Monday, July 25, 2011

London, eBooks and Other Monday Musings

For a Monday, today wasn’t so bad at work. The day flew by. I think this was probably because I was still playing catch-up from last week. We’re a small office of seven people in the office. When five of the seven go on vacation in the same week, it generally means that I’m going to be a little busy.

Now everyone’s back and I’m still working from the fallout of having to cover so many areas in a week. I’m not complaining. There’s nothing I like better than a Monday that flies by. Given that last Monday, we found out someone who worked for us had died, this was a much better day.

On the plus side, it seems that as of Thursday of this week, I’m going to officially qualify for our “Top Performer’s Trip” to London. These means that my lovely, generous company rewards those of us who’ve met a certain ‘quota’ by a certain date with an all-expenses trip to London.

The trip happens every year. Usually, it’s somewhere in the U.S. but since this year is the 30th anniversary of the founding of our company, our owner decided to splurge and send the top performers to England.

Naturally, I’m rather excited. While there will be some group activities involved, for the most part, the trip is about letting the ‘winners’ have a relaxed trip to London. We get lots of free time, spending money and travel paid for. Since I have family in England, I plan on extending the trip so I can spend some time with my grandparents. I’m trying hard not to think about leaving the pups for over a week but I’m still a little worried about anyway. They’re my babies and it’s not like I can call them on the phone. I’m hoping that my parents won’t mind doggy-sitting for me. I should probably ask them, shouldn’t’ I?

(Hey, mum…would you mind awfully looking after the girls for a while in late September/early October? I’ll buy you and dad dinner. Thanks!)

So, anyway, I got my last placement today to qualify for the trip which made Monday rather pleasant for once. It doesn’t mean I’m likely to stop working hard but it’s definitely been an incentive to work extra hard. Hey, if you wave a free trip to London in front of Captain Monkeypants, I’m not going to let that slip!

Today was also good because I had an important revelation regarding publishing e-books: People don’t want to pay $1.99 for a book but if you give it away for free, you’ll ‘sell’ twice as many copies in a day as you have in the last four months. True story.

Personally, I didn’t think that $1.99 was that steep of a price for a book. I mean, granted, The Reluctant Demon isn’t up there with, say Pride and Prejudice or War and Peace but I thought that $1.99 was pretty cheap for an e-book. I mean, as an ‘author’, it is nice to charge something for your work. Giving it away for free is very benevolent but there’s something rather satisfying about making a few pennies for each book that sells.

I mean, I own a Kindle now. If I see a book for $1.99 that sounds interesting enough to read, I don’t exactly say, “oooh, that’s almost two dollars! I don’t know about that. It’s a bit expensive.” Now, I do that when it comes to bestsellers because I think it’s a bit of a rip-off. For example, I wanted to buy the newest of the “Game of Thrones” series recently. I’m not quite ready to read it yet but I’m close enough to finish book four that I started to panic that I’d finish it and wouldn’t have book five to start reading immediate.

As a sidenote: Yes, I am aware that this might be slightly obsessive but I’ve made no attempts to hide the fact that I have an obsessive personality. It’s just a fact that if I’m reading something that’s part of a series and I’m enjoying it, I simply cannot relax until I have all of the series at my fingertips to read. I can’t help it. It’s the same problem I have when I fly. I pack WAY too many books in my carry-on because I panic at the thought of finishing a book and not having another one to start. Weird? Maybe…but I know I’m not the only one who feels like this.

Anyway, back to my Game of Thrones anecdote. So, I priced the hardback to see where the price was lowest. I mistakenly thought it was Target because the book was priced at $24.95 and there was a “30%” off sticker on the cover. However, apparently the $24.95 is the price WITH the 30% off already. I find this misleading and rather annoying, Target, in case you’re reading. And yes, now I’m picturing a giant store with arms and a bullseye for a head reading this blog which is a weird image to have in my head.

Eventually, it turned out that Costco had the best price. I still wasn’t sure $19 was worth instant gratification so I decided to hold off on buying it until I’d checked the Kindle price. My theory on books is that it does cost money to print a hard copy and thus the cover price makes sense. However, e-books only take the cost of formatting them for this version and since almost 99% of writers tend to write electronically these days anyway, it’s tedious but not difficult to do. Thus, my rationalization was the e-book version of “Dance with Dragons” should be at pretty inexpensive compared to the print version.

Wrong. It turned out it was still almost $15. For the extra $4, I returned to Costco and now have a physical book which seems much more worth the $19 than the $15 it would have cost to have a file on my Kindle.

So, my point is that for my hard copy of Emmy Goes to Hell, I have no choice but to meet the minimum cost of printing the book which turned out to be $12. I literally will make less than 50 cents a book in my attempts to make it affordable. However, since I’m not actually selling anything physical on the ebook version, I can’t justify charging anything close to that. Thus, my e-book version of Emmy is $2.99. Yes, I raised the price of it from my first book a whole dollar. I apologize. Inflation stinks.

Besides, I’m giving The Reluctant Demon away for free at the moment. It’s my shameless attempt to try to tempt more readers to buy Emmy. I figure they might want to read the sequel and if I give them the first one for free and leave them on a cliffhanger, they might buy the next one for the low, low price of $2.99.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good day. Between qualifying for free trips and publishing revelations, it’s been a better Monday than most. Since they don’t happen very often, I’m choosing to be very thankful and appreciate it for everything it’s worth.

Thank you, Monday for not being a typical Monday.

Happy Tuesday!


Emily said...

Congrats on winning the trip and on publishing 'Emmy.' The free-first to buy the second thing really does work (at least on folks like you and me, who can't stand not finishing a series), and I hope it brings in lots of new fans! (Does the electronic version of TRD have a note at the end saying that the sequel is now available? Often, that's enough to get me on to the next one...).

Captain Monkeypants said...

Emily- that's a great idea. I'll definitely add that note to the electronic version of "The Reluctant Demon"- that way maybe I can get readers to look at "Emmy"- thanks for the tip! (And I'm glad I'm not the only one who can't stand not finishing a series!)