Monday Musings: Plan B
I’m writing this on April 8, at which time I’ve sent out 38 queries for this story. Twelve have already been rejected, form rejections all. A few others have sent standard Emails saying they might send something in 6-12 weeks, by which time I might also get my X-ray specs in the mail. Let’s see which one happens first! Between now and when the entry airs I might send a few more to round the number closer to 50. Or whatever.
[And as of April 21 I sent out 69. 26 form rejections and 1 full request. I could have sent more, but as someone who appreciates a good dirty joke, 69 seems like a good number. Probably just stop there.]
Anyway, I’m just going to assume they’ll all be rejections. My philosophy is that queries are like job interviews: if you don’t hear back right away then assume the worst. Sure you can point to some examples of where that didn’t happen, but I don’t care. It’s not going to happen in this case. If it does, then woo hoo.
[And backing that up was the 1 full I got came back the next day.]
So Plan B is that I’d probably just do what I did with other books. That is to look them over, make up a cover, and convert it to Kindle format. Then I can maybe make a couple of bucks to recoup the expense of all the tea I drank at Starbucks and Panera Bread while writing it. Or at least one tea. If I sold enough I might put the second one on there too and so forth.
It occurs to me that’s a really nice luxury to have. In the old days if the publishing industry wouldn’t take you, the story wound up in a drawer or at the bottom of a bird cage. Now it’s so easy to put it out as an eBook for virtually no cost. (Though the publishing industry will claim it’s so horribly expensive they have to charge $9.99 for what I could put on there for $0.99.) Or if you feel like wasting some money you can use a POD publisher like CreateSpace or Lulu.
Of course it’s not as good as Plan A–the getting Ms. Big Agent who sells it to Random House and makes me a millionaire, leading to a Charlie Sheen-type meltdown plan–but at least someone might read it, which is more than you could say 30 years ago. Technology is our friend!
Anyway, expect a spate of shamelessly self-promoting blog entries this summer when that happens.
In a bit of synchronicity, Writer Beware was complaining about 99-cent ebooks that no one probably reads anyway on their Facebook page and I said I didn’t really care if they read the book so long as I got paid for it.
Then in a post a few days later, I read this at the end:
When I posted this article to Writer Beware’s Facebook page, one reader quipped that he didn’t care if anyone read his book, as long as they bought it. But authors should care, because the reading–not the pricing–is what keeps people coming back.
And no, I still don’t care. Why? Because no one was going to read those anyway! Those books were going to rot in the drawer anyway with no one reading them. This way there’s a chance a few people might read them and I make a little bit of money. Win-win for me. Now if you’re Stephen King or John Grisham you would be pissed just like Lars Ulrich was pissed about Napster. If people can get books for cheap then they can’t buy the solid gold Jacuzzi for their cat’s summer house! (I know, most authors don’t really make that much money.)
The obvious fallacy in their line of reasoning is that if people pay more for a book they’ll read it. To borrow a stat from Michael’s entry on April 19, 57% of new books aren’t read to completion. That’s more than half! And these books probably aren’t just 99-cent eBooks written by a nobody. So no, higher prices do not equal better readership.
But I as the author can’t control whether people read the thing or not. I don’t know who buys it so I can’t go to their houses with a gun and force them to read the book. (I would if I could!) All I can do, like any businessman, is make my product available and hope for the best. Since I don’t have name recognition and a huge marketing budget, the only advantage I have over the “legitimate” authors is that I can charge less than they do. That’s called “competitive advantage” in business.
And really, what’s the difference between paying 99 cents for an eBook and paying $1 for a book from the remainder store or a used book store? Or paying $0 to rent the book from the library? At least the author of the 99-cent eBook gets 35 cents of royalties, which is something. Not much, but something.
Wednesday I’m going to reveal my Marxist plan for taking over the publishing industry…