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Monday, January 12, 2015

Just The Facts

I’m asked many times why I don’t charge more for my full length novels, especially since a few of my series novels have become popular, and fifty thousand words has become the new norm for novel length products. I’ll admit to some very simple truths. I’m not Stephen King, James Patterson, or Tom Clancy. I’m not even in their realm of popularity, or close to it. I enjoy what I do, but I’m not blind to marketplace facts. My partner, RJ Parker, and I have tried everything to enhance our products for the market. Giving them away, or doing 99 cent sales is a hit and miss proposition. We either keep writing or disappear. That’s the standard. While I understand the arguments for pricing according to standard, I also realize we as authors are in a wild west type market. If you don’t have Stephen King type name recognition, you’re fighting for a step on the ladder with thousands of others. The argument is we’re cheapening the market. That’s a funny one, because if I charged $5.99 and up for my novels out of the chute, I’d disappear in a heartbeat, which the mainstream publishers would love. It would mean less competition. :)

Here’s the real downside I see as a writer. When I started out, I wrote 150k length and above novels, because I loved the storytelling. Novels the length of my offerings such as PEACE and SOTELLO, and CASSERINE take time to create with a flowing scene depiction and ending. I could write those length novels every time I begin a new offering, because I’m a storyteller. I’m not a marketer, or a ‘short-story as a novel’ con artist. I write novels with characters capable of transporting me past this reality trail of tears, and therefore the readers I seek to reach. I’ve accepted the shorter domain between 90k and 110k as my parameters for what attracts readers, and I damn well deliver to the best of my ability for the bargain price of $2.99. Until I’m popular enough to return to much longer novels, I will compete in the market I’ve chosen. I promise the story won’t suffer, but reining in my prolific storytelling side must be gauged to the market – hence the $2.99 cost. I hate serials, so every one of my novels, including the series additions, always have an ending, I hope has readers wishing for more, but always holding a completed storyline. That’s the blog for today as I shoot past 84k in Hard Case Book V: Blood and Fear.  :)


Charles Gramlich said...

Yep, I agree with everything you've said here for sure.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

It is without doubt the toughest year yet ahead, Charles, as far as marketing goes. This is the year where the self publishing paradigm will be harnessed into at least a basic set of rules for offerings. The good part is we don't have to allow mainstream publishing to make the rules anymore. :)

Vesper said...

You're doing the right thing, Bernard, and it shows.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Thanks, Cora. It's going to be a very weird year in publishing. :)