"I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." -- Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Balticon 2014: Pricing eBooks and Why Free is not Always Better

Saturday, 5/24/14

Having a complimentary breakfast at Embassy Suites, the overflow hotel, before I catch a shuttle to Hunt Valley for "Pricing eBooks..." program.

Hope to catch:

The Heinlein Awards for Geoffrey Landis.
Author Branding Across Platforms and Media
The Art Show and the Dealers Room

The Dealers Room is where vendors are setup at tables to sell their wares, featuring anything from games, to comics, to used and new books, costumes, jewelry and much more.

Pricing eBooks....

A four member panel with moderator began the discussion. Sue Bayman is a poet and first time novelist. Kelly Harmon has written several books. Michael R. Underwood works for AngryRobots.com and is a published author and Collin Earl and Chris ? are both authors and run Silverstone Books.

The basic answer to the question "Is offering your ebook for free, a good idea?", is no with exceptions. As the ebook market matures, offering free books to gain an audience is not always the best route for an author.

A series of books seems to be the best route for authors to make money and earn a reputation in the publishing business. So, if you write a series, maybe offering the first in the series for free is a good idea to attract a readership.

Or, if you are a novelist who is offering a standalone ebook, offering it for free for a short period of time as a promotion may be a good idea.

One drawback to offering your novel for free is that people who may not like your genre may download it for free and then provide a poor review.

With ebooks, publishers and self-publishers can offer a novel at different prices over time.

But, if you are self-published you are the marketeer as well. Consider pricing your novel based on size, production time, entertainment value and market comparables.

The most important thing to remember is you are in this for the long haul. Your novel may not sell well immediately but keep writing and producing novels. Keep networking and looking for marketing opportunities. For example:

Send your novel to netgalley for review.
Build a mailing list for those who may want review copies.
Build up awareness prior to the release of your novel.


Tech issues have plagued this trip. Can not recharge my minipad, so can not blog on-site; have limited use of hotel computer and more.


On to the Art Show--

I appreciate talent. While I am not creative, I recognize artists who have the "creative eye", the ability make something "new", in a new format, a new perspective and more. The piece evokes a mood.

In the art show, there are jewelry displays featuring necklaces, earrings, bracelets, pins, and rings. Some were along the costume jewelry line, others were very artistic using beaded materials, metals like copper, stone, and found pieces in elaborate or simple designs.

There were Barbie dolls in fairy costumes, wire sculptures, and painted gourds as holiday ornaments as well as paintings in oil, watercolor, and more.

The paintings features images from nature and lots of fantasy figures and scenes. There were portraits and nudes, dragons and cats, and scenes from an artist's favorite story.

On the the Dealers Room --

Here you find lots of jewelry, leather and clothes designers as well as authors with their inventory of books and used book sellers. The best thing was the books for me. Being able to hold a book and flip through the pages is an irreplaceable feeling. Ebooks just don't do it for me.

But, in the used book stalls you will find the older authors like Frank Herbert, Frederick Pohl, Douglas Adams, William Gibson, Roger Zelazny, Jack L. Chalker, Jerry Pournelle, Harlan Ellison and more.

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