“In Two Months You Will Reach Your Goal”

That was what my fortune cookie said this evening … but, let’s go back to start …

Nine months ago I sat down at my computer to write a book.  Today, on my doorstep, the official proof arrived.  No more spiral bound Kinko’s mock-up, no more hypothetical printed pages scaled down on my computer for review … no, it was really real with a pretty gloss cover and hundreds of creme pages with my name on the cover.  It was really wild moment, opening the brown cardboard box and unearthing the finished product.  A surreal moment … one I’ve waited for a long time.  And yet, it was strangely bazaar … as I held it in my hand for the first time, I was overcome with this feeling of being introduced to something you’ll love for the first time.  You see, I know my book, I just didn’t know it like this.  This is different … and it’s spectacular to me.

And then it was as if my hands grew vines around the book.  I wandered from room to room in my home with it, I couldn’t put it down.

We celebrated the way one does on an icy winter night with the first real snow of the season blowing hard outside … we ordered in.  Chinese food.  Mark walked out with the two fortune cookies and told me to pick … and tonight, instead of playing our ritual game of “in bed” we’d play “with my or your book”.

I suddenly felt like I was making a huge decision … way more serious than dessert should ever be.  But, I played along, mulling over my choices for a solid minute before picking one of the plastic wrapped cookies.

I broke it open … and inside it said … in two months you will reach your goal.

Prolific, right?

Because in two months my book will be published.  I’ve said March all along.  I wanted to give myself the balance of a year to be really ready … to be secure and ready.

Today was a beautiful day … and I look forward to two months time.

 

 

 

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Totally Random & Tons Of Swag

With the Holiday’s now behind us, I can focus totally on another season of giving … the launch of my book!

I am really excited to announce that this blog and my website will be hosting “The Milestone Tapes Giveaway Extravaganza” … I kind of feel like Oprah right now — or a much smaller scale, of course!  The only thing better than getting free stuff is giving free stuff.

How It Works:

Over the next few weeks you (and others) will have the chance to enter this really fun giveaway before the release of The Milestone Tapes.  It’s all about the build up to actually going live and the release of my first book … it’s a big celebration!  At the conclusion, winners will be chosen at random.

Who Can Play:

Anyone and everyone.  I encourage you to tell your friends, family and coworkers.  But, before you do … please read the rules and fine print.

How To Enter:

Entering the contest is fairly simple.

1. Visit my website, www.ashleymacklerpaternostro.com … from there, go to the link “contact me” … in the subject field write CONTEST ENTRY.  Fill in the body of text with your full name and e-mail address, Twitter handle and Facebook name, as that’s how I’ll contact you if you win and keep track of your entries.

2. “Like” me on Facebook, you’re entered again!

And there is more still!

3. By tweeting #themilestonetapesnovel and my name @AshMP you’re eligible for another entry*****

That’s a lot of chances … but let’s talk about what you’ll be winning, shall we?

What You Win:

There are two tiers of prizes in this giveaway totaling 10 great prizes!

Runners Up

9 winners will be entitled to an advanced signed copy of The Milestone Tapes in print.

The Grand Prize

1 lucky person will win …

-1 advanced reading copy of The Milestone Tapes in print–signed of course.

-Copy in eBook format for their …

-Brand new Kindle Basic WiFi with special offers (US version).

Okay … now we’ve talked about what you can win, let’s discuss the terms and conditions.

The Fine Print

-The giveaway contest will run from January 9th until February 9th, beginning immediately once this post goes live.  All entries must be submitted by 11:59pm CST February 9th to be counted.

-Your first entry MUST be done via my website … it’s the way I will keep track of entries and the people who submit them.  If you opt not to register with my contact form you forfeit the opportunity to win.

-Each entry (website, Twitter or Facebook) earns you ONE chance to win … the more you enter, the better your odds.  Winners will be selected at random using Random.org and contacted by me within 1 week from close of contest.

-Twitter entries are limited to one per person per day.  If it is found that one user is accessing multiple accounts, that user will forfeit all potential prizes and be pulled from the drawing … no ifs ands or buts about it.*****

-Prizes will be awarded by me within 1 month of closing the contest.  This means, expect your haul by March 9th.  In case of unforeseen delays, winners will be contacted.

-Prizes have no cash value … this means, if you win a copy of the book and don’t want it I can’t just give you cash instead … same goes for the Kindle or eBook.

-Winners will be contacted by me following the drawing.  If the winner does not reply within 5 days, the winner forfeits his or her prize and another winner will be picked at random.

-Amazon is not sponsoring this contest and is held harmless, whatever that means.

-E-mail addresses will not be stored nor sold.  I do solemnly swear not to junk mail you at all, ever!  Literally nothing is worse than junk mail, agreed?

-If you win a copy of The Milestone Tapes you are not required to leave a review … though, it would be nice … 🙂

-The winner of the grand prize will receive the e-version of The Milestone upon publication (mid March) via Amazon as a “gift” through e-mail once their new Kindle is registered.  I will not be mailing out unsecured PDF versions at this time.

-By signing up, you give me permission to use your real name (Facebook, Twitter) in the announcement of winners … should you win.

-The Kindle being given away is the $79.00 US version — this includes the WiFi and valuable special offers.  If you’re entering from another country, please contact Amazon prior to entry to ensure that you will be able to use the device in your region or that you will be able to exchange it for the model that will work.  I am not responsible for ensuring the device will work where you live, nor do I take on the responsibility of working out an exchange on your behalf.

So …

That’s that.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns about this giveaway!  Good luck and enjoy!

A Chance To Win The Milestone Tapes!

I’ve partnered with Goodreads to give away 5 autographed copies of THE MILESTONE TAPES in March.  If you’re interesting in getting your hot little hands on an advanced reading copy complete with name scribbled in black sharpie … now’s the time folks!  Get while the getting’s good!

Direct link to entry

But, don’t worry if you don’t luck out on this deal … I’m scheming up all sorts of sweet swag winning opportunities as the launch draws ever closer.  We’re talking e-versions, print copies, and hey … maybe even your very own Kindle preloaded with the book and shipped with love!

It’s really real … and it’s happening so soon!

“Obviously You Don’t Care!”

An interesting take on the new KDP Select Program was raised on the Kindle Boards Forum … by a Nook user.

In the past few weeks, this Select program has gone from very hush-hush with secretive terms and confidential phone calls to loud and proud.  We now know the terms of the agreement, the limitations and the benefits.  While no official cheques have been written by Amazon, we have numbers in terms of “lent” books … which are more than just a little impressive.  Some authors are seeing lending numbers garnished from a singular hour match what they did on B&N in an entire year for a single title.  Like I said, impressive.  As for what percentage those numbers will win them from the $500,000 pool … that’s still TBD … but it’s a bright light, and I look forward to hearing from the brave souls who gleefully publish their numbers.

And for me, with this new information, it’s become an increasingly difficult decision to make … spread the love or give it all to Amazon?  What’s a girl to do?

So, that brings us to this Nook User (we’ll call her Nook User for the duration of this post).  What makes her take so interesting is this … she’s not an author, she is a reader — a very brave reader who came out of lurking to write an open letter to the authors who post there.  She is our target market, the reader with the open mind, and rightfully so, she guessed that her opinion would matter.  She clearly stated that she uses a Nook by choice — leaving me to guess no one from B&N has put a gun to her head.  And, as you can probably guess, she has great issue with Amazon’s new “take all” strategy.

Nook User uses Amazon.com and it’s Kindle Store as a shopping tool.  She’ll research the books on Amazon’s much friendlier site, and then — with list in hand — head over to B&N for purchases.  She has a well oiled system to her buying … and when a to-be-bought book that was listed on Amazon fails to appear on B&N she feels like “obviously you don’t care!”

It’s an interesting take, right?  To think that if your book isn’t widely available your actions are perceived as careless … thoughtless … insensitive.  After all, you’re making a business decision … but for others, those that want to read your work, it’s personal.

In my opinion no one single reader is more important than the next … I say that as a reader and as a writer.  That the sum is truly greater than its parts.  Amazon has always been a much friendlier place for authors than it’s brick and mortar counterparts — and even its online competitors.  The lending program is proving to be a valuable tool, reaching new readers who will borrow a book from a new author whereas they may not make the decision to “pay” for the chance otherwise. Likewise, Amazon understands business and the business of writing books and in turn, give the writer a nice compensation.

But still …

I do care.  I care a lot.  Which is why Nook User’s post earned its own place on my blog.

My first eReader was a Sony 505 … or something like that, I can’t remember.  I wanted a Kindle … but Oprah had gone and made it the hardest and hottest grown-up toy of the season.  The backorder log was months deep and I would have had to wait forever for an Kindle of my own.  It was hard decision, but I decided to give up my place in line and buy a much more accessible Sony.

It was a beautiful eReader … a glossy powder coated blue metal device.  The case had a built-in light that, when folded down, covered the whole screen.  I was so excited to have it.

And, like Nook User, I found an easy way to find books I wanted to read … I went to Borders.  I would make short lists, come home, log into my account and try to find the books.  This was still the dark ages of ePub, and 90% of what I wanted to read wasn’t for sale through Sony.  Unlike Nook User, I did deviate from my eReader and simply supplemented my Sony by buying hardcovers and paperbacks.  What I’m trying to say is that, I understand, I’ve been there.

But, I never felted slighted by the authors for not publishing their books with ePub.  No, I understood that businesses make decisions based on what works for them and eBooks, at the time, were still a sluggish yet proven venture.

I eventually popped on the Kindle 2 and sold my Sony after spending some time on the Amazon site and realizing what an opportunity I was missing.  It changed for me then, I started ONLY buying e-editions of books … and rarely would I go for a paper version.  So, in that instance, again … I understand.

My point is … I get it.  I know that, in a perfect world, every book would be available in every format, but it’s not always the sagest business decision to do that.  And as an author I’m half writer half, business woman.  I have to look at the bigger picture to make the best decision … it’s really as simple as that.  It’s not that I don’t care … it’s that I care too much.  I care about everything.  I care about sales and readers and marketing and profit/loss … I care about my image and availability and the economy and the market.

But, there is a happy medium.  There is a solution …

PDF.

My decision in regards to KDP Select remains unmade in this moment.  But, I have scrambled my brain around making it fair … fair for everyone.

KDP lends the books to users for free.  Android users, iPad users … anyone with the Kindle app can pounce on the lending option.  It gives someone the opportunity to take the chance … and I think that paying that forward in the spirit of fairness is the best.

So … this is my personal solution …

If I decide, in the end, to make my book exclusively linked to Amazon … in essence shunning myself from readers of B&N and Apple, I will offer free PDF versions of my book for those unable to access it with their chosen provider.  I will set a pre-determined number of “free copies” … and when they’re gone, they’re gone.  Like with Amazon, I will run the promotion for 90 days and reevaluate things at the close.  It will allow me to be as fair as possible while still playing by the Select rules.

So, Nook User, I care.  And I consider your feelings and opinions very important … and you’re right … books are for reading.  So, no matter what I decide … anyone who wants to can read it.

 

 

 

 

The Art Of Depressing Someone

This past weekend I had the chance to visit with my in-laws in Pittsburg for our Christmas Extravaganza.

This is entirely our thing … every year we pack the car, turn on some Christmas music and take the boring, bland 8 hour stretch of I-80 east bound towards the quant town of Cranberry, PA.  My husband and I have been doing this for the past five years … it’s something I look forward to, as the weekend always promises to be nothing short of fun.  Ample food, good conversation, plenty of alcohol, and a little good tidings and cheer to round it out.  It’s how we launch we the Holiday Season in our home, the first of our various Christmas celebrations.

This year was no different.  We were able to see family and friends, we ate too much and drank way too much.

As the evening lulled into good-byes and well wishes, we sat down in front of the television.  My mother-in-law turned on the Hallmark channel and the conversation lapsed into how “predictable” the various stories were.  Always the same formula of life’s grand lessons … he’s cheating, she’s heartbroken, he’s moving on, she’d dying … the names and places and dates may change, but the situations hardly ever do.

Before I launch into the art of depressing someone, we should cover a few ground rules first …

1. NO ONE beside my mother-in-law, father-in-law and husband in that room, at that moment, knew I had written a book.

2. I’ve always said my book would fit a Lifetime Movie perfectly.

… Okay …

So, as we’re digressing into the finer points of predictability when it comes to women specific television, my in-laws friend says … and I quote … “this movie is probably about a parent dying of cancer who writes a letter to her child.  How much more depressed could I be?” … end quote.

Now, picture me: I had a half full glass of wine in my hand, eyes wide, slightly flushed, embarrassed … raising the glass to my lips and skillfully swallowing the entire thing in one gulp as though the 4 ounces of wine were a shot.

Speechless.  I was just … speechless.

But now that the hours of drinking have passed … and the thoughts are clearer … my rebuttal is this …

I never wrote my story to depress anyone.  No, not at all.  Yes … there are pings of sadness in the 94,000 words that may hit home … places I worked on so hard to evoke a feeling of loss.  Real life, it can be sad.  But the story of loss … any loss … shouldn’t be depressing, it should bring someone to a thoughtful place.

Here is a bit of full disclosure …

When my mother was sick … our home was never a depressing place.  Honestly, it wasn’t.  She was given a 30% chance of survival in the dark days of modern medicine — we could have been grim … we had the right to be grim.  But still … we had candles and flowers, we laughed far more than we cried.  We talked to each other, we spent time together.  It was a place and time of collecting and gathering.  We never let her illness define us, and although there was hurt — there always was hope — and hope was far more measurable.

Death is depressing.  It’s a dark place by nature.  But there is a light side to it as well, and that light is the legacy of love shared between people over the span of a lifetime — no matter how long or short that lifetime is.  The scale of that balance is dependent on how an individual sees it.

Jenna Chamberland, my protagonist, she isn’t a wallower.  That’s not her nature, believe me — she showed me that all on her own.  She is strong in the face of uncertainty and, like my own mother, hopeful in a place of heartbreak.  The tapes … they were a gift.  A thing of love.  A show of devotion.

The art of depressing someone with words, it’s a balance.  I’m not a believer in things having to work out perfectly to have a happy ending.  Happy endings … and depression … are subjective.  Love doesn’t always end with Prince Charming kissing the princess awake … nor does it end with sunshine and gold stars.  For my parents friend … the final gift of a parent to child may be thing a sadness … for me, in the context of my story, it’s a source of joy.

My favorite quote on writing is this … “Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself.  You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world.  You bring your history and your read it in your terms” .  So, if you ever glance a copy of my book and decide to buy it … bring to it (along with all of your thoughts) that this story was written to be a hopeful one.

 

 

No Back List? Big Problem …

In the publishing “real world” … the land of Penguin and Little, Brown, Random House, Harper Collins … authors generally publish one book a year.  Some, like James Patterson (with his writing partners who probably do most of the work) can publish more frequently.    But, it’s fairly normal for a new release to burst onto the scene everything 12-18 months.  I know I’ve been waiting for Gillian Flynn to follow-up Dark Places for almost two years now — which will be her third release.

But, with an Independent Author, the back list seems to be a crucial component in the true, measurable success.  It’s fairly basic … fans find an author, read a book and want more.  Obviously, if an author has several completed works available, the visibility of that person can grow … and there is no lag.

But, for me, my first book is literally my first book.  I have no back list, no completed series, nothing really to offer outside of my initial release.    The Milestone Tapes isn’t a story that lends itself to a series … I have to start back at jump street.

My second book … as of today … is the sum of about 3,000 words.  Because I’m pretty certain my genre requires a minimum of 75,000 words, I’m obviously nowhere near done.  And with no back list, I’m starting to worry about a big problem looming.

My plan has always been this … sink a lot of my money into PR.  Get my name and voice out there.  I always assumed that while the first book was away … being polished and taken care of … I could commit to writing my second.  It was a good plan … but totally unrealistic.  I still had to really work towards getting the book ready with a million little fine details that only I could take hold of.

Now, I’m faced with no back list … and nothing concrete to follow.

My choice is this

1. Hold The Milestone Tapes until I’m done with the second book.

2. Go forward and then write like a lunatic and hope that within six months I can publish book two.

So, if you’re an author … tell me …how did you plan for release number one?  What did you think about following the first release?  What was your game plan?

 

 

 

 

Writing The “Bio”

I am sure this is not a universal truth … but for me, I’ve found writing about myself is one of the hardest subjects to approach and to actually do well.  I think it’s always been that way — I don’t exactly find myself an “riveting” person — my life is and always has been exceptionally normal minus the hiccups of growing up.

But, as it turns out, when you’re getting ready launch a book or website or even a blog … you need a bio that speaks not only about you but does so in such a way that it becomes a learning experience for anyone reading it.  And, to further complicate things, you need several bios, one for each individual aspect of marketing yourself.

Blog bios can sillier, more tongue and cheek and can touch on the lighter side of life.  Books need to be truncated and smartly worded, generally limited to a few well thought out sentences.  Websites should be interesting and cover the key points of you while remaining fresh, current and above all else, interesting.

So, I did what I always do, I asked for advice.

You know what people told me?  Write in third person, make it interesting … and … lie.

Before I dive into how I wrote my bio and all of that, I want to touch on the lying.

As a literary fiction author, I lie a lot.  I create houses that don’t exist, build drama where there is none, invent people simply because I can, travel through time at the speed of of a page turn.  Lying is part of the job description, it’s expected in my genre.

But, lying in a bio?  All I can think about is James Fry with his MILLION LITTLE PIECES debacle.  James Fry wrote a great book … it’s still a great book.  The only problem was, he tried to pass it off for truth.  And then, because that was his “so-called reality” … he had to fish around and make this his personal history as well.  It wasn’t true, not from the beginning … and he got caught.  He went into his writing knowing this is a lie … and still, he never stopped to weigh the consequences of that … he just tried to outrun them and was publicly shamed for that.

So, in good faith — boring though I may be — I refuse to LIE about who I am and where I come from.  Sure, it might make me more interesting … it might even sell a few more copies of my book … but, we live in the age of the internet, and there are people out there who love to do nothing more than dig up your past and watch you fall.  All things considered … that is simply SO not worth it.

Instead, for my website, I tried to take what is true and make it read like a really great interview.  Writing in third person felt silly, so I tweaked it to fit my style.  I included little sentences and then “answered” them with personal quotes of my own …

WEBSITE BIO

Ashley Mackler-Paternostro was born in Naperville, Illinois, where she still lives with her husband Mark and their three dogs.

“We have such a normal life.  And I’m really so lucky, my husband Mark is absolutely the biggest supporter of my writing.  It’s … amazing.  I have no right to be this fortunate … and yet, I am.”

A hairstylist by trade, Ashley will often say that some of the best stories she has ever heard were told to her while working behind the chair.  A life long reader with an insatiable appetite for good books, she decided to merge her love of great stories — both told and written — into her own brand of story telling.

“Life is so strange … people can do some really crazy things when left to their own devices. As a stylist, I was privy to that, people just want to still down and talk — and they all have something to say.  Sometimes it’s sad, sometimes it’s just hysterical.  But, that’s real life — it’s kind of messy.

As a reader, I need to lose myself in the book, I cherish the sort of story that you can really invest yourself deeply in, the kind that has an unforgettable character who pulls you to the point where you can viscerally understand them and the lines of real and unreal get blurry.  

When you take all that normal stuff and blend it with the edge of fantastical, you can really find yourself in a beautiful place.  When I write, that’s what I’m looking for–that beautiful place. I have no problem walking away from a book if the characters aren’t telling me their story.  They have to flesh themselves out, I have to believe in them in order to work with them.  My books are absolutely character driven … just like real life.”

When she’s not being held captive in her home office by words, Ashley fancies herself a flea market hunter with a weakness for Japanese glass floats and repurposing vintage goods.

“There is such bliss in the things from once upon a time.  I can’t walk past a piece of furniture without wondering how I can change it.  I can’t see pretty glassware and not want to own it.  I see these ordinary objects and wonder — what’s the story behind this, how did it end up here?  Where has this been?  Who loved this?  I can really get swept away in that sort of wondering.”

Writing was always in her blood from the time she was a little girl always eager to say something, but until a trip to the Olympic Peninsula in the spring of 2011 she never had the vision.

“You know, it’s sort of cliche how this all started.  I just turned 28 and my husband took me on vacation.  I wasn’t at a crossroads in my life — at least, not that I was aware of, but I came home from Washington and was inspired, that place changed me.  I had this story inside me and it was so loud … I couldn’t quiet it down, I simply had to tell it.  

So, I sat down and just started writing.  I didn’t even think about it.  Once I hit 30,000 words I was like … oh … this is pretty serious. It felt really natural, as though this was just how it was supposed to be for me … so I let go and let the story unfold. I didn’t really worry about outlining, or plotting … now I know better.  I ended up with this book about life and death and love and even I couldn’t believe it.”

Ashley wrote her entire first novel with only three people knowing about it. She had no idea where this journey was going to take her or how she would finish it … or even if she would finish it.

“I’m a big believer in wild dreams.  My Dad used to call me an enigma, which I suppose is very true. I was a hairstylist … the last person you’d ever think would ‘write a novel’ let alone publish a novel — I mean, really–a writer?  Even I wasn’t so sure how this would turn out.    

And, at the same time, I was always the type to just ‘blurt it out’ (I’m not the best at keeping big, life changing secrets)… those sort of loud proclamations usually lead to expectations.  I knew that if I was going to write authentically, I had to play it close to the chest.  I needed to know where I was going — gather my answers and figure it out — before I let too many inside.  

It was hard … but not impossible.  I think it was the best gift I ever gave myself.  It worked.  And when I finally was at the point when I knew this book was absolutely going somewhere, it was an exciting thing to share with the people in my life.”

Ashley’s writing style reflects the sort of books she herself enjoys reading.  Never one to shy away from the uncomfortable or heartbreaking, her novels often ping into the defining moments of life in the middle of great conflict.

“I’m a writer a of real life, I actually really like real life.  I enjoy putting my characters into very hard situations and I like seeing how they figure it out — much of the time I have no idea how they’ll do it, but in character driven pieces, they usually give you clues. 

Good endings aren’t always as simple as ‘boy and girl live happily ever after’ … that happens sometimes, sure …. but it’s not always genuine.  If bad things happen, my characters need to be able to figure out how to adjust and live within them … you can’t force that to fit a mold.  That’s what I’ve figured out about my writing.”

Before the launch of her first book, THE MILESTONE TAPES, she is already hard at work with the follow up.

“There is a lot of downtime when you’re working on the publishing part — a lot of hurry up and wait.  I couldn’t help but to be forward thinking — excited about how I’ll follow the first one up.  I’ve found a rhythm to my style.  My second novel, STRAY, definitely pings into same emotionally whirlwind I touched upon in THE MILESTONE TAPES while being totally different — it has a very different vibe and undercurrent to it — it’s a special story of hard yet totally self created circumstances.” 

Ashley is set to debut her first work of literary fiction in early 2012 with much excitement and enthusiasm.

“THE MILESTONE TAPES is more than a book … it’s a year of my life and a whole new chapter.  I am beyond thrilled to be in the position to share my words.  This really is a dream — a wild dream — come true.”

***

In the end, writing a bio is a very personal experience … and an exercise in writing.  It should be fun … and it should be truthful.  I don’t think you should ever lie about who you are.


Picking A Quote To Define Yourself

My web designer, Scarlett, e-mailed me this evening asking for a quote … something to put under the header of my website that would speak either from me or about me.

I was stumped.  That’s the truth.  As a writer, we say a lot of things and we write a lot of words.  We talk about the craft and the experience of being involved, we talk about our books and our passions and the things that make us tick.  But, unlike my blog which is for other writers — my site is for readers.

What could I say that was important?

In some ways, my readers will never get to know me.  I don’t know if anyone else has ever thought that … but for me, as a blogger, it’s kind of heavy.  They will simply know me as the woman who wrote THE MILESTONE TAPES.  But, that’s very … one note.  They won’t know nearly as much as my blog followers.  And what I put on my site, I do want it to mean something to them.

So, I thought a lot about the life of a reader.  I write, lets just face it, a very specific sort of novel.  I deal with real life.  I don’t create worlds or mythological beasts or other times in distant places.  My readers will … to some extent … be asked to bring a bit of themselves to the table.

So, I chose …

“Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.” – Angela Carter

I wrote THE MILESTONE TAPES for my mother based on our lives and my curiosity about the other side.  And I’m sure some reader, some day will sit back and think “that’s my story … we lived that” … and that’s okay.  That’s what I want.

So, if you were asked to pick a single quote to define yourself … your work … your stories … what would it be?

 

It’s Worth What? — An Exploration of Pricing

I’ll soon be facing the conundrum of deciding what my book is worth and where to effectively price it.  Do I go free and drive up the sales?  Do I slip quietly into the .99 cent ghetto … I mean … bin?  Do I price myself to challenge the market at a rousing $2.99?  Or, do I plow headlong into the $4.99 bracket and practice a little patience because other “literary fiction” sells for at least that much and often times much more?

These are real questions … depending on where I fall will directly correlate with how well I sell.  It’s a seriously strategic business minded move.

The schools of thought on this various from professional to professional and author to author.  Some think, hey, go free–get the reviews and then up your price, because hey–everyone likes to get something for nothing.  Some think, no way is free is the way to go, it screams INDIE and polarized potential customers.  The under the buck mentality is referred too as the “ghetto” … an obviously sad term when you consider the love that an author pours into a book.

The fact is … my book is worth something … but what that something is remains unknown.

I was sitting down this morning trying to figure that out … and I’ll share my thoughts …

I bank with Bank of America.  I use my debit card more than anything else.  But, sometimes I need cash.  BOA has a lot of ATM’s in high traffic places, but they aren’t on every single corner.  Sometimes I have to visit another banks cash station to do a withdrawal … and each time I’m pinged $2.50.  I never spare a thought on that … paying the nominal fee is part of life as far as I’m concerned.

When I fill up my SUV with gas, I pay all sorts of fees I’m unaware of.  But, that doesn’t stop me.  It’s part of the price per gallon … and I just do it without thinking about it.

This holiday season, when I was buying gift cards, I bought Visa branded ones.  And, I paid an extra $5.00 a card.  Why?  I don’t really know.  But, I did.  It didn’t really bother me … it’s just what you do.

I heart Starbucks.  I will willing pay $5.00 plus tax for a swanky cup of coffee just because I like frothed cream.

I adore the movies, and when we go, we pay $20.00 for tickets and about $30.00 for a popcorn and two sodas.

My point is … all the time I have money going out on things that I need or enjoy and I never give it a second thought or backwards glance.  I realize that … you know what … these companies (be it the bank or the gas station) are businesses with overhead and they’d like to turn a tidy profit.  Am I really that different?.

No, actually, I’m not.  While reading is a little luxury for most people, it just so happens to be my business.  I’ve invested in the start-up cost of publishing and I’ve worked my ass off to make sure what I’m sending out into the world is a pretty, easily enjoyable read. I should be … at least in my mind … rewarded for my efforts.  I don’t think free is for me.

I think when you’re starting out, you’re setting a bar.  You’re introducing yourself and the quality of your work.  If you’re free … what does that mean?  How can you possibly go from nothing to something and not expect someone to shake their head in confusion?

Writing is art.  It’s entertainment, designed to provide pleasure.  Is $5.00 really too much to ask for that?  Not in my mind.

But…I’m posting for opinions.  What are your thoughts?  Where did you price and what was the result?  Share and share alike 🙂 your wisdom’s are rewarded with gratitude!

 

Back From The Editor–Now, I Edit

You know what I love?  When people say they’re going to do something … and they just do it.

This afternoon I received back the copy of my book from the editor.  Lauren had promised that it would be about 28 days in her care, and it was just that … 28 days.  Nothing more.

The manuscript arrived back to me completely edited with tons of grammatical track changes, but (much to my surprise and joy) nothing structural–which was an amazing moment for me as a first time author to know, under the tutelage of a seasoned professional, that I did tell a story with no glaring hole and divots.  That I had managed, with my piecemeal skill, to flesh out my characters and give the reader a glimpse of life.

All thats left to do is muddle through the 400 plus pages and click accept.  Now, I can just be really excited to share the finished work with you…I know how it begins and how it ends.

As an early gift to you all, a thank you of sort for your patience and support, check out the tab “The Milestone Tapes” for the first excerpt from my forthcoming novel…