Thursday, September 10, 2015

Let Break it Down, Folks

I'm scratching my head this morning and have been for some time over this. So, I thought we should break it down, and crunch some numbers.

I keep seeing books that are either free or priced at 99 cents. What a deal! Who doesn't love a free or a 99 cent book? I do! Okay, so the problem is what the authors are getting in return, and it boggles my mind.

Let's say I have two candy bars and I give you one...what would you say?

Up yours?
It's okay for a free candy bar?

Wait! Here's a fantastic idea. How about:

Two words and so easy to say!
What is not acceptable or nice is earlier mentioned comments. Yes, everyone has a right to an opinion, but ask yourself, it is nice? Helpful? Encouraging? If you don't like the book, say why, but do it in a way an author can learn from.

There are a couple of reasons authors give free books.
1. As a way to thank readers.
2. As a way to gain interest in other books or the next in a series.

I did my own research into giving away a book. It was my way of saying THANK YOU. That's it. I wasn't able to price the book for free at Amazon, so it was priced at 99 cents. Here's what I got for Redneck Tale in the FREE world:

Smashwords: 871 downloads, 1 review

One review!

Here's what creating Redneck Tale cost me. My time for one. I purchased the rights to the image I used, so basically $10. I made my own cover, so I saved some money there. Editing, yes, I hired a professional editor. I'd have to dig through receipts for the exact cost, but I believe I paid around $40. Not going to dig, because you get the point.
$50 dollars to create the book, plus my time...I earned 1 review.
The worst part about this adventure is that I didn't see any real jump in sales for my other books.

Guess who won't be putting out free books? Me. Now, I may run special promotions, but I definitely will not spend my time and money writing for free. I doubt other authors will continue either if the trend continues the same way.

This is simple, folks. Be polite, leave a review, or even just say, thanks!

Okay, now on to some money crunching concerning 99 cent books. I can find that much money in my couch! I've wasted more money than on accident!

Think about what you're getting at that price. You can't even buy a candy bar for 99 cents most of time. What an escape for under a dollar. And guess what, every little bit helps EVERY author. Does anyone believe we set out in our careers to endure all the writing world has to offer for nothing? Come on.

I went through the books on my Kindle and picked out a basic 99 cent read.

Total pages: 65
Estimated time to read: 1 hour and 2 minutes
Price: 99 cents
Number crunch per minute of entertainment: 0.015 per minute

I have an escape for my mind, for one hour, for only 99 pennies. YAY!

Let's compare the value to a trip to the movies.

Ticket price: Minimum $7.50  (at least here)
Popcorn: about $6.00  (can anyone not buy popcorn?)
Drink: $4.00  (because you have to wash the popcorn down with something!)
Total: $17.50
Average running time of most movies: 1 hour and 35 minutes
Number crunch per minute of entertainment: 0.184 per minute

I have to mention that a book doesn't come with lines of people, rude people talking, the expense of going out, or even needing to put on a bra!

I should mention that an author only makes around .34 cents per 99 cent book. That's it! A reader is basically giving an author the change out of the bottom of their purse! Stop bitching is what I'm saying. Lots of time and energy goes into writing a book, be kind enough to leave a review. They help!

Authors, things to consider when writing free or 99 cent books...

1. You should have them edited! Nothing will earn you 1 stars faster than a poorly edited book. You took the time to write it, make it shine, go the full 100%.
2. Stop writing cliffhangers in order to induce readers to BUY another book. Just stop! Readers hate it and so do I. Every book needs a resolution. Give it or don't bother. This is a great way to earn 1 star reviews.
3. Stop writing short teasers, claiming they're books, and then filling with oodles of ads. 1 star material here. If your ebook is simply a teaser, say so!

In other words, write the book with as much care as you would a full length novel. Sure, free and 99 cents is great, but people earn their money, and time is precious to them. Do a great job or don't do it all.

I'm arggghhed out. Read, love, and enjoy life.

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