As an aside, before I get into the meat of this post, I wanted to bring up the following:
For Christmas, I was given the opportunity to pick up a copy of Scrivner. I have never used this program but I have read about it and heard a lot of my writer friends talking about how much they love it.
So far, I am still working through the tutorial, which is a bit daunting. I mean, there is a LOT to this program, and I am getting a bit intimidated about using this to write my stuff.
My goal is to find a central location to be able to do all my pre-writing stuff, all my organizing of my materials, notes, research, etc., as well as my writing and I think this might just be the thing but man, is it difficult to get into. I’m sure I’ll get rolling eventually, but I’m just not there yet.
Is there anyone out there with some suggestions, personal stories, pros/cons, cautionary tales, etc. to give me about this program? I’d really appreciate it!
Okay. So, the real stuff. 😉
I was totally stoked when the new Taylor Swift album, RED, came out. I loved all the singles that were being released and was super pumped to get the album when it was released on iTunes at midnight.
I had a few issues, however, that made it a less than awesome experience.
Since I had purchased the singles from iTunes, I was supposed to be able to buy the album using the “complete album” feature, where I would get credit for the songs that I had already bought.
Apparently, iTunes has “issues” with that feature, or at least were having issues with that feature from midnight to about 6:30am. The exact time hardcore fans would want to buy the album and complete it.
I wonder if it is really a coding issue, as they told me, or if it is a way to try to get the hardcore peeps to purchase the full album at full price, despite already buying five of the songs.
Anywho, I finally get the album, and I love it. There are like two songs that I’m not a huge fan of, and to be honest, it’s not Speak Now but RED is pretty great.
And then one day, I’m listening to Pandora and this Taylor Swift song comes on, one that I have NEVER heard before. I check my iPhone and I see that it’s from RED but it’s not one that I have.
Apparently, there was a disk that was released as a Target exclusive that contained a few demos, some acoustics, and three original songs not available anywhere else.
I was PISSED.
I’m sorry, I have to buy a physical CD that I will use ONCE to put the songs on my computer and then it will collect dust in my house? And I either have to physically go to a Target store (blargh!) or I have to order the CD online and WAIT.
Look, I get it. I’m spoiled. I LOVE the fact that I can purchase a book and have it on my kindle in less than 20 seconds. I love the fact that I can hear a song on the radio, Soundhound it with my phone, and purchase it on my iPhone before the song is even over. I’m spoiled, blah blah blah.
But think about it. We are all spoiled. Many of us have smart phones, most of us use e-mail, computers, etc. We are used to fast and convenient and we like it that way.
As writers, we want to not only create, but sell a product to a consumer. We want someone to buy our books, right? To do that, the barriers to entry have to be fairly low. A consumer will only jump through so many hoops before they determine that it’s one hoop too many and they throw up their hands and say forget it.
Now, Taylor Swift and her management is gambling that she has a big enough brand and a product that people are desperate enough for that they will be willing to jump through a lot of hoops to buy the extra disk at Target. And I’m sure they are hoping that those same fans will get instant gratification by purchasing the album on iTunes at midnight, or on amazon.com, and THEN coming to Target to get the bonus disk.
Maybe that’s a good bet. I would love to see the numbers on that.
(The worst part is that at least two of the bonus songs are, in my opinion, two of the best songs on the ENTIRE album, which is infuriating.)
Taylor Swift might be able to do this, but midlist authors and the newly published don’t have that luxury. Nora Roberts surely can do that- I’m sure if she had a book that was a Wal-Mart exclusive, it would STILL hit the New York Times Bestseller List- but WHY would she want to do that? Why would ANYONE want to limit where their product would be sold?
Granted, Taylor is only limiting where the SPECIAL EDITION is selling, but there is still an element to that album that you can’t get anywhere else.
MY POINT IS THIS- you cannot make the barrier to get your work this high.
Maybe, to someone who had to wait in line to buy a 45 of Elvis or the Beatles, this isn’t that big a deal. But to someone who DOES care about accessibility, ease of purchase, and the amount of trouble they have to go through to give you their money in the 21st century, you need to THINK and plan accordingly when making publishing decisions. And yeah, I think this counts for anyone getting published, whether it’s traditional publishing, e-pub, or self pub.
This is why self-publishing with amazon.com is, when looking at it from an easy access perspective, a great idea. Doesn’t take a lot of work, people only have to go to one site to get the item and pay for it, etc.
Amazon payment options are easy. You do it through their site and you can pay with credit, debit, or checking account. You don’t have to download special programs to read their books (unless you don’t already have a kindle, a kindle reader, or Calibre to convert to your format of choice).
If you are traditionally publishing or e-publishing, you should find out if your book will be offered through amazon.com. Many people shop there and there alone, because it is easy. Remember, easy = sales. If your traditional publisher is not offering your book there, find out why. This could affect your desire to publish with them.
If your e-publisher is not selling through them, find out why- this makes more sense to me, as e-pubs don’t like to give amazon.com a cut of their sales money when they have their own web based sales portal, but if people don’t know your book is out there because they ONLY shop on amazon.com, this could be a problem. Understanding your publisher’s position before you sign with them is the smartest path to take, so you can make the best decision for you.
When you look at your publishing choices, think about how your reader will GET your book. Can they buy it online? Can they buy an e-book version of it, and get it right away? Ellora’s Cave used to e-mail you your purchase as an attachment after your paid for it, but it could take a few days. I’m not sure how they do it now, as I haven’t purchased anything from them since. (See? How you distribute your books will affect your sales.)
This was a killer for me. I want my e-book NOW- that’s part of why I bought it as an e-book. If you are thinking of publishing with an e-pub, this is a question to ask- does the reader/purchaser get immediate access to the product they purchased? If not, then maybe this isn’t the place for you.
Let’s talk payment. How many screens does your reader/purchaser have to go through to give you their money? Does your e-publisher have its own payment screen/system? Do they default to PayPal? Do they offer a choice? Do they go through amazon.com? These are important questions to ask, because the less hoops, the more books you’ll sell. I want to get in there, buy the book, and be done with it. I don’t want a million pop-up windows or to have to go to a different site that I may or may not have heard of before to put in my sensitive payment info to buy your book. The fewer screens here, the better.
Just something to think about when you’re looking for that perfect publisher.
To round out this story, I have not yet gone to Target. Instead, I have been listening to the “special” songs on youtube, and hoping that I’ll get them to come up on Pandora.
In case you haven’t heard’em, have a listen:
(This next one is my personal favorite of the new stuf, just FYI.)