First let's get the housekeeping out of the way. Yes, I'm still down with my concussion. No, I shouldn't be on the computer--which is why I'm making this short. Seriously, 3 weeks is a long time to be unable to work, drive, walk normally, exercise, or pretty much anything else.
Okay, done whining.
You're going to notice there are a couple of new tabs on my website. One is Audiobooks and the other is the first chapter of Birthright, which is still coming in print and e-book. Several things have been sidetracked by the chaos that my life has become. But stuff is still happening.
Recently, I made a discovery that totally blew me away. Do you remember my micro-story, Ghost Bride?
Life progressed and I published more books and stories and realized all my income was coming from Amazon, so I became an Amazon girl. I focused on my projects there, stopped publishing to Nook or Smashwords, took advantage of their KDP program, all that jazz.
About three days ago, I started poking around on my Smashwords account because they owe me just under $10--which is their limit for sending a payment. So I looked at my sales and payment reports and was shocked by the numbers I saw.
Mind you, these numbers are for Ghost Bride, which is FREE, so we're not talking income. But I'll get to that in a minute. So we're just talking downloads, not purchases.
2011: (1344--Apple, 1774--B&N, 96--Sony) = 3,214. Averaging 268 per month.
2012: (3528--Apple, 3045--B&N, 138--Sony) = 6,711. Averaging 560 per month.
2013: (4671--Apple, 535--B&N, 48--Sony) = 5,254. Averaging 438 per month.
2014: (1834--Apple, 228--B&N, 9--various) = 2,071. Averaging 173 per month.
Additionally, Ghost Bride on iTunes has 116 customer reviews with an average of 3.5 stars. It has 44 reviews on B&N with an average 3.0 stars. Conversely, it's Amazon rating is 3.5 stars with 11 reviews. You can take all my reviews for all my other books COMBINED and not have 116.
Now, I realize it's my fault for not figuring this out sooner. If I had known my story was getting so much attention in 2012 and 2013 I'd have been promoting my other books very heavily on iTunes. But I didn't. Now isn't the time to cry over spilled milk, and I'm not going to do it. What I am going to do is broaden my vision. Concentrate less on Amazon and keep my other fires stoked and burning as well rather than utterly ignoring them.
I'm also going to do something that a lot of authors don't agree with. I haven't weighed in because I didn't think I had any sway one way or the other. I know that you know that e-books are priced between free and $14, depending on the book, the publisher, and other factors. And I in no way want you to think that I'm devaluing the work--the blood, sweat, tears, sleepless nights, aggravation, and general "why am I even doing this to myself?"--that ALL authors experience. Because I'm not.
My goal has always been to get my books into as many readers' hands as possible. I want to help someone through a rough day, give them something to smile about, give them an escape from their pain. I want to share hope, and share goodness.
I can't do that if nobody is buying my books.
On the flip side of that, I have to eat. And e-books are a lot of work. You're still going to find that my books go through professional edits and formatting, have professional covers, and are a good quality product.
The only thing that's changing is the price.
If you're someone who thinks you can't get a decent e-book for less than $6 or $7 I intend to prove you wrong. This is my business, my company, and my work. I just ran around the internet changing all the prices of my e-books. You can find Tea for Two permafree through Smashwords. (and Amazon, just as soon as they price match) My novels are $1.99. And that's not a sale price. I likely won't put any of my e-books up for more than $3.99. **this applies only to the self published books where I control pricing** Ever. Period. Print books are different. If you want one you can put on your shelf and brag about, then you'll pay print book prices.
I realize there are going to be those of you who think I'm wrong. Who think I'm nuts. Please be gentle. Each of us is going through our own journey, and this is what feels right to me. I've been fighting it a long time, wanting to price my works competitively and support the efforts of my fellow authors. But now it's time to be true to me. My stories have positive messages. My stories are good, quality work. And not everyone has $9.99 to spend on a book they can't even hold in their hands.
But everyone should be able to read.