Tim Pratt
SF and Fantasy Writer

Kindling

Broken Mirrors is now on sale for the Kindle! (And all those other devices that can read Kindle books. I’m working on other formats and venues. But it’s a start.)

My lovely wife is off to New York, as she’s in the wedding party of a certain World Fantasy Award nominated friend of ours (hi Susan!). Meanwhile, I’m here in California with the kid, enjoying this strange and brief window of actual summer weather. Solo parenting is rather more exhausting than team parenting, but the fact that my son is a total sweetheart helps. I took today as a vacation day, since he’s been stuck at my workplace three of my last four working days, and I didn’t want to drag him in there again. So instead: we’ll go to a park or two, and get some gelato, and go to the library, and otherwise have a nice time. Hope you all do, too.

5 Responses to “Kindling”

  1. Patrick Says:

    I sent a donation and now I’m happy to double-pay (although for a self-published book, $5 ‘might’ be a tad high) to get it officially for my Kindle.
    Keep the Marla books coming!

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks, Patrick. I’ve done well selling Bone Shop and my collection Hart & Boot & Other Stories at $5 for the Kindle, so I priced Broken Mirrors the same. I can always adjust it if that seems warranted. And it’s $0.50 to $1.30 cheaper than Bantam priced the other books in the series for the Kindle, so really, it’s a steal. :)

    (And anyone who doesn’t want to pay can snag the whole text free from the internet — I even have the whole novel on a single page! — copy and paste it into a document, and get it converted to read on the Kindle by Amazon.)

  3. Patrick Says:

    My ‘a little high’ comment was me thinking along the lines of Joe Konrath and his self-published works. He’s been extremely successful around the $2.99 range. Maybe it’s just because I already donated – dunno. I’m happy to support your work though. Marla has been a lot of fun and I love encouraging authors to self-publish. A lot of the publishers are on my naughty list right now.

    p.s. Comparing your prices to publishers probably isn’t the best – some of those morons are charging as much or in some cases more(!?) than the ebooks physical counterparts. :D

  4. admin Says:

    The book might sell more briskly at $2.99 a pop, though my profit margin per unit would go down accordingly, of course. It’s worth experimenting with, and I may do so in the future.

    I do appreciate your donation — and the book is, of course, still here for free online, and I intend to leave it there. You’re welcome to snag the text from the single-page version and copy-and-paste your way to the e-book format of your choice!

    I figure people buying the Kindle version are doing so for convenience. For me, $5 is impulse buy territory. It’s what I used to charge for ‘zines and chapbooks, when I published such things. (I’m not saying it’s a profoundly researched decision to price it that way, but it’s not utterly random.)

    As for criticizing the price publishers charge for e-books… Forgive me, this is going to get long.

    I could be wrong, but I suspect you’re making the common mistake of believing an e-book is intrinsically much cheaper than a printed book. Many people think that, because an e-book doesn’t require paper or printing, it should be drastically cheaper than a physical book.

    But paper and printing are cheap, and constitute only a tiny fraction of a book’s price. (For high-volume offset printing like the major publishers do, that is; print-on-demand is far more expensive on a per-unit basis, as it lacks economies of scale.)

    What you mostly pay for when you pay for a book — e-book or otherwise — is wages for the author, editors, proofreaders, cover artists, publicity people, book designers, and everyone else up and down the chain of production it takes to create and market book. I don’t know that an e-book should be drastically cheaper than a paperback, since almost all the costs of production remain — you still have to write, edit, copyedit, proofread, design, commission cover art, etc., and all those people deserve to be paid.

    With e-books you do save money on shipping and warehousing, admittedly, though few books are kept piled up in warehouses for long these days anyway, for boring and complicated tax-related reasons. On that account, e-books should probably be a bit cheaper than their print counterparts, but not necessarily vastly so.

    None of that really applies to this project, of course. I didn’t have most of those expenses. I had volunteer proofreaders and copyeditors, and first-readers who served as editors of a sort. And I did the e-book layout myself; luckily, I possess the necessary skills, and even then, it’s a fairly bare-bones production. I don’t have much in the way of marketing, though, and so I’m not going to shift as many copies as I would if Bantam was still publishing me, alas. So I have more flexibility in my pricing. For me, $5 doesn’t seem unreasonable. Many books are cheaper; many books are more expensive. And, again — the whole text is here free for anybody who doesn’t want to kick in a fiver.

    But for traditional publishing, it’s not much cheaper to produce an e-book than it is to produce a physical book. As someone who works closely with people in the publishing industry, I can tell you, most of them aren’t getting rich off this. Publishers operate on razor-thin profit margins. I know a lot of people feel e-books are drastically overpriced. I can see how they reach that conclusion. I, personally, disagree, and I think if many of them really understood the economics involved, they might change their minds.

    But then, I mostly read free books from the library, because I’m pretty broke. Mostly because publishers don’t make enough money to pay me what I’m worth. :)

  5. Tony Dismukes Says:

    Excellent! I didn’t donate earlier, only because I knew I wanted a copy of the whole thing on Kindle and I couldn’t afford to double-pay. I just downloaded it from Amazon and am looking forward to staying up reading tonight.

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