Probably interesting only to myself, given sales reports, but I’m waiting on a paperback proof copy of The Lion of God to show up next Wednesday; if the proof is satisfactory, the paperback edition (6″x9″ trade paperback) will go on sale on Amazon for $7.97.
Interjection before I start to pontificate: The paperback version will have the corrected errata mentioned in this post. I am also going to update the Kindle version today, so if the errata bother you, you’ll be able to re-download it at some point later this weekend, that is, assuming the review process goes quickly on a holiday weekend.
Before anyone thinks I’m overpricing what they may consider a half-crap debut novel, I get a whopping 34 cents of that. And the minimum cover price would be worse if I clicked the “Expanded Distribution” box — close to $12 when I experimented last night. Those are Amazon’s minimums (well, the minimum for standard distribution is actually $7.40, a price point at which I get $0.00 royalty).
I honestly don’t know how anyone makes a living at this shit. I’m personally damned hard-pressed to spend $10 for a book (frankly, I’ll only do that to buy the latest in C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series, which I’ve been reading since the first book came out in 1994, and maybe a couple of other things), but so many “pro” releases — even in Kindle, with what really amount to tiny production costs, most of which are on the author’s side — are $9.99 these days.
When I sell The Lion of God as a Kindle download, I get (for my $2.99 cover price, which is the minimum if you want in on the 70% royalty scheme, which has certain benefits the 35% scheme doesn’t) a $2.03 royalty. This makes sense, because it costs Amazon a pittance to make the book available as a download (dirty little secret: This is how they can afford KU). Unless you use their crappy cover designer, ALL production costs are ultimately borne by the author (and even their cover designer doesn’t cost them much, since it’s extremely limited).
I would estimate in covers alone I have close to $3,000 invested. $1,600 of that was to buy a new computer that could handle a high-resolution DAZ3D render in a couple of hours vs. a couple of days — but that computer was bought with at least one other use in mind, so the cost is “distributed”, as it were. Could I buy covers, like, find a cover artist whose work I admire and commission them? Sure. Do I want to deal with an artist? No. I have an artist friend who does covers (he has made some absolutely gorgeous retro Star Trek covers and even “movie posters” for TOS episodes) and evinced little or no interest in making mine, though to his credit he did mentor me through the process of getting DAZ3D up and running, and we continue to share tidbits back and forth as I get better with the program — and he admits he’s glad I got into it because my questions stimulated him to get off his butt and work with it again.
The bottom line of all of this is, unless something happens and I suddenly start selling hundreds of copies of my books a year, I will never get my investment back. But I don’t care. It’s a hobby, not a job. I already have a job and I want to retire from it in about five years 🙂 I didn’t write at all for 20+ years because writing was already my day job, and it wasn’t fun to jump from writing technical materials all day to writing fiction at night, which is known as taking a “busman’s holiday.”
As it turned out, our idiot governor shutting down half the state (and our equally idiot mayor shutting down the rest of the city) because of the WuFlu meant I had a lot of time on my hands starting in March that used to be taken up with going out to dinner with friends and participating in fraternal activities. Not to mention vacation travel, and going to see the kids and grandkids in Fort Wayne once a month.
So you got what I did to break the monotony. My contribution to “what if?”
Thanks for indulging my imagination. 🙂