Why is that Indie Book so Expensive?

Upon the release of my most recent book, I was once again forced to face the issue of price point.  If I charge too little, I won’t make anything.  If I charge too much, nobody will be interested in buying it.  With the numerous ebooks available for free, some folks don’t even want to pay $.99.

I get it.  I don’t have a lot of extra money to throw around.  And most people don’t see the same kind of value in an ebook that they see in a paperback.  After all, you can’t feel the weight of it in your hands, smell the ink on the paper, hear the flip of the pages, or have it signed by the author (at least, not in the same way).

What they don’t think about it that they are paying for so much more than the paper a book is printed on.  There are numerous hours put into creating the plot, writing, rewriting (usually more than once), several rounds of editing, formatting, and cover design.  Not all authors are capable of completing this entire process alone and must hire other professionals to help them.  This means that on top of all their blood, sweat, tears, and late nights beating their heads against the desks, they’ve also put a few hundred dollars into it.

Okay, so after all that is done and the book is available for$2.99 on Amazon, the author starts making almost $3 back for each copy, right?  Nope.  The author can choose from either a 35% or 70% royalty rate, so Amazon immediately gets some off the top.  Which royalty rate you choose depends on the price point of your book, where it’s available, and how big it is.  But the money drain doesn’t stop there.  There are also delivery fees and taxes, not to mention any advertisements, promotions, and giveaways that the author may have done to generate sales.

Let’s apply this to real life.  If I sell a book for $.99, I get $.35 minus a few cents in delivery costs depending on the size of the book.  I would make better money with a guitar case on the street, and I don’t know how to play.

Of course, there are some who say that if you write for the money then you will never be successful.  I those people are just ticked off that their books aren’t selling.  And I will readily admit that my freelance work is what pays the bills, not my books.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe authors should get some sort of acknowledgement for what they have done.  Writing isn’t an easy job, and it can be disheartening to have a quarter thrown at you for your months of hard labor.  Support the authors you love by buying their books, sharing their posts on Facebook or Twitter, and leaving honest reviews.


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Filed under Books, On Writing, Uncategorized

Insecure About Your Writing? I Don’t Doubt It.

I always like making new writing and blogging friends.  In a recent conversation with a new acquaintance, he asked me if you ever get over the “debilitating self-doubt” that comes with writing.


I knew that was the answer, but I discovered just how true that was as I prepared to launch my latest book.

Although I’m an indie author, most of my writing happens on the freelance scene.  I have consistent work creating blogs and ghostwriting, and this means that I usually spend a lot more time doing the projects that make me a little cash than the ones that are simply for my own creative pleasure.  I do have quite a few stories waiting to be written, though, so I took the day off from my “regular” work to get my book finished up and ready for release.

By the time I release a book on the world, I’m absolutely sick of it.  I have read this current book so many times that I just can’t stand it any more, and that’s how I know I’m done.  There is nothing more that I can do to change it or make it better.  It is as complete as a book can be.

Even though I knew the book was done, that knowledge didn’t stop a shocking amount of fear and anxiety from creeping up on me as I created a Facebook event and sketched out my marketing ideas.  I thought at first that I was just frustrated; it’s difficult to know what the “right” thing is to do when it comes to promoting your work.  I had a couple of close friends that attempted to help me, but they just couldn’t.  I was an absolute mess.

Eventually, I calmed down and got over it.  I got past the mental block that my anxiety had caused and was able to think creatively again.  I’m good now.

But I want everyone out there who doubts their skill as a writer to understand that you aren’t alone.  Writing is a job that not only takes a lot of hard work but also a lot of bravery.  It’s impossible to write without putting a little bit of yourself into that book, and you’re opening it up for everyone to see it.

It’s tough, but you can do it.


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Filed under Book Reviews, Books, On Writing

Come Join My Book Release Party!

t’s been almost two years since I released The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping, and it’s finally time for the sequel!  Come join my release party for giveaways, the cover reveal,  and other fun!  The best part is that you can do it all in the comfort of your home.

Fun dragon


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Filed under Book Reviews, Books, On Writing, Uncategorized

The Sunday Evening Blues

Ah, Sunday evening: a time when most folks suddenly begin to dread Monday morning. They think about the white-knuckle drive to the office, the cringe-worthy coworkers, and the stack of work in their inbox a mile high.

I don’t feel that way.

As I was sitting here on the living room couch, reading a battered Lillian Jackson Braun novel from the local library, I began to think about the beginning of my week. There are a few things I dread, but none of them have anything to do with work. I’m excited to sit down with my planner on a Monday morning and figure out what freelance assignments I have due during the coming week. I’m thrilled to see how much time I might be able to carve out for my own writing, and I’m equally thrilled to find out that it won’t be much. I know that during the week I’ll be crossing off projects and emailing clients about new ones. I have to force myself not to work on the weekends, but by Sunday evening my fingers begin itching to type.

I’ve been writing professionally on the side for about five years and writing full time for about six months. Sure, I guess I could still be excited about it because it’s new. I could easily wake up one morning and wonder how I can possibly enjoy this lifestyle where my income is never guaranteed and I often don’t leave the house for several days in a row.

I’m not writing this to brag about how awesome my job is, but simply to say how grateful I am that I don’t have to dread the first of the week.


What about you? Do you have a case of the Sunday evening blues? Or are you excited about Monday morning?


Filed under On Writing, Work-at-Home Mom

Barnes & Noble’s Big Mistake…Or Is It?

I’ve read far more articles than I would like to admit about ebooks vs. print books, online stores vs. brick and mortar stores, etc.  There are interesting facts and opinions all over the place, some of them reasonable and some just ridiculous.  Many people want to blame online stores like Amazon for the downfall of brick and mortars, an idea that has been punched right in the eye by the opening of Amazon’s physical store.  But it turns out that retailers might just be shooting themselves in the foot.

Over the weekend, my husband and I were at our local Barnes & Noble.  He was there for some coffee, I was there to sniff books.  The kids were gone for the weekend, so we got to spend our time looking at overpriced Doctor Who merchandise and bargain books that we will never read instead of lounging around the children’s section.

My husband decided to look for a particular cookbook he’s interested in.  (I’m incredibly lucky to have a husband who cooks, and who does it well.  He puts anything I make to shame.  He doesn’t even need a cookbook 99% of the time, but he likes to look at them for ideas.  Anyway.)  While he didn’t find the one he wanted, he found another that he liked.  It was $45 (yikes!), so he checked the price online.

I have to say here that we are big online shoppers.  Thanks to Amazon Prime, our UPS man is probably wondering if we ever leave the house. (I try my best not to.)  We buy locally whenever we can, but when the online savings are more than a couple dollars it’s hard to justify.  We work hard for our money, and we want to get the most out of it.

Okay, back to Barnes & Noble.  So the hubby finds the cookbook online and shows me the price:  $27.  That’s a pretty big difference.  And it was on Barnes & Noble’s own website.  Hmm, okay.  Well, maybe they’ll price match it?


This means that B&N is in a weird game of competition with itself.  If your own website is underselling you, what does that mean?

I could speculate about store closings, the cost of selling in person vs. selling online, or whether the bookseller is run by sock gnomes who think it’s funny to play tricks on people.  I started to read some articles, but then I spilled my coffee.  Priorities.

What are your thoughts?  Is this some awesome marketing strategy that I simply don’t see?  Do you think B&N just doesn’t have their stuff together since their site relaunch?  Or that their employees are germophobes who don’t want to have to deal with real people?  Should they start a price matching program, or do they want to reward us for shopping in our underwear?  Feel free to leave your sock gnome conspiracy theories in the comments below!


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Filed under Uncategorized

Looking Back

The other day as my husband and I were out shopping, I ran into one of my first college professors. It’s been a long time, and I didn’t even recognize her at first. In fact, I was so flabbergasted when she stopped me and asked how I was that I wasn’t even sure how to respond.

It shouldn’t really feel like meeting a celebrity when you run into someone you already know, should it? But it really did. I was taking her classes at a time in my life when I felt ready to conquer the world. Sure, not everything was perfect, but going to a college where I knew absolutely no one was the beginning of a new era for me. I had nothing but respect and even a little awe for this woman.

Would you like to know what the best part was? (Well, I’m going to tell you anyway.) She seemed so genuinely happy for me when I told her I’m writing full time. I hear you, you’re saying that really isn’t that remarkable. But this wasn’t just your typical, “Oh, that’s great. Good for you.” This was more of a hand to her heart, wide eyes, “Oh, that’s wonderful.” Like she really knew what this meant for me. I didn’t even realize that she had understood me that well all those years ago. I was a biology major, after all. I never sat down and discussed my hopes and goals for the future with her, and at that time writing wasn’t really one of them. I had chalked it up as a pipe dream. But somehow, all these years later, she instantly knew that this was big for me.

Sometimes it’s hard to know when you’ve really been able to reach out and touch the stars. Meeting one goal often just leads to an entirely new goal. It’s good to keep going, to not be complacent, and I know that I still have so many more things I can do. But it’s also really great to look back at all the stars beneath you and to remember the people who helped you get there.

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Filed under On Writing, Relationships

Barf Duty: Should My Kids Stay Home Today?

I think one of the hardest decisions I have to make as a parent of school-age children is whether they are sick enough to stay home from school or not. It doesn’t sound that difficult, I know, but if you’ve been there then you know what I mean.

First of all, I swear at least one of my children has a complaint every single morning. They are either too tired, or they’ve coughed once, or they imagine they have a stomachache because they’re hungry. If I let them stay home every time they said they didn’t feel good, they’d be home all year long.

Now, if I do decide to let them stay home, inevitably they feel absolutely fine just a couple hours later. Fine enough that they are hanging on me, begging for snacks or another round of Go Fish even though I’ve explained that I need to work. Fine enough that I ought to take them to school, but I never do. Fine enough that I think I made the wrong decision.

Of course, then there are the mornings when I have leaned the other direction and sent them to school anyway, only to get a call from the nurse a couple hours later to come pick up my puking and/or feverish child.

There’s no way to win.

And that’s why I told my youngest that she was going to school Tuesday morning. She had already stayed home on Monday with a bellyache, and of course she spent most of the day playing, singing, running in the house after I told her not to, and in general enjoying herself far too much for a sick day.  No vomiting, no fever.

So when she complained of a bellyache Tuesday morning, I didn’t worry about it. I mean, she was fine, right? She got up and ate her weight in Cap’n Crunch, as usual, and seemed alright. Our normal morning routine is to spend any extra time before the bus comes cuddling on the couch and watching TV, and when we sat down she complained of her stomach hurting. Again, I assured her she was fine.

And then Cap’n Crunch exploded all over my living room. Seriously, if you haven’t ever seen a lake of well-used crunchberries spreading all over your living room floor, then I don’t advise it. It came pretty close to beating the Double Projectile Vomiting of Cocoa Puffs Incident of 2010. (They both stayed home that day.)

Of course this was two minutes before it was time to go outside for the bus, so I was racing back and forth between mopping up puke and making sure my other daughter was at the bus on time.

So what was the universe trying to teach me here? That I should just let my kids stay home any time they’re under the weather? That there’s a reason I don’t eat kid cereal? (Cause really, I don’t even want to smell that stuff anymore.) Or maybe just that it’s impossible to always make the right decisions as a parent.

All I can do is scoop up the barf and move on.

sick day

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Filed under Parenting