Thursday, December 20, 2012

Self-publishing 101 (4): Prices & Costs

Let’s talk about costs first.

In theory, you should pay quite a bit of money for editing, cover design, formatting, promotion and web presence, to list only a few of the time consuming, money eating activities associated with the writing process.

I managed to cut the costs so far, though, in the future it might not work so well anymore. Writing is a hobby for me, and just like with the fan sites I’m running for free, I’m dedicating my time, experience and skills, but I refuse to put any money in it. Like I said, this conception might change in the future, but so far it worked for me.

This is how I solved the money problem:
- editing – I have several native English speakers editing my stories for free. They’re not professional editors (oops!), but they’re also not my close friends. In fact, I never met them face to face, and this is a great help, because they’re not afraid to tell me when I need to change something or when my grammar sucks. You have to find people who get your writing style and preferably like it, too, so it’s a bit of trial and error at first until you find the right people, but it’s doable.
- cover design – as mentioned in a previous post, I designed the covers for my ebooks so far. I know a bit of Photoshop, but no way near as much as I’d like to. Unless I come up with a brilliant idea, for the fantasy trilogy and the sci fi saga I might need to hire a professional designer. We’ll see.
- formatting – since I only do ebooks and no print editions, following the already existing guide put out by each platform turned out to be easy enough to do. Smashwords is a little trickier, but formatting for Amazon is easy, especially if you know HTML. Besides, I’m used to keep my doc files pretty clean so I had no problem with that.
- promotion – I decided from the start not to pay for ads, reviews, or to have the books featured on various websites. I spent a lot of time contacting bloggers and offering free copies for reviews, but this is all I did.
- online presence – I’m a web designer so building a website was a part of the process that I actually enjoyed doing. I already had a blog, twitter account, facebook account, etc. and those are all free so far.

Keeping in mind that I invested no actual money in these ebooks, when time came to set the prices a lot consideration was done. I don’t plan on getting rich from this, but I’m not going to give away my writing for free on regular bases. After much study on the debate regarding the ebook prices, I decided on the following:
- $2.99 for novellas and short story collections (around 30,000 words/100 pages each)
- $4.99 for novels (over 60,000 words), $5.99-$6.99 if the novels are really long (not there yet)
- short stories as bonus when part of a series will be free (hint hint :))
- from time to time, I’ll do $0.99 promotions for a short period of times, and on special occasions, like my birthday for example, I’ll make one title free.
- also, free review copies are always available as long as you’re willing to write a review on the big online stores’ websites, book review websites, or your own blog.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk more about reviews. Until then, check out “Blue Moon Café Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks” (Amazon, Smashwords), discounted from $2.99 to $0.99 during the holidays, and let me know what you think.

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