In terms of eBooks the $0.99 price point is still very common – its taken some criticism over the last few years, but by and large a lot of self-published and public domain classics still retain the $0.99 price point. I don’t use it for pricing my novel length titles, but I do have some short stories at that price.
But how long will it last? Surely with the effects of inflation we won’t always have the $0.99 price? The retailers will realize the costs associated with selling titles at this price are unsustainable at some point. When will that be?
I thought it would be interesting to see how much the revenue for indie/self-published publishers has declined at the $0.99 price point over the last few years and what might happen in the future.
I’m not economics expert, so if my maths is awry then let me know. I used a US Inflation Calculator to do the sums.
Let’s say you started publishing titles in 2010 at $0.99. If you are publishing via Amazon you get 35% of that back in royalties, which is $0.35/sale according to the reports I get from Amazon.
That $0.35 is now worth in reality $0.33, 6.8% less than it was worth in 2010. That’s quite a dramatic difference! Customers are paying effectively the equivalent of $0.99 – assuming of course their disposable income has increased at the same rate as inflation.
What would happen if inflation was a similar rate for the next 5 years say?
If you go with an inflation rate of 2% a year, then $0.99 in 2018 is worth only $0.89 now, the royalty is $0.32, not too bad perhaps, but still a 10% reduction. If you applied that over all your sales you can see that sticking at a $0.99 is unsustainable.
I think it’s likely that those sticking with the $0.99 will inevitably have to start putting up prices fairly soon. And I suspect there will be more pressure from retailers to decrease the royalties on books below a certain price.
So this week since the last post I have been concentrating on research rather than writing. I decided that I need to commit to getting the sequel to By the Sword’s Edge out at some point soon – and the only way to do that is to firm up some research on the Pontvallain campaign of 1370, which is the stories setting.
And the other major part of the research programme has been to look up some of the primary sources for the campaign so I can get to grips with some more of the detail. I have used Jonathan Sumption’s Divided Houses as a starting point to get primary source references. Again I’ll probably post a list of these and their availability at some point as well.
That’ it. Will probably post more infrequent – perhaps a couple of times a week.
So this last week was a big wash out for me – big time. Absolutely no new words at all.
Away for business and then caught a bad cold, lots of travelling and although I know I should be, I just didn’t do any writing.
That’s it – not much else to report!
On non-writing news, I finished reading A Feast for Crows – it was good! Ended up being better than I thought, but I was initially confused about where half the characters had gone. I guess that’s what happens when a series just gets too big –
too many characters and too tricky and disorientating to keep switching. Tricky though if you don’t read the next book straightaway – so I suppose I’ll need to get on with A Dance with Dragons!
While I was away I picked up a mass-market edition of Umberto Eco‘s The Prague Cemetery. I’m half was through so far and enjoying it immensely. Much better than the last Eco I read, Baudalino, which was a huge disappointment. The Prague Cemetery covers some of the same ground, but from a 19th century setting, of Foucault’s Pendulum, which was ace!
Not a great deal to report unfortunately for the last few days. I did a couple of hundred words on the 11th and another couple of hundred on Friday, 13th – getting into a new character in Chapter 2 of Dragons Above. I’m enjoying writing the new character – an ageing Field Marshall – but simply had a lot on my plate with work at the moment – not necessarily time-sucking, but more mental energy sucking, I think!
I’m hoping to get into a better routine with writing next week – I think I just need to commit a certain amount of time from my day to make it habit forming. The problem with grabbing a few words here and there – which I have been doing recently – is that sometimes those short moments of time dry up, or if work is intense the last thing I can think of is writing. So I think that’s where having a firm time and schedule can help get things done. I’m also getting back into running at the moment, and I’m following a training plan to build up my stamina – and because I have a firm schedule I tend to commit to doing the runs that I might otherwise decide I can’t be bothered with.
Perhaps I need a writing training plan to keep me on track?
Only a few words since Saturday. Definitely seem to have a problem picking up the writing at the moment. I think it’s because with Dragon’s Above it is very much a blank canvas. I know where the first chapter is going to end, but that’s it.
Well I have finished the first chapter now, so that leaves the rest of the book. Rather than just wade into the next chapter, I decided I might be better motivated if I do a little bit of planning. Not a lot – just get to know something about the characters I am going to write about – or at least the main character of the next chapter. What I am trying to avoid is doing loads of outlining. Dragons Above is the short novel that I am writing to keep myself writing every day while I more thoroughly plan the next installment of Stonehearted, which as its a historical novel I need to do research on (to some extent at least).
So I have made some notes this morning and feel pretty happy that they give me some basis to keep moving forward, and what’s more I am quite excited with the ideas for the characters and setting that I came up. I don’t think they’re groundbreaking, but they’re of enough interest to me to keep writing.
First a little update on words. 109 since Saturday – that’s it!
Here’s the stuff I came up with for Dragons Above.
Dragons Above – Main Characters – their conflicts.
Injured in dragon bombing attack
Wants to get back home to Throfunar to marry his betrothed, Frea
Do his duty for the dwarves – but not sure as to the point of the war.
Technical interest in defeating the dragoneers
After his injury he becomes obsessed in engineering and how to come up with a weapon to defeat the dragoneers bombing.
He is crippled by the attack – wheelchair and partially deaf.
He thinks Frea won’t want him. Throws his energies into weapon design.
He’s a love-smitten technie nerd.
Field Marshall of the Alliance. Currently appointed field commander of the Army of the North.
Responsible for protecting the borders of the Locked Kingdom and has been charged by the Garland Council with the ultimate defeat of the Lord of Despair and his armies.
Maximilian is a famous general, who in his prime was an undefeated leader of men – during the Wars of the Hundred Cities and the War of the Intercession, he never lost a battle. Called out of retirement by an Alliance sick of defeat after defeat, Maximilian has struggled to rediscover his lost successes. He is old, and his memory is not as good as it was. He wants to rediscover his lost powers of leadership and generalship, but he knows that he can’t.
Against the effects of old age – he is proud and can’t let go and admit himself incapable. He is too hard on himself – he has something to offer, but the pressures of leadership are too great for him.
To hold the Alliance of men, dwarves and elves together.
To defeat the Hosts of Despair.
To protect his son who is anxious for a field command.
Hosts of Despair
Religiously motivated, end-of-days militants who believe that the peoples of Midgard must pay for the offences to the gods with blood.
Armies consist of human, dwarves and elves who have lost hope or that are just cruel enough to love killing.
Lead by the Lord of Despair, an unseen warlock of unknown provenance – at least by his enemies. The Alliance spy services are intent on finding out more about the Lord of Despair and have attempted to capture high-ranking Host generals to question them and also to infiltrate into the Lord of Despair’s Headquarters, but without any success so far.
The Lord of Despair supplements his followers from the three main races of Midgard (humans, dwarves and elves), with other creatures – dragons and various other monsters of the northern mountains where his fastness is located. He also works in uneasy alliance with the enemies of the free people of Midgard – orcs and goblins, who now invest much of the Locked Kingdom. He sees these creatures as a punishment from the gods and sees no harm in encouraging them, although they are opposed to any alliance or control by him – as yet.
Other characters to develop later in the novel
Lord of Despair
A mother character – mid-30s? Which side? What’s her role? Minding the castle/farm while her husband is at war?
Apologies for not posting more regularly about my writing this week. Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been doing. All words are for Dragon’s Above – chapter 1.
Tuesday, 3rd September – 299 words
Wednesday, 4th September – 371 words
Thursday, 5th September – none! I did do some stuff for the Alt Hist website instead – posting an interview with Priya Sharma, one of the contributors to Issue 5.
Friday, 6th September – 144 words
Saturday, 7th September – 76 words – we had someone over at the weekend, so pretty difficult to write!
What I am finding a bit disappointing this week is that my word count per day is going down. This seems to be partly because I am often only doing a single session a day and leaving it at that. Partly I think that’s explained by having a lot of work on at the moment, but also I think I need to be a bit tougher with myself and force myself to hit a target of at least 500 a day.
I promise to do better this week!
Finished How to Read a Novel. Not the book I was expecting, but a good read nevertheless and inspires one to read more novels! Still reading A Feast for Crows (which I have been calling Feast of Crows by mistake in previous blog posts!) I am not sure what to think of this book. The writing as ever with GRR Martin is great, but the characters don’t particularly seem to be going anywhere (I am half way through). There’s stuff that they are doing, but none of them are in particular danger as far as I can work out, and I am left thinking so what. I’m hoping it will pick up a bit soon.
After the disastrous (but if you’re a Total War freak completely predictable) release of Rome 2 Total War, you might be wondering how to get your fix of Roman action? Well there’s lots of great Rome based fiction around, and you might even consider going back to the first incarnation of Rome Total War – you might even like to try my short story The Honour of Rome – it’s short, only a 1,000 words – but you also get another short story, Chivalry, included. So about 6,000 words in total.
Rome 2 Total War looks great, but unfortunately I and a lot of other fans can’t play it yet because it just doesn’t run on a lot of PCs. I am confident it will get fixed at some point, but not that soon.
I think I might have to check out Shogun 2 instead – or at least the demo, and Napoleon Total War, while I wait – just on the Egypt campaign at the moment, and haven’t done any of the historical battles of the Europe campaign, so lots of fun to be had yet!
Monday was a fairly slow start to the week yesterday – quite a bit to do at work and when I did take a break I didn’t feel that inclined to do any writing. My main session was 353 words on Chapter 1 of Dragon’s Above at lunchtime. The words flowed pretty well and I enjoyed what I was writing. I often feel more at ease writing the start of the novel as I don’t feel the same pressure to move the story along fast – instead I can show a scene at greater leisure.
Also I submitted one of my short stories, Bring on the Night, a medieval horror/fantasy to a new market. It’s been to four so far, so I keep bashing away with it and the other ones that are doing the rounds.
Back to Feast of Crows now that I’ve got through most of the backlog of Alt Hist submissions.
I finished Trial by Dream on Friday – adding another 223 words to take the total word count to around 2,500 – about what I expected for this story. That means I now have a couple of stories – Time’s Arrow and Trial by Dream – to send out to pro magazines. My instinct is that Time’s Arrow might need a bit more work editorially first and that Trial by Dream is also a stronger story, but we’ll see. Perhaps they’re both rubbish.
Now turning my attention to the fantasy war story, Dragon’s Above. I’ll hope to make some good headway on it this week. Over the weekend had a lot of stuff going on – out a lot for social engagements and the rest of the time was spent catching up on housework and relaxing – which was mostly playing Napoleon Total War for me! Finally managed to get somewhere on the first Italian campaign, by putting it into Easy setting!
However, I did do a bit of work on building the source material for the next installment of Stonehearted – managed to find sources for Calendar of Close, Patent and Fine Rolls – yay! But nothing on the Exchequer accounts, which is disappointing. 🙁