Okay everyone, I think it's time for a bit of a site update, including changes, new happenings, etc. So what's been the biggest changes around here? Well, I'm sure many of you remember my rants from last week about Facebook. Well, those haven't changed. What has changed is that I'm also moving away from Twitter. They're proving to be just as useless. MeWe on the other hand, wow. The more I use the site, the more I love it! Is it still a bit clunky? Eh, not so much. Once you understand the logic of it, the site is actually really nice. The part I like best about it is, everything is linear vs Facebook's "we decide what you see, when you see it, and how you see it, IF you even see it." Plus, the site is divided into three distinct areas. 1) your timeline where you can see posts from friends, 2) groups, which has its own feed, and can be broken out by individual groups, and 3) pages, which also have their own individual groups. I won't go into more than that, as I plan to do a complete overview of the site later on in another post, but for now we'll just say that MeWe is amazing! :D
Next up is my books. There's still no update on when Offworld Chronicles 3 will be out. And that's to no fault of my own or my editor's. She's doing a great job, but life is kicking her down pretty hard (and Satan's giving her the 5th degree to boot, so please pray for her!), so editing work has been slow. But, as soon as she's able to finish it, I'll get that out to you guys. As for book 4, The White Mountains, eh, that one's been on me, and will likely not get done and even out to the editor until much later in the year. It's not like there's big issues with the book itself. I just don't have the time or energy to work on it. I'm hoping to resolve that soon enough. But, until then, work is kinda proceeding at a crawl at this point. I'm only needing to do editing at this point, but that assumes I have the time and energy to work on it. :(
Third on today's update is book pricing. I tried out the "First Book Free" model for, oh, probably going on a good 6-8 months now. It didn't work. Yes, lots of people downloaded the free books, but it didn't change my overall sales. That still remained flat, or in many cases, went to zero for the other books. I guess people were hoping I'd give the later books away for free later on too, which I have no plans to do. In fact, when I released Dragon's Gambit, Offworld Chronicles Book 2, and asked $2.99 for it, you wouldn't believe the kickback I got on that. I mean, it was vicious. Lots of "how dare you make me pay $2.99 for your book!" I don't know if that was them saying, "Your books aren't that great, so I'm not gonna pay for them. But I will take them for free," or rather instead, "I'm cheap, and I refuse to pay, no matter how good they are!"
Given how the books have reviewed out in the past, and given the attitude of so many people these days who believe they're entitled to receiving everything for free, I'm more leaning towards the latter. So I removed the free offerings and repriced some other titles to increase interest in them. There's also the fact that, I found out recently, retailers are growing tired with all the people who have been publishing books on their sites for free, as those free titles cost them money and aren't generating enough revenue for them to justify allowing them to continue getting center stage. Instead, they're going back to the old model where best sellers are getting top billing, those with paid titles, but not good sales get the middle tier, and those who are offering their stuff for free, the lower tier. And, if you offer ANY titles for free, you're more likely to get lower tier ranking than someone with all paid titles, but low sales.
Also, if some of you think I'm just being selfish and greedy, allow me to present to you two examples of what I'm talking about.
The above are my sales metrics from Smashwords. The left are total sales, both paid and free. The right is just paid. So, by using the "First Book Free" model, as some have bragged in the past is so effective and lucrative, I've succeeded in getting shoveled to the bottom of the pile where I'm not making hardly any sales. At least when I was using the old model of "all books paid" I got more sales and had higher billing. So I'm going back to that model, and if the people who refuse to pay for any titles, no matter how good they are, don't like it, then tough. If that's how they view my books, of such little value that they won't ever pay for them, then I'm fine with them never having any of my books, ever. Period. I put a LOT of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears into these works. They're at least worth something.
And lastly, I've been making a LOT of updates, improvements and changes around here of late. Part of that was spawned by the fallout from the issues with Facebook. It made me realize I couldn't just rely on one source, or one social network or one group to promote me and my books. I need multiple platforms on which to have my voice heard, this site being one of them. That's also going to mean a LOT of my time over the next few months will be poured into here, which is all that much less that'll be available for working on the books. I know, I know, you probably don't like that, and I understand, but I'm thinking long term here. Once everything gets sorted out, I'm hoping to go back on my "one book every 6 months" release schedule. Hey, it's been a rough few years, and I've done my best to keep up the release schedule, but sometimes stuff just doesn't happen. Either way, I will do my best to get back on schedule. Although, at this point it looks like "back on schedule" may mean moving to a yearly release schedule in order to make things work. I'd like to back to once every 6 months as I know you guys prefer that, but we'll see how life goes.
Oh, and as one final aside, some of you have been asking for AudioBooks for my various novel series. Unfortunately, those cost a LOT of money. About $2k-$3k on average, and I'm only bringing in about $50 a year in royalties at this point. Why? Well, I primarily do this as a fun, paid hobby. I'm sure not making a living off this. So, if you guys want audiobooks, you're going to need to help me out by providing me with the funds to do them. If you do, I'd be glad to get those done ASAP and even give a free copy to anyone who contributes. But, for the moment, the budget doesn't permit me to do that. Anyhow, if you have any comments, concerns or feedback, please share them in the DIsqus comment box below! Thanks everyone!