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Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Twenty: Time Is Not On My Side

 

Captains ChairBlogAhoy, Mateys!

As a writer I have control over so many aspects of my job it’s incredible. I make my schedule, decide what novels I will write next, create and destroy worlds daily, have the opportunity to attend the kids’ school events, run errands, write blog posts, tweet, FB post, and all that jazz.

Yet, even with all of that control, there is one thing, no matter how successful I end up being, that I can’t control: time.

Time will always be finite and unrelenting. Can’t stop the clock, right?

So, as I look at my schedule over the next three months I realize that unless I can find an extra day in the week, I won’t have the time I need for things such as a weekly blog post. Yep, gonna have to take a step back from the Captain’s Chair. Well, not really, since I write in this chair for hours a day. I’m just gonna have to gear down and go full steam ahead on novels from now until August.

And that is where you, fearless writer, come in!

I’m looking for guest posts!

You have an idea, experience, gripe, insight, and/or stupid human trick? Then let me know! I’m looking for good, strapping writerly types to fill some cyberspace each and every week from now until the end of summer. Or end of winter, for you folks down under.

Just shoot me an email at jakebiblefiction@gmail.com and let me know your post idea and when you can have it to me by. I look forward to all of the awesomeness!

Now the parameters: I want balanced posts. If you feel the need to skewer one type of publishing or writing or idea or whatever then move along, please. I SAID MOVE ALONG! Passion is good, but closed mindedness is not. Feel free to speak your mind. I’m all about minds that speak. Just don’t be a dick. Also, and this is important, the post needs to relate to the art/biz/insanity of writing. That’s kinda key. Other than that the sky is the limit!

So email me, bitches! Send me your wise, wise words. I’m all ears! Or eyes. Whatever…

Cheers!

 

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Bethany and the Zombie Jesus, Stark- An Illustrated Novella, and the forthcoming YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, and Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).

 

 

Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Seventeen: The Cheap Lie

 

Captains ChairBlogAhoy, Mateys!

So, a Facebook friend of mine, who is a game designer, posted about how he wondered if game developers wished they hadn’t created the $.99 app monster years ago. He talked about how someone puts in hours and hours of hard work, but can’t get into the market unless they sell their work/art on the cheap.

I quickly commented it was the same for novels too.

Someone else quickly commented on how the $.99 model works because of volume.

It’s time to destroy the “volume” myth and all the other stupid selling myths and shoot those pieces of crap arguments out into space.

Discounting is a marketing tool, not a business model.

Say that with me, “Discounting is a marketing tool, not a business model.”

I want that to run through your head every time you think you have an argument against what I’m about to write, okay? Okay.

Oh, and I have another saying, “Live by the discount, die by the discount.”

Before I became a writer I was in sales and marketing. I spent nearly a decade dealing with margins and markups, discount percentages and BOGOs, promotions and tricks of the trade. I learned a lot about commerce in that time.

What I also learned is that if your business model is based on slim margin pricing and discount wars with your competition then eventually you will lose and go out of business. I watched store after store after store in the Southeast, especially South Florida, decide to play the discount war game. None of those stores exist anymore.

Who does exist? The large retailers. The ones with deep pockets that could wait out the discount wars and keep prices where they wanted. They survived.

It’s the same with pricing novels. The $.99 business model for self-published novels is killing the business for everyone. Knock it off. Just stop doing it.

Why? Because if everyone is pricing their novels at $.99 then the consumer no longer sees $.99 as something special. No one is gaining volume sales from that price point because the market itself is glutted with a volume of cheap novels.

One of my publishers, Severed Press, only uses the $.99 price as a promotional tool and only for a couple of days each quarter. My novels are regularly priced at $2.99 for the first in a series and $4.99 for the rest. I am consistently on bestseller lists.

And the only time one of my novels was offered for free was to launch the reboot of Dead Mech which had been in the market as a self-published title for a few years. It gained some new readers, but now stays at $2.99 with the sequels at $4.99.

This works. And you know what? It’s the same business model that has been used for mass market paperbacks for decades.

Oh, I can hear you sputtering objections left and right. Knock it off. When you offer your work for cheap then you cheapen your work. Why does my stuff sell at $2.99 and $4.99? Because it appears to be higher quality by being offered at a higher price. My work isn’t in the discount bin.

“But volume! Volume! VOLUME!”. Shut the fuck up. Volume is a lie.

When I was a sales manager, my boss had a saying, “Would you rather have slow dimes or fast nickels?” The entire industry loved that saying and bought into it.

Yet, there was one major flaw. It only offered two choices. You could pick “slow dimes” or “fast nickels”.

What about fast dimes? Or, better yet, fast dollars?

In the post about apps being $.99, the commenter went on to say that you make up in volume what you lose in price. That’s crap. Why? Because that’s assuming the product sells at volume!

Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer and sells more volume than any other entity on the planet. Do you think every single product that gets put on the shelf and discounted sells a ton of volume? No. Not even close. That’s why Wal-Mart is constantly shifting its inventory and clearing out the slow movers.

Guess what? Your novel, despite being priced at $.99, could easily be a slow mover. And you will have lost money as you played the discount game.

Still not convinced? Well, maybe the leader in ebooks will convince you. Amazon gives only 35% of royalties to authors if their books are priced below $2.99 or over $9.99. Priced at $2.99 to $9.99? 70% royalties. Amazon knows that selling books below $2.99 cheapens the product and they discourage it.

But folks ignore the people that pretty much invented the ebook marketplace and still play the discount game.

It makes no sense. None at all.

Oh, I hear another argument coming. It’s the “But so many authors have had huge successes selling at $.99!”

Not true.

“But look at blah blah blah and blah blah!”

Really? Count on your hands how many writers you know of that have made their fortunes selling novels for $.99. Come on, do it. Do it. Dooooooo iiiiiit. How many did you count? Three? Five? Ten? Out of how many total writers sell their books for $.99? Do the math, please, before you try to convince anyone, especially yourself, that the $.99 model works.

The ones that have made it work? They are an exception to the rule. The majority of $.99 books do not sell. Just like the majority of books don’t sell. Please never use outliers as an argument for success. They are an ideal, not an example.

The plain truth is no one in the publishing industry knows why one book sells and another doesn’t. So why limit your income chances by going cheap? It just doesn’t make sense.

Now, do I expect this post to change anyone’s mind? Probably not. There is a cult of publishing out there that refuses to listen to reason or look at history. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

But, maybe, just maybe, we can get some authors that have some common sense to just stop the madness and price their novels in the non-cheap range. Low cost is good ($2.99-$4.99), but discounted at $.99 forever is not.

One last thing, that “free” model? It’s a lie. You see a bump, gain maybe half a percent more readers, but in the end the majority of your “sales” are to people that troll the free lists and never buy a damn thing. Why would they? They can read free crap the rest of their lives.

Please take a hard look at how and why you price your novels the way you do. This is a business and the entire health of a business is based on revenue. You want that health to start strong, not weak, right?

I know I do.

 

Cheers!

Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Bethany and the Zombie Jesus, Stark- An Illustrated Novella, and the forthcoming YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, and Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).

A Brief Brief on Jake Bible Fiction

Howdy, Folks!

So some of you may have heard through my ramblings on various venues that I am now writing full time. This is most excellent. And 100% terrifying. No safety net (i.e. income) to catch me if I fail. But, as my wife and I have discussed, there is a shit ton of faith in this house! Take that however you want according to your personal philosophy, but I am a HUGE believer in the power of positive thought/prayer when it comes to getting through life. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be where I am with the amazing family I have and the amazing life I have.

But, the point of this post is to give a brief rundown of where things stand with Jake Bible Fiction. Here we go!

1. Natural Born Cyborgs- This is still happening! But due to my writing full time, I’ve had to set it off to the side so I can focus on projects that pay right now. Sorry. For those of you that have backed the project I will be sending y’all an email update with some very cool news. Very cool news. This will be WAY better than a Kickstarter or Indiegogo crowd funded project. But more on that later. Just know you will be very happy. Want in on the happiness? Then get to backing! Natural Born Cyborgs

2. The Apex Trilogy- Severed Press has done a wonderful job with the re-release of the Apex Trilogy. I know quite a few of you have asked how you can get signed copies of the new versions. I’ll be putting those back up for sale soon. The trick is international shipping. I don’t want to gouge folks, but then again I can’t take a loss on the sale in order to keep shipping costs down. If you are outside the US and still want copies, just know that the shipping will cost as much as the books. Sorry.

3. Audiobooks- Speaking of the Apex Trilogy, I do plan on re-recording the entire series and producing and releasing them as audiobooks. For those that have been waiting on Metal and Ash this is good news. Soon your earholes will be assaulted by the finale in the series. And by soon I mean…sometime in the future. You all know I quit podcasting my novels because of the intense amount of time it takes to put it all together. Same time issue with audiobooks. I have a couple projects I have to finish before I can sit down in front of the mic. But that time will come!

4. New Projects- While I can’t really talk about all the new projects I have in the works, the one I can talk about is my new straight up zombie series: Z-Burbia! I just sent in the manuscript to Severed Press and hopefully we’ll see a release in the next couple months. This is not a genre mash up. This is old school, Romero-esque zombies. The setting is in a subdivision just outside Asheville, NC. Write what you know! There is plenty of action, gore, zombies, and my personal favorite, CANNIBALS! Man, I do love me some cannibals. I should think of doing just a cannibal series. Hmmm… Anyhoo, you all will love this. I think the snark level I bring to this novel is my highest yet. How can you set the zombie apocalypse in a subdivision without some serious satire? You can’t!

5. Little Dead Man- I am bringing this novel up because it is getting close to Halloween. And this would make the perfect Halloween gift for your zombie loving teen or for yourself! What? You don’t give out Halloween gifts? For shame, people. For. Shame. Here’s the thing about Little Dead Man: it’s a freaking great novel. I have heard nothing but great feedback on this guy. It is the novel that got me a literary agent, folks. Worried because it’s YA that it won’t be your cup of tea? Don’t be! It has all of the Jake Bible elements! Zombies, cannibals, arena battles to the death (TO THE DEATH!), scavengers, mystery, action action action, shotguns, cannibals (yes, I said it twice), and, most of all, the completely original idea of having the protagonists be conjoined twins! One is a full grown seventeen year old boy, the other is his undead infant brother attached to the top of his spine! COME ON! That’s gold, people! So check it out, buy it, read it, love it! I know you will!

6. Cons- I plan on doing way more cons in 2014. Do you have a local one you like? Then send them my info! While I want to do more cons, they can be expensive. Right now I am looking at cons that invite me as a guest. This helps with expenses considerably. So go bug your local con and tell them they need some Jake Bible tainting their convention floor. I’d love to be able to meet more of you in person!

7. The Future- The future is good for Jake Bible Fiction. Audiobooks, a new series (maybe more), possibly getting into the gaming industry, Natural Born Cyborgs, and so much more! I am truly honored and blessed to be where I am right now. I have each and every one of you to thank for this. Couldn’t be here without you. So reach out, let me know what’s on your mind, what you like about Jake Bible Fiction and what you don’t, let me know what you’d like to see more of. Let’s chat. I know there are writers out there that aren’t very accessible, but I’m not one of those. You want to talk? I’m sitting right here in my captain’s chair at my desk. No, seriously, I have a captains chair. I dig it very much. Email, comment, tweet, FB message me, post on my wall, send carrier pigeon, whateves. I’ll be waiting!

That’s about it, folks. There is more, but I wanted to get this out there so y’all know what is going on. I’ll certainly try to keep the updates coming more frequently. But let’s not make this a one way street. Reach out if you want. I’m here.

Chat soon.

Cheers!

-Jake

Jake on The Funky Werepig!

Hey, y’all!

Here is an interview I did on The Funky Werepig bat the end of July. It was a blast so have a listen!

Cheers!

The Funky Werepig- Jake Bible

It will also be in my iTunes feed, so be sure to subscribe there. “What?”, you ask, “But you stopped podcasting. ” Never say never people. Never say never…

Friday Night Drabble Party and The Funky Werepig

Hello!

It’s time for another Friday Night Drabble Party! The Party where you get free -YES, FREE!- 100 word fiction!

And that’s not all there is tonight! In about two hours (9pm eastern time) I’ll be on The Funky Werepig! Mr. Gregory Hall will interview the shit out of me! Not literally. Gross. So tune in at 9pm for The Funky Werepig and all the shenanigans that will ensue! Click here for info and links! CLICK HERE! Then come on back and read ya some drabbly goodness!

Now, on to the drabble!

Enjoy!

***

Blue Lightning
By
Jake Bible

“More!” the doctor screamed. “I need more power!”

“I’ve given it all there is, Master!” Iggy yelled from his perch amid a thousand switches and transformers, all arcing blue lightning from coil to coil. “We’re at full power!”

“Damn him!” the doctor swore. “He’s sucking it up like Kool-Aid! The abomination won’t die!”

“Don’t you want him to live, Master?” Iggy asked, licking his fingers after a nasty shock.

“No!” the doctor replied. “Then he’ll be free to think on his own!”

“And we can’t have that,” I grinned as I finally broke loose. “No, can’t have that at all.”

***

Cheers!

Disclaimer: It’s alive!

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