paper. Or in this case – no paper. Like the Penny Dreadful of the last century or so – the Dollar Dreadful has its place in pop-culture – not in Art & Literature.

So what does this have to do with pricing? I'm not sure. I've digressed from self-publishing to self-worth. Maybe it's because I'm a newbie – trying to break out of the Indie Ghetto. But I see the Dollar Dreadful as springing from the compost of literary bullshit, into the arms of pop-culture who is embracing it.

Money talks!

PS – Buy my book, 'Swallow the Moon.' It is a kick-ass ghost story – filled with creepy, scary moments that will make you shiver – and a couple of sizzling scenes that will warm you back up.

Swallow the Moon – Profile Page with sample chapters and links.


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