Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What's Up with…Er? Which Project?

No, I have not forgotten about A Fistful of Fire's paperback editions, nor getting A Fistful of Earth published. Nor have I forgotten about… Just see the list below for updates on everything.

  • A Fistful of Fire has gone through a very careful re-proofreading process as it's been formatted for paperback, because somewhere in publication I screwed up and uploaded the wrong file. I've also compared the current file against the various other ones to make sure everything's included. I'm also making some formatting changes (like smart quotes) that mean I have to watch for newly inserted errors, like quotes turned the wrong way.

  • A Fistful of Earth has finally gotten the results from the "Does this story work?" check. (Long story short: It "jinxed" the first 3 first readers.) Now it's going through editing. After editing comes ARCs to Kickstarter folks, proofreading and formatting and finalizing the cover. (I have the image; I just have to put the typography together—and there are some slight things I'm considering changing about the typography that'll affect the cover for A Fistful of Fire.)

  • A Fistful of Water has the basic plot outline. (For me, that means notes jotted of major events, including where the story will end up—and the opening scene is started.) I've started poking at it enough to have a sense of the narrator's voice (Geddis). I've also started compiling that book's song listing. (Anyone have suggestions for songs about someone who feels neglected, bitter, and resentful that she gets ignored and that everyone complains about having what she'd give almost anything to have?)

  • Destiny's Kiss will be getting a glance-through to convert it to smart quotes, etc., but that won't be an issue until…

  • Know Thy Frienemy (Destiny #2) is the current to-write project. It's half written, so I should be able to finish drafting it in the next month or so, after which time I'll jump into A Fistful of Water.

  • Short stories – I have several planned and started. A sequel to "Associated Accidents" that explains how Nirmoh so quickly became Silva's fiancé in A Fistful of Fire. Three shorts all stemming from "The Corpse Cat", which will reveal more about Emris and some side characters in Destiny's Kiss. I have probably a good score more short stories in various stages of completion, including some that would go under alternate pennames or would be (or are being) submitted to 'zines.

  • A note on "Of Her Own": I'll be updating it in the next few weeks so it contains an excerpt from A Fistful of Earth rather than A Fistful of Fire. It will be free for at least a short time after that.

So. Now let's talk some numbers.

I've mentioned before that math isn't my strong point. I probably have some form of dyscalculia. If I don't concentrate, I will transpose numbers. I'm not talking the usual "Oh, I do that sometimes" that everyone does. If I'm not careful, I will transpose numbers. No "sometimes" about it.

Even when I'm careful, it happens more often than is normal, but it isn't completely debilitating. I still tend to double- and triple-check my math on even the simplest things. I also apply a lot of logic to my math: I estimate answers before I calculate, so I can quickly figure out when I transposed numbers in a fraction (again).

Still. Even I can see that A Fistful of Fire is about 20k words longer than Destiny's Kiss.

I've mentioned before over on the blog version of A Fistful of Fire that the sequel will cost $4.99 US when it comes out. That's true.

But A Fistful of Earth will only cost $4.99 for 1–4 weeks.

After that, I'll be bumping up the prices for both A Fistful of Fire and A Fistful of Earth by a dollar or two. (So A Fistful of Fire will cost $4.99 or $5.99 and A Fistful of Earth will cost $5.99 or $6.99.) Then, when I release A Fistful of Water, I'll look at the prices again.

Now, why did I mention that A Fistful of Fire is longer than Destiny's Kiss?

There's a growing knee-jerk reaction against too-low prices (even in me as a reader). That $3.99 price point of A Fistful of Fire…is starting to feel too "bargain bin". The book's already available for free as a web novel, which is something I mention openly. I even link to it at the start of the book.

I think $0.99 is fair for a short story of 2-4k words. Those of you who've bought one of mine obviously agree, because you haven't left scathing reviews protesting the lengths and/or price point.

Even Destiny's Kiss, my shorter novel, is over 10 times the length of one of my short stories.

That was why I first raised the price on Destiny's Kiss to $4.95. The sales rate has stayed the same if not increased slightly, so I don't think I've found the ideal price for that audience. (Actually, looking at comparable titles' prices, I've not yet decided if my next move will be to try $3.99 or to shoot higher on that one, to give fair warning to anyone interested in buying it.) I'm not planning on entering Dean Wesley Smith's current pricing scheme—but then a year ago, I never would've put Destiny's Kiss up for $5, either, which is what he was recommending then.

I might just change my mind and start following his pricing recommendations. We'll see.

Some folks scoff at Dean and his wife (Kris Rusch) due to their ranking on the Amazon bestseller lists, which evidently suggest they aren't selling all that many copies a month, but those people seem to forget that other vendors exist. Some authors actually sell better on vendors other than Amazon. Also, consider that an author would have to sell 16 copies of something at $0.99 to equal the income of 1 sale at $7.99 (which is still a reasonable price for a novel, which provides more entertainment time than a $10 movie at the theater).

Dean and Kris aren't dumb. They know business. So when they talk, if I disagree, I sit up and listen and figure out why I disagree. Sometimes, it's because we're at different stages in our careers or have different goals. Sometimes, it's because I'm being dense.

And sometimes, I can't figure out which it is.

I say all this so my fellow writers can know what one of their peers is thinking, and so my fellow readers can have fair warning that my prices are going to change, most likely to go up. (So if you've been eyeing one of my stories, you might want to get it now—unless we're talking about "Of Her Own".)

If you've read any of my stories, which one(s) do you most want to see a sequel/prequel for? What character's your favorite? What off-screen situation or event do you want to see a story for?

And what price do you think too high for a short story? How about for a novel (e-book and print form)?


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