You Are Overpaying For Your E-Books

When we first relocated to Omaha, my wife continued her pre-workday morning routine. A stop at Starbucks on the way to work to drop $10 on a coffee and a blueberry oatmeal.

starbucks-coffee-cupBut one day we pulled up and found the drive-thru 15 cars deep and a line out the door. So we drove across the street to a local place called Scooters. She got a coffee, a milk and a breakfast burrito. And only spent $7.

That’s right, she got more for less. Better yet, the coffee and food at Scooters was better than any Starbucks she’d ever visited. Over the space of one work-year, she’ll spend $1,000 less. Think of what we can use that extra grand for.

Right now, you’re trying to figure out what this post’s headline has to do with saving $3 every morning. Well, let me tell you.

If you buy e-books from the bigger traditional publishers, or those smaller ones that charge the same as the “Big” boys do, you are spending anywhere from $9.99 and up on an e-book.

Mind you, that e-book does not require production costs of paper and ink. Nor does it need to be physically shipped. It does not require a warehouse to be stored in or a bookshop to find a shelf to rest upon until it is purchased.

Anyone charging more than $4.99 for an e-book should be ashamed of themselves. And yes, I know that three anthologies I am in are running above that price. I know the publisher of those anthologies. They are nice people. They are also dead wrong about the pricing. I can still like them and call them out for what I feel is a bad business practice.

What is even worse is a publisher charging nearly $9 for an e-book from a novel released years, sometimes even decades, before. For example, Tor is charging $8.99 for John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, a 300-page novel released in 2005.

Seriously? This one should be $3.99 at most. Because every sale is just gravy on top of the gravy already poured on the money made off of the book over the last 13 years. Then again, Tor has been throwing around money on advances that would make Paul Manafort blush. But why should you the consumer have to pick up the tab for their poor business decision making?

No. The price of e-books are ridiculously out of whack. Most of my books – the ones that I have direct control over the pricing – run $2.99. The most expensive one you’ll find is $5.99 and that is an e-book containing ALL three Del Rio novels. So you are basically buying two books out of the series and getting the third one for free when you buy that one.

Those are fair prices, for both you the reader and me the author. I don’t expect you to pick up the tab for me to eat filet mignon and drink champagne every day. Many small publishers and Indie authors get this. They offer their e-books from as low as $0.99 on up to $4.99.

TIMELESS_V2 copy

Book One of the six-book Timeless novella series. Due out in September.

My upcoming six-book Timeless novella series will run $0.99 each for the e-books. Because they are aimed at younger readers I want them to be able to easily get them without breaking their parents’ bank accounts.

Sadly, not every publisher or author seems to care about the readers they are, in my opinion, fleecing like a flock of sheep.

For example, one Nick Mamatas – who claims to be a writer – released a new book the other day for $9.99 and promptly got taken to task by the very first reviewer to comment on his book’s Amazon page.

The reviewer made the point that the price tag for the work was well more than the reviewer considered appropriate and listed several other authors that the reviewer felt provided better content for a much fairer price.

That was it. No personal attack on the author, just a valid observation on a perceived lack of value in return for the amount spent on the product in question. Nick, reportedly, lost his shit. Wailing to the cosmos at large on his social media about how unfair this criticism was.

First, Nick violated the first rule of reviews for authors. Never respond to the negative reviews – aside from thanks for reading it. You never look good when you attack a reviewer for giving their honest opinion – whether you feel it is justified or not.

172941140-1024x1024Second, maybe Nick should have taken a second or two to consider this from the reviewer’s point of view. Maybe this person has a limited budget to devote to their book buying.

With the same $10 bucks that person just dropped on your one book, they could buy three of mine and walk away with at least a dollar ($4 if they bought the All-in-one Del Rio series e-book) in their pocket. Getting more for less is always attractive, especially when the quality of the less costly product is the superior of the two.

So the question those of you charging $9 or more for one e-book is this: Why? You don’t have to. You really don’t.

Amazon pays a royalty of  70% or roughly $6.90 for every e-book copy sold. If you are an Indie author, you’d get the full amount. A publisher like Tor gets the full amount and pays the author a percentage out of that royalty. It doesn’t take many sales for that to add up to a large chunk of cheddar.

At $2.99 each, as I am full-Indie, I get about $2 a book. And that’s just fine for me. Better yet, my readers get a great story and have some money left over. Say, to buy a coffee at Starbucks (or your local equivalent of Scooters) to sip while they are reading one of my books, perhaps?

So what do you say Nick? Tor? All of the other larger presses overcharging for something that you can’t even hold in your hand by itself? What say you all?

Let’s bring those sky-high e-book prices back down to Earth and give the readers out there more for their money. Before we price our readers out of the market.

Because without them we have nothing.

 

 

Your Weekend Reads!!!

With the weekend coming up I’d thought I’d share a few new releases that you should really check out.

First is Jon Del Arroz’s next installment in his wildly entertaining steampunk series: The Blood of Giants.

 

My good friend Bill Gray also has a book out. It’s about a NASA scientist who investigates/debunks UFO sightings. Until one fateful day when an alien crash lands outside his own house. Its a good read!

 

And if you’re looking to help out an Indie publisher get a new project launched, check out Silver Empire’s new project. Here’s the description:

 “Heroes Unleashed” is a massive new superhero shared universe in novel form. Phase I consists of five novels – each the beginning of its own series – from five different authors, all set inside the same fictional world. Think of the way that Batman lurks the streets of Gotham while Superman soars over Metropolis, but they both live in the same grander world. Only in this case, we’re doing it with novels.

Our first four novels are nearly complete, and the fifth is about 1/3 done. We’re going live with our Kickstarter project next Tuesday morning. Below is a preview link below for the Kickstarter campaign. It has a lot more information, and it will redirect to the live page as soon as it’s activated. Be aware that the page isn’t quite finalized yet.

Here’s the link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/ projects/silverempire/ 1308136901?ref=551470&token= 6247a667

And speaking of Kickstarter’s needing some support, give a look at Les Rosenthal’s kickstarter here:

My Peculiar Family 2 3D Cover

I have a story in the collection – Spinster’s Manor – and after you read it you’ll never stay in another bed and breakfast again.

And of course, I have my recently released novel: When The Gods Fell

Not only is it available in e-book and print formats, it should be out as an audiobook within the next few days. Give it a read/listen.

WTGF_AD_2

And next month should see the release of the first book of my six-book steampunk novella series, The Timeless. It’s about a time-travelling sailing ship that can sail through space, air and water with equal ease. Her Captain, Rock Congo, and First Mate, Little John Singapore, are in pursuit of the interstellar thief, Duchess Moran.

Check out the cover for the first book, The Timeless.

TIMELESS_V2 copy

Happy reading and have a great weekend!!!!

Good Guys 1, Pirates 0

Good news, the first of the four illegally uploaded copies of the audiobook edition of Escaping Infinity has been taken down by YouTube. The remaining copies will soon follow suit.

It turns out a quick e-mail to Audible this morning led to a quick e-mail from Audible to YouTube and after a little bit of this:

nWXa8aI

The illegal copy was dispatched.

If you are an author or narrator, please search YouTube – and do the search after you have logged out if you have an account – to make sure your content has not been stolen too.

If it has, file a complaint with both YouTube and Audible and action will be taken. Audible is losing a ton of money on these pirated copies and they are cracking down hard on the practice. But they need us to help them spot all of the illegal uploads.

But for tonight at least, the pirates have taken a shot amidships. They are taking on water and listing badly.

And that’s a good thing for the good guys!

sinking_orig

 

And if you’d like to obtain a copy of one of my books, e-book or audio, please follow this link and purchase one of the many books you will find Amazon links to on the page.

Radio Appearance

Short post today, lots happening to keep on top of. Some news to share in the next day or so, but for now:

Shortly before all hell broke loose this weekend, I taped this radio show appearance. I pop in at about the 31-minute mark and had a great half-hour with the host.
 
It was a great show! Karina was a great host, Lew a great engineer and we even survived the always to be dreaded “Technical Difficulties” moment when Lew and I could hear each other but poor Karina had been temporarily dispatched to the Twilight Zone.
Thank you Karina and Lew for having me on and making it a fun show. I look forward to being back on again in the future.

Hey, YouTube, Worry About This Instead

Our would-be Cyberspace Masters from the Silicon Valley have anointed themselves the Guardians of RightThink. They’ve been relentlessly silencing anyone who dares commit the heinous sin of, gasp, wrongthink!

Communist-YouTubeBut in their zeal to murder the free exchange of thoughts and ideas, using the U.S. Constitution as nothing more than cheap toilet paper, they’ve been allowing a crime to take place.

Late Saturday night I stumbled across one of my audiobooks that had been uploaded to YouTube in its entirety and very much without my permission. And to make matters worse, another three copies have been discovered on YouTube.

Over 200 people have viewed the combined four uploads, resulting in a loss of sales of at least $3,600.00 and costing both myself and my narrator our share of the royalties. Add in the lost sales that are not tallied in the audiobook’s ranking on Amazon – a higher ranking increases the chances for additional sales, and we estimate a possible loss of $10,000. And who knows how many have downloaded it and shared it with others – or even sold their copy? That $10k could be a low-ball estimate.

Complaints have been filed with YouTube, but at last check, all four are still up. And these same YouTube accounts have other authors’ audiobooks uploaded and they too have hundreds of views piling up, costing them thousands in lost sales.

Maybe YouTube is too busy trying to be the Thought Police to actually police their own corrupt platform’s users?

Bayshore-hands-cuffedThis is theft, YouTube, and it is being carried out on your platform. Why don’t you get your own house in order before you try telling others what’s wrong with theirs?

Shame on those that steal the work done by authors and other creators and just give it away for free. We worked long and hard on these works. It is our decision to make as to selling them for a price, or giving them away for free, not yours.

Shame on people who encounter these stolen works and download them. You are stealing money from the creator whose content you have just stolen. Do you work for free? Why do you expect us to then?

It is bullshit like this that has me considering whether or not to shut it all down next year after I have finished off the projects I have committed to already. Being a WalMart greeter may not be a glorious job, but at least you don’t have to worry about some asshole stealing your wallet while you aren’t looking.

And in case I haven’t made myself clear, this is theft. And to all who have had a hand in this crime – YouTube, the thieving uploaders and the thieving freeloaders who have viewed the content without paying for it, I say this…

A_Fuk_Off

Government Workers And SF/F Don’t Mix

I’ve got three trolls that rise above the level of irritant. The rest are easily brushed aside without any effort aside from pushing the block button and sending them to their well-deserved obscurity.

But these three are something else. First, they can’t take a hint. Even when applied with the bluntness of a sledgehammer hitting a thumbtack. But I’ve noticed they share something in common – aside from being very miserable human beings of course – all three have spent significant time in the United States Government.

Now, I’m sure there are some good people in the public sector… give a second I’m trying to think of one…still thinking…nope, I got nothing. Back to the menage a trolls then.

Mike Glyer, our favorite Chinese Uncle from the House of 770 Vile Aromas, started his fanzine about 40 years ago. I had never heard of it until about two years ago, so I don’t know what it was like back then. But I imagine it was probably a readable fanzine like some of the well-known publications of the time.

I’ll give Mike the benefit of the doubt and say he started out as a regular fan but then something deep inside him twisted his fandom and turned him into the hateful old man he is today. I’ll posit the reason for this change is connected to his being hired by the Internal Revenue Service.

There are two kinds of people that appear qualified to work for the IRS. Those without souls and those who have souls that are easily burned away. Either way, they end up with a black void deep within that can never be exorcised. And my “good friend” ChinaMike has a void that is threatening to become a black hole. How so much anger and hate can be inside one person boggles the mind.

He has actively attempted to destroy the writing careers of many people who have done him no wrong. The lies and slanders he has told about myself and many others would put the Devil himself to shame. And in case you think I’m the only one who feels this way, read the words of an award-winning best-selling author, Larry Correia, regarding Mr. Glyer here and here.

Sounds like a great guy, eh?

Then we turn our attention to one Aaron Pound. Aaron has a blog where he reviews SF/F. He’s a Glyer wannabe, right down to the verbal abuse of authors he doesn’t like. Oh, he also took things to the next level with these wonderful tweets:

Aaron_Pound_Threat_Thread

So, a woman writes an opinion that he disagrees with (the headline in the last tweet is a touch misleading but what else can you expect from Media Matters?) deserves to be beaten to death with a baseball bat? I wonder if Mama Pound is proud of him?

Now, aside from his blog, it does not appear that Pound has written anything, or even created anything of use to the SF/F universe. That’s probably because of his real “job”.

 

That’s right folks, you and I are paying Aaron Pound’s salary – and a mid-six figure one at that – to be a lawyer for the United States Government in Washington D.C. and advocate violently assaulting a woman for having a different opinion in his free time.

What a guy!

This brings us to Theresa Neilsen Snyder. She may, or may not because even her Wikipedia page can’t get the story straight, still be employed by Tor Books. She too attacks authors she doesn’t like with an amount of venom that would kill at least a million people.

Here’s some of her “high”lights:

https://writeabsolutereviews.blogspot.com/2015/01/teresa-nielsen-hayden-fired-from-tor.html

http://writeabsolutereviews.blogspot.com/2014/07/teresa-nielsen-hayden-aka-hapisofi.html

What a lady!

She spent some time in D.C. right in the heart of the USG as well in her time.

Now, there may be some folks in the government who are decent people (EDIT: and by Government workers I’m talking D.C. bureaucracies and not our incredible men and women in the armed forces here)  that also are into science fiction and fantasy. If there are, I sure wish they would make themselves known.

Because if these three are the rule, rather than the exception, maybe it is time for us to not only weed out the rot in D.C. but in science fiction and fantasy fandom too.

 

If you are looking for some weekend sci-fi/fantasy reading, may I humbly suggest one of these three offerings?

When The Gods Fell

Escaping Infinity

Maelstrom

 

scififantasy copy

 

 

A Blast From The Past

I’ve been doing a lot of interviews on radio shows and online blogs about writing and my books.

There’s one that is coming up soon that has an interesting idea. They ask their guests to talk about their first library, the one where they got into reading. The idea being that this early introduction to reading planted the seed for the writing to come.

And I think its a great idea. No spoilers, you’ll have to wait a few weeks for mine to show. I will link to it when it goes live. But they also asked for a picture of their guest reading at a young age – or something reading related if no photo existed.

I started reading when I was four. You would think as often as I had my face buried in a book someone would have snapped a photo. But after a lengthy search across several states, no photo was found.

But there was one picture of me at about four years of age. And it may have foreshadowed what was to come. Here it is…

Early_Scribe_Sighting

 

I don’t have a clear memory of this moment – hey cut me some slack, its been 50 freaking years – but rumor has it that my story started out this way…

21105990_818774524970731_8043817476794804918_n