Monday 21 March 2011

The 99 cent Plaster Fairy

...or things that occured at the weekend.

I frightened my four-year-old nephew. Not on purpose. He insisted I put another plaster around the three or four plasters he already had on his finger because he was frightened the other plasters would fall off and it would hurt. They're covering a week old papercut. I did so, but told him not to fret, that the Plaster Fairy would remove the plasters when he slept and that it wouldn't hurt. This sent him into hysterics. Warning to parents: don't leave a horror writer in charge of a child. In my defence, the Plaster Fairy tale sounded cute and not freaky in my head. I have been chastisted.

Finished the second draft of 'Barbed Wire Heart' and now I get to do the pretty editing phase. Told my mum, I'd finished (while rewarding myself with biscuits) and was again chastised with, 'What do you mean it's a novella not a novel? What the 'feck' use is that?'

Drew the winner of my Space & Time and Amazon voucher competition - Gary B Phillips - who subsequently decided to do a competition where three lucky souls can win the Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits ebook. How awesome is he...

And the final chastisement came via myself...

I procrastinated and read a bunch of blogs (and blog comments) about 99 cent ebooks. I'm aware that people I respect are anti selling a book for 99 cents (and there are also others who I respect who are pro 99 cent books) and that many think that pricing a book at 99 cents = crap and not worth their time. That bothers me, of course that bothers me. The last thing I want is people to make the assumption my book isn't worth their time--I need their time.

I've been lucky, Strange Men has gathered some fantastic reviews, but the fact is, I'm an unknown writer and selling story collections is hard even for the well established. So, when my publisher asked how much I wanted the ebook priced at (my publisher is so awesome, I get 100% of net electronic sales) I was torn. In the end, I decided on the lower price scale in the hope it would tempt folk to try the collection who may not have otherwise and having liked (she hopes) the book, they may be more willing to give my book 'Theatre of Curious Acts' a try when it is published later this year.

Of course, now I'm aware it has possibly put others off.

(I'll let you into a secret: I care what people think. I care too much and thus I chastise myself)

I'll admit, seeing Strange Men on at 99 cents doesn't bother me (I have had twinges of 'no one will buy the paperback' now, but I think one has sold since the ebook went live - don't laugh, each sale means the world to me), but seeing it at 70p on does. Seventy pence. God, I am cheap. I cost as much as a Galaxy chocolate bar (but I last longer).

For an awesome, more eloquent post about the price of books check out Katey Taylor's blog. I love her analogy. It had me crying 'yes' and 'oh my god' and 'I'm the cheap bottle of wine' and 'but I've gotten drunk quite well on Lambrusco and Thunderbirds and my liver survived'.

Okay, back to writing or obsessing or both.


Robert said...

The value of an e-book is not the price but the amount the author makes. You would be making the same royalty on an e-book priced much higher by a traditional publisher, only with 99 cents you're apt to get even more readers. Just remember that.

wv: opretc

Cate Gardner said...

I live in perpetual hope.

Kara McElhinny said...

I think the Plaster Faerie sounds like a cute idea. I've bludgeoned my children of different kinds of Faeries with no screamed reactions from them...keep doing what you do! I'm sorry your nephew got scared, but I don't think your capabilities at telling horror has anything to do with it. He may frighten easily and that's okay bc some kids are just that way. :)

As for the .99 cent thing, if it doesn't bother you, try not to poison your head with what other people think, it's only fodder for you to torment yourself even more. And for the record, I think you're fabulous!!

And this, is one right long comment (I'm full of bounce and synergy today. Sorry!!)

Cate Gardner said...

I'm going to call him a Scaredy Cat--oh wait, that's bad too, isn't it. ;)

Try not to poison my head... I like that, Kara.

Barry Napier said...

It's odd but 99 cents seems to be the going rate for digital collections. (Looks around suspiciously and whispers): I'm thinking of putting one together and going that route myself.

Best of luck with Strange Men in digital form!

K.C. Shaw said...

I'm not against the 99cent book per se. If it's a book I want, I wouldn't turn up my nose if it was priced low (and I've been known to pay way too much for ebooks I want, on the other end of the spectrum). Things are so new with ebooks, we're all just trying different things out. I say do what you like and see how it goes. I hope you sell a billion copies. :)

Aaron Polson said...

Cate, I think you are courageous and wonderful. I'm also the nutter who's giving you 100% of the profit for the I guess that says something. ;)

(By the way, I conquered the linkable table of contents this weekend, and will upload a new, shiny version to Kindle soon)

Cate Gardner said...

Thanks, Barry (and good luck).

Kate, if I could sell a billion copies I'd stop fretting (actually, I probably wouldn't, I'd start fretting about something else:D)

You are nuts, Aaron. Wow, I didn't even know you could get clickable ebooks.

Fox Lee said...

I've gone nuts over pricing, and I don't even have anything to sell yet ; )

Katey said...

Warning to parents: don't leave a horror writer in charge of a child.
I had a similar experience when I got REALLY excited at Halloween party when my friends' little cousin wrote his name in the fake blood on the table in the "Dexter" room. I'm going "CARSON, you are MY KIND OF KID!" When I explained why, the entire living room went silent and stared at me.

Carson seemed amused, but also hesitant, since no one else was. Poor kid is like 7. :/

No one who's ever read one of your stories would think of you as the cheap bottle of wine. And as for the new people who are clueless about our ACTUAL motivations for pricing stuff at $.99 (which, as I mention, are in the true indie awesome spirit), they're in for a treat. They will CERTAINLY be looking up "Theatre"

Lee Thompson/Thomas Morgan/James Logan/Julian Vaughn said...

LOl. You crack me up.
I hope you sell a bunch of copies too. It's a great collection.

Cate Gardner said...

Ha! Natalie :D

Some adults have no sense of fun, Katey.

:D Lee

Danielle Birch said...

Laughed my arse off at your mum's comment.

PS I love a novella.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

I figure if you price too high, you're losing sales out of the gate. If you price at $.99, you're going to increase sales but be making chicken feed-per-sale, BUT you can consider the lost revenue per book as a marketing expense. You can't claim that with the lower revenue on a higher-priced book. It's all about eyes on books at this point of the game. When we're all famous, we can sell our ebooks at $3.99 or even $9.99.

Simon Kewin said...


Pricing books is a dilemma isn't it? But at least it's easy to amend the price. Why not experiment? See if charging more works better overall maybe?

Anonymous said...

I'd never even considered the 99c issue, myself. For what it's worth, I don't equate price with quality. Plenty of top-notch fiction gets published in free online journals that don't pay squat, so why would people think that a lower price tag means lower quality?

Fie on them, I say. I bite my thumb at them. (The people who hold such opinions, that is. Just to be clear.)

Cate Gardner said...

Danielle, I laugh my arse off all the time at the things my mum says.

That's my attitude, Jeremy. There's no way I'll build (or dig) a pool with Strange Men, but I might build readers. And I'll dig them.

It is, Simon.

Fie on them indeed, Simon.

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