25 January, 2015

The Cost of Ones Work

For more than a decade I devoured romance novels the way I still devour potato chips.

Throughout the mid 80's and 90's, my favorite author was Johanna Lindsey, who might be labeled by some as the undisputed queen of romance.

This was my introduction to her writing, and this book was all it took to get me hooked and want more.

Even if money was tight, there still seemed to be a way to hit a bookstore, browse her selection, find something I hadn't yet read, and buy it.

But, then she did something I still equate to as having stabbed me right through the heart.

The paperbacks were replaced with hard cover novels, and at a cost of more than double the paperback version -- which weren't being offered btw.

Suddenly it wasn't even an option to buy any of her works.

A hard cover the size of coffee-table books I still believe should be relegated to photography and nothing else started at $14.99 and went up to unholy sums, pricing me right out of the market.

Heck, even if I had been able to afford that price, I couldn't imagine myself being able to read comfortably in bed anymore with something that large and heavy in both hands.

Prior to the e-Age, I remember becoming increasingly dismayed by the fact that what once cost $3.95 was suddenly $4.99 and then $5.95 for any paperback novel. Now at $7.95 to $12.99 a pop, the library is my new best friend.

Today, via Kindle and Nook, ePub and PDF, the issues with size and weight are no longer valid, but cost still is.

What my work is worth depends in large part on readership or fan-base. Being a newbie, I don't have one of those . . . yet.

Believing that everyone feels the way I do about it, I priced my first novel as reasonable and fair as if I, myself, were the buyer and not the other way around -- thinking only of the return on a very personal and lengthy investment -- my time and effort into that first novel.

Learning the importance of a fan base is another reason for keeping it at as reasonably low a price as I am able to do without giving it away for free.

And, once there are a few other novels under my belt, offering free copies won't be as much of an issue or affect my bottom-line as deeply as it would were I to do it today.

Then there are ARCs: a surprisingly great way to get yourself noticed, and as long as you don't make the mistake of offering them to people IN RETURN FOR a favorable review.

Saying I don't want to make my mark in the world of Romance Novel Writing and never considered the idea of making a living as one would be lying.

I do on both counts.

Just not overnight sensation, and not in made-into-a-blockbuster, Twilight, or Harry Potter fashion . . .

and more in another Johanna Lindsey, Lisa Kleypas, or Nora Roberts kind of way.

The above-mentioned Divas have a right to decide on whatever way they intend to sell their work since they've earned it.

Just know that if the day ever does come when my name ends up among such prestigious ranks, that my memory of having been stripped of any and all rights to reading my used-to-be-a-favorite author's work is likely to prevent me from ever becoming a Diva with an attitude.

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