Are readers dictating e-Book prices

Everyone wants a good deal, especially if something is free and e-Readers may be dictating the future of e-Books. There are many sites devoted to getting cheap if not free books. I will not list them all, they are easy to find with Google magic. I subscribe to Book Bub and I can select what type of books I am interested in and everyday in my inbox are books, some for 99 cents, some for free. Some are $2.99-what to they think I am a millionaire. Being an avid reader and bargain consumer I love it. The cheap ones I mean.

Book Bub is one of the best and I don’t want to know how many sites like them are out there. As an indie e-book author on Amazon I am afraid to find out. But we just might be on the forefront of change, as who will spend $3.99 for an e-Book, especially by an unknown, when they can pick and choose great buys, some from famous authors by signing up for a newsletter, a newsletter that, in essence, does the search for you.

The original prices for my books were $2.99 because that is what everyone said at the time. It became the standard. Of course one must always wonder who THEY are. Are they The Hardly Enlightened Yahoos. It was, however, the prevailing accepted price. Then someone said it should be $3.99 because if you value your work, believe you have written good stories, then you should be paid accordingly to distance yourself from those $2.99 folk.

I thought about it, then changed the price. I did not notice any significant downturn in sales so kept it at the higher price. At some point I thought of reverting to the original price during a sluggish sales period, but I then read a blog that said once you raise the price it is not a good idea to go back as the readers who paid the higher price may feel cheated. It made sense, but I have to come to the opinion it doesn’t matter. In the end you must do what you feel is best, not what others say or think, no matter if you believe they-remember them- make sense.

But will it now make a difference? Is $2.99 now too high a price with so many savvy readers paying 99 cents, at the most $1.99 for quality books. There is a proliferation of sales and cheap e-Books, and the smart reader knows this and loves it. In the future indie authors may be squeezed out of the market  just as they are squeezed out from traditional publishing. I have no illusions of being a best selling writer, but a steady income  of mad money would be nice.

So what to do? This year I will advertise more, and I may revert to my old price (still percolating in my sub-human brain), but all of us Indie e-Book authors are facing important questions, none of which have to do with plot and structure.

On my Amazon page you will find my books at $3.99. Buy now before the price drops.

 

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Webinar thoughts for Indie writers-beware

We live in an information age, and there is too much information, much of it sounds good, until somebody points out an obvious truth that blows up what you thought was true, but then you wonder if the ‘new’ truth is accurate. For an indie writer writing e-Books I heard over and over you need to have lots of books on Amazon. But someone said, it does not matter how many books, it is a myth, you need to learn to market, that Amazon is a search engine, and you need to increase your ability to get searchers to your books, then somebody tells you, but . .  wait a  minute. Halt. I am getting confused here.

I have attended three webinars, all were free. I learned many things, but in two of the webinars, the hosts, who were writers themselves, had a lot to say about marketing, and if you are a writer I need not go into all of that, you have heard it before. While their information-what they would share of it-was good; it told you what to do, but not the fine points of how. That would of course cost you money, as much as $500 to $700 for their course module. I have no doubt it can be done if you follow what they say. It is not the work that bothers me, but there are two points to be made.

One is that many people will go all in, but not follow through over time. The exhilaration and excitement wears off. The second is that you have to ask yourself how many books must you sell to offset the cost of what I am buying. If you are sure you can sell a few hundred books, then go for it. It is also true that what works for some people will not work for everybody. It is impossible that everybody will succeed. Some succeed, others will do the same things, but fail.

I made a purchase at the first webinar I attended. It had little to do with marketing and strategy. It only cost about $90 and would position my books on the Internet with very creative web pages. It was something like a website. Unfortunately I don’t think people ever found it. I think the product had an un-search engine. I liked the pages I was able to create, but it was a waste of money in the end.

So yes, I am leery, but I am also leery of professional marketers and pitchmen. They talk a great game. In the end if you attend any webinars, or come across anyone or anything that promises a result you desire, remember to weigh the cost.

This book will cost only $3.99 on Amazon. So save hundreds of dollars today.

coyotemoon_silentmurder

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What’s in a name-Oh My-read on

Doing my end of year cleaning through old files I ran across something I Xeroxed well over a decade ago. It is an article I believe came from a magazine. It is a short piece on the hidden meanings within names of well known actors. For instance if you rearrange the letters of actor Christian Slater, you get- Thin, classier rat. You can make your own jokes.

I could  save the best for last, but I will give it here, it is too precious. Clint Eastwood, when you rearrange the letters in his name you get, and what could be more perfect-Old west action. Makes you wonder doesn’t it. Eastwood made a name for himself, first in television with “Rawhide,” then in those spaghetti westerns, not to mention other great westerns he made like “Unforgiven” that won four Oscars.

Want more? Woody Allen is A lewd loony. Former wife Mia farrow may think he is both loony and lewd. I prefer his looniness.

Jennifer Aniston is Fine in torn jeans. I am sure she is.

Kim Basinger is Big sin maker. In her day she certainly was, and in a good way.

Tom Cruise is I’m so cuter. I am not making these names up. Feel free to rearrange the letters yourself.

Oliver Stone is No overt lies. Were there any in JFK? Or was that an enigma wrapped in a riddle?

Sean Connery is On any screen. And that works for me. Best James Bond ever.

Stanley Kubrick is Kinky, abler cuts. He did make a kinky movie, “Eyes Wide Shut” and as director he cut lots of films, and was quite able to do so.

Mel Gibson is Limbs N’ ego. Enough said.

Sigourney Weaver is Ever rogue in ways. Boy, was she rogue in “Alien” or what.

Kate Winslet is Wet skin tale. I think she got her skin wet in the tale of the “Titanic”.

Adam Sandler is Mad lad earns. Money certainly, more than he earns laughs though.

Leonardo DiCaprio is Adored in cool pair. Of shorts?

Then there are others like the following that cause one to pause.

Michael Douglas is Eh! I am a cold slug. Sorry man.

Goldie Hawn is Winged halo.

Dustin Hoffman is Offhand, I’m nuts.

Geena Davis is Age invader

Demi Moore is Moodier me

Uma Thurman is Ah! A mum turn. Is she playing mothers yet?

And finally I close with Drew Barrymore who is Merry wardrobe.

or should I close with Jamie Lee Curtis who is Slim juice eater

I will add one to the list in consideration of a recent holiday. Santa is Satan. But we knew that, right? 

My e-Books with un rearranged letters are found here.

 

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The different madness of actors and writers

Actors and writers are the yin and yang of creativity. Neither are normal, nobody in the creative arts is normal; normal people get normal jobs, have normal families, and do normal things. Creative people are neurotic, they see things normal people see, but don’t think about until writers and actors remind them, then if the norm agree with what the creators see, they applaud, if they don’t agree, the reviews are bad.

Actors, like writers are introverted, but they approach creativity from a different angle. Actors need to be in the limelight, to have that klieg light shine upon them, hiding behind a character (one the writer creates), to escape who they are, be something they would like to be, at least for that play, movie, or TV show. No normal person wants to play dress up with makeup and prance around on a stage or movie set. It is said, even by many actors, that acting is unmanly, embarrassing in a way. Most actors prefer the stage because at the end of the play they hear applause. They get that immediate reaction; they like me-wait, no-they love me, I am accepted. My acting experience is limited. I remember only the panic attack before going on, and the laughter (it was intended). I remember little else. I didn’t like the feeling. It was not my element. 

The introverted writer, like the actor, hides his true self, not behind a character, but behind the words themselves. The writer is in the story somewhere, maybe everywhere, maybe here and there, behind or underneath the words; he is there lurking around. But he is far removed from the spotlight; allergic to lime, he is far from the immediacy of the audience, safe at his desk.

Both actors and writers are storytellers. The actor tells the story of his character, how he views things, by word, deed, or action. The writer tells his story using all the characters, seeing the whole, while the actor seeing primarily his role in the story. Both are drawn to ‘the word’ as actors look at the words they will speak and decide how to interpret the words, how the words will be used, revealed, spoken; the writer simply the architect builds layers of action, thought, conflict, and ideas though there is nothing really ‘simple’ about it.

 It could be said that actors take a bigger risk by being center stage, baring their soul to the audience, and while there is some truth to that, if the play or film doesn’t work they can blame the writer. Writers have nobody to blame.

 

coyotemoon_silentmurder

Here are some words to examine.

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The strange birth of Otis Oglethorpe

The birth of Otis came not from a woman, and not in the usual method. He sprang from my brain cells. You see, Otis is a fictional character and following is how he got his name.

The story takes place in 1927, so using a name common to contemporary times won’t work. As a writer you need to search and find a name that resonates with the time period. I could use a common name, ones used decade after decade like Tom, Dick, and Harry, but those names are kind of boring-sorry guys, nothing personal. If this were a King Arthur era tale, those names, of course, would not do. You see what I am getting at, so the first name that came to mind was Otis. To me it sounds like a laborer from another time period, or perhaps a farmer; Otis is not a name I hear much anymore.

I needed a last name and could not think of one, until that is, I sat down to watch a football game on television and the Nano-second I sat down, the name Oglethorpe sprung full blown into my consciousness. I had to go to my room and jot the name down, otherwise I would forget, and then I returned to the NFL.

There are many ways to name a character. If you are of the literate mind, you can name a character to reference something critics and those ‘in the know’ will pick up on; for example naming a willful adult male Sawyer after the Mark Twain boy named Tom. Often the references are quite obtuse, referencing a Greek or Roman God, something from Norse myth, or a stray cat.

If say you want to have character who is cold-hearted, the last name could be Winter; if you want a character who has a happy disposition, Sunny would work as a caricature for a female, but something more even keel would be Sonny, for both male of female. There was a famous NFL quarterback named Sonny Jorgensen, so the name works for a male as well. The name can fit the character of the character.

There are many things to keep in mind for a character, such as nationality, the sound of the name, and even length should come into play. To me Otis Oglethorpe has a rhythm to it, it flows off the tongue despite the awkward looking last name.

In my novel in progress this is how he is introduced in a first draft, no doubt to be revised:

“Otis Oglethorpe, about thirty with a lived in face, waded into the Skookumchuck River and washed the blood from his hands. Nothing he could do about the bloody sleeves, but he sank his arms to the elbows into the clear water anyway and scrubbed them, hoping to wash the blood away.

He thought about stealing a boat at Gig Harbor or there about, but decided to take the long way, driving from Shelton up towards Bremerton, before turning right and heading south through Key Peninsula until he reached Home. Many people honed in on Home, a beacon to the wayward thinkers of the world, the originators, the oddballs, the free thinkers, the loonies, and perhaps, a hideout for those on the run. He walked back to his dirty, dinged up Ford and drove off.”

Cut to a man finding a head on a grave. I think it fair to say readers will immediately suspect Otis of murder. But is he? Or just a red herring? That is a matter for another blog.

coyotemoon_silentmurder

 Otis does not appear in “Silent Murder” but the man looking for him is. You can find the e-book at Amazon

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Writers are liars

Let me be specific. While non-fiction writers and journalists sometimes make errors in research, get their facts wrong, or shade their story to suit their bias, overt or otherwise, I am talking fiction writers. They are all liars.

Their is no Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer. No Sherlock Holmes or James Bond. There was no Ahab chasing a whale (didn’t he have something better to do?) and there is no Count Dracula with a neck fetish. All lies. None of it is true.

Jane Austen lied to you, as did Mark Twain, and yes even contemporary writers like Thomas Pynchon, Gillian Flynn, Roberto Bolano, Umberto Eco, Paula Hawkins, and every other writer in the entire history of literature. Al liars.

So why do we read these insidious devils who have trampled on one of the ten commandments? I think lying is one, but I’m not sure, I don’t pay attention to most of the commandments; but if it isn’t a commandment it should be. And while we are at it, there is nothing wrong with looking at my neighbors wife. Touching is out, but looking should be okay.

We read these liars, to get back to the point, because in reading these lies we see truth. For within the lies are emotional truths we recognize as our own; the experience we see that happens with the characters we recognize as our experience, even if the action is crazy. We might not be astronauts, but the feelings they have, the experience they have we can identify with. We can empathize.

Unlike Ahab, I will not chase a whale. I get seasick. But I understand his motivation; I know why he goes on the insane hunt. I will not venture to Dracula’s castle (yes there is one) for I have heard rumors about him and know to stay away from people who avoid the sun. I also know to use garlic and carry a cross. This is what happens when you believe the lie. It becomes real, you see.

So if you want to be a writer who wants to tell the truth of the world, then start writing lies. We all do. And it works.

My lies at Amazon

 

 

 

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What? 7 tweets and 34.6 million followers

I have a Twitter account. I follow 626 and am followed by 552. I have tweeted 920 times, the majority of which are my blog posts that automatically go to Twitter. Of the 626 I follow there are only two I check out, maybe once a week. The majority that I follow are writer related, and to be honest, many are ready to help you Tweet your books- for a price of course. I ignore them, but I follow, or at least I click the follow button. And if I don’t they unfollow me. Shame. On both of us.

I don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter as I would rather hang out with you folks than chase numbers to make me look popular. It does not matter who or what is trending. Trends change by the minute, so the chaser is deluded, chasing only a chimera.

Here is an example I found today to show, no prove, Twitter is a numbers game. I received an email saying that iceicles (their spelling) is now following me. I checked as usual and found she or he has 34.6 million followers and is following 32.8 million. Forget the fact that no human can possibly follow 32.8 million people, consider that this account has seven tweets, three of which are re-tweets from the same link.

Assuming the numbers are correct, this is a case of someone clicking follow day after day, year after year, or possibly having an auto device that randomly follows people and all those 34 plus million who follow the account just click follow for no reason. Whatever is going on it makes no sense, none I can think of anyway, unless of course someone is promoting a website.

I prefer being followed by real people, you know the kind; tall, long haired beauties with runway model legs, who naturally are writers. But I digress. Twitter has become a place for numbers, not interaction of any meaning. I know I can go there, check out #hashtags and make my 140 character opinion known, but what, in the long run, is the point. Twitter is becoming a landing spot for self promotion. Nothing wrong with promoting yourself, but many of the accounts like the aforementioned one with 34.6 million followers on seven tweets make it seem like a joke.

I have more social interaction with you in blogs and posts.

I know what you are thinking, that being, why am I still on Twitter. I don’t have an answer, except I like to check out those two people I actually do follow.

My Amazon page where you can click follow without going to Twitter

 

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