Tag Archives: fantasy

Audience Expectations: The Danger of Trying To Be All Things To All People

Audience Expectations

Last week I saw Brandon Sanderson was releasing a new book. Excited, I rushed off to find out when I could buy book 2 in The Stormlight Archive only to find Steelheart is the first book in a new dystopian series. 

What the…?

After some discussion with some folks, I learned that Brandon Sanderson apparently advocates writing multiple series at once in case some people don’t like one series or the other.

Hmmmm…..

I see what he’s getting at, but I think it’s playing with fire. Readers already wait a long time for sequels in the fantasy market, and I was under the impression that his readers were already chomping at the bit because of how much of his time had been consumed by finishing The Wheel of Time. If you make them wait longer, by dividing your attention between series, you may frustrate them to the point of losing them.

I think this also applies to cross-genre writers. If you’re playing in two genres, readers won’t necessarily follow you. Sanderson can get away with epic fantasy and dystopian sci-fi, I think, because both are inside the speculative fiction genre. Hard SF, and erotic romance (separately, I don’t mean genre mash-ups or crossing genres), might be a tougher sell….

Anyway, I was mollified by the knowledge that the second Stormlight book is to be released soon, but still, I think it’s a dangerous course.

After this experience, I started listening to Keith Urban’s latest album, Fuse, and I am not happy (I know, jump to country music, but bear with me). Where’s the country at? I began to suspect the name Fuse was a reference to genre crossing, and it turns out I was half-right. Fuse is a move away from traditional country. Urban says he wasn’t trying to create a pop album, only to “capture a sonic energy” he hadn’t captured on other records, but the result is something that sounds more pop to me than country. For someone who just loves that country sound, this is disappointing.

Urban says “If I were a new artist, I don’t think I could have done this.” I would argue the opposite. If he were a new artist, no one

would yet have any expectations, and he could create whatever sound he wanted, and attract the fans who like that sound. With an existing fan base, you risk alienating them. How many of his other fans feel the same way? I don’t know, but it strikes me as risky.

The lesson?

Think about the expectations of your fans. I’m not saying you can’t branch out and experiment, but consider if it might lose you fans. And if you might, consider why you are doing it, and if it’s a good enough reason. Don’t just expect that readers will stay loyal to you if you try something new. Look what happened to JK Rowling with The Casual Vacancy – it’s now on the list of most unfinished books because so many readers started it and then stopped because it wasn’t what they expected from the author of Harry Potter.

In another word – branding. You create a brand, and fans are loyal to your brand, not you. Think about whether something fits within your brand, could damage your brand, or needs a new brand.

How do you feel as a reader if your favourite authors switch between series or genres? How do you feel when your expectations aren’t met?

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What Would You Pay For A Book? What Do You Charge For A Book?

Book prices


I’ve always had views about book pricing. I won’t buy a book priced at $0.99, because if that’s all it’s actually worth, then it’s not worth my time. The exception is a book on sale at $0.99 – in principle, anyway, because I still don’t think I’ve ever bought in that case either. 

$2.99 is another favourite price point because that gets the writer the 70% royalty offered by Amazon, but still, it’s an awfully cheap price for the amount of effort that actually goes into a book. 
I’ve long believed that selling books too cheaply results in them being undervalued by readers. There is anecdotal evidence than readers don’t value free books – many people collect free books and never read them, probably because something they’ve paid for always takes priority. There’s been no real expenditure of effort for a free book, so it can wait.

My opinion was somewhat vindicated when I saw some people questioning why a medical text was being offered for the price of $99 – I suspect they were spoiled by cheap ebook prices on Amazon, as well as having no clue about intellectual property.

I have been harbouring the hope that eventually readers would cotton on to the fact that you get what you pay for, and start avoiding $0.99 books as assiduously as I do in favour of something priced a little higher and hopefully of a better quality.

Then I read this article, by Dean Wesley Smith – http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=7891

The author has strong opinions about pricing, and even offers a suggested pricing structure. He’s been around the traps a bit, having published over a hundred novels in thirty years and hundreds and hundreds of short stories across many genres. He wrote a couple dozen Star Trek novels, the only two original Men in Black novels, Spider-Man and X-Men novels, plus novels set in gaming and television worlds. He also co-wrote the novel for the NBC miniseries The Tenth Kingdom, and wrote novelisations of a dozen films, from The Final Fantasy to Steel to Rundown.

The article is worth reading, but if you don’t have the time, this is his suggested pricing structure in a nutshell:
 
— Novels

  • Front list, meaning brand new. Over 50,000 words. $7.99
  • Shorter front list novels, meaning 30,000 to 50,000 words. $6.96
  • Backlist novels, meaning already published by a traditional publisher. $6.99

— Short Books

  • Short books, meaning stories from 8,000 words to 30,000 words. $3.99

— Short Stories

  • Short stories … 4,000 to 8,000 words. $2.99
  • Short stories under 4,000 double with another bonus story… $2.99

— Collections

  • 5 stories $4.99
  • 10 stories $7.99

I like his prices. I’d pay them, as a reader, but then I’m coming from the perspective of an Australian reader, conditioned to pay $22 for a trade paperback , so these prices are still cheap as chips. Hell, $9.99 is cheap as chips.

There is a sweet spot for pricing, but that doesn’t mean
everything should be priced there – for example, a
short story priced at $9.99 probably wouldn’t sell much.
Your prices need to match what you’re selling!
I think these prices are fair, but I’m not convinced that many readers, still spoiled by abysmally low book prices, will yet pay them – although I still hope that in the future they will.

I’ve just released my novella, Confronting the Demon, which I had originally planned to price at $1.99. This article suggests $3.99. I compromised at $2.99, and decided to see what happened, and use this as a guideline to pricing future books. It’s still early days as yet, but I’m getting upwards of 15 clickthroughs to the Amazon store each day, but usually no sales from that. I’m getting people to the book page, but they aren’t buying. Is it the price? Or something else?

So tell me what you think:
  • Would you pay the suggested prices? If not, why not?
  • Would you pay $2.99 for a novella including a bonus short story (totalling 30,000 words)?
  • What do you think is a fair price for ebooks?
  • How do you price your ebooks?
I’ll be signing copies of Confronting the Demon at the IndieVengeance Day Book Signing in Dallas, Saturday, October 12, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (CDT). Register here – http://www.indievengeanceday.eventbrite.com/.

Blurb – Confronting the Demon

The gates to hell are thrown wide when Alloran is betrayed by his best friend, Ladanyon, and framed for forbidden magic. He is hunted by the guards and the wizards both, tormented by the gruesome murder of his friends and loved ones, and crippled by fear for the living. Now Alloran must face his demons, or damn the woman he loves.

A Magical Melody

When a lethal spell is stolen from a locked and warded room, Avram must hunt down the thief before the song of power buries a city of innocents beneath a thousand tons of ice.
Links to Buy Confronting the Demon – How would you like to read?

Trade Paperback


On my Kindle


On my computer



Coming soon on Nook, Kobo, and Apple devices.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might as well join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign up for the newsletter. 
 
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IndieVengeance Day – October 12



I use Grammarly for online proofreading because it’s unwise to tell your husband you’re doing pirates while he’s away on business… Uh, I mean pilates. Damn typos.  

My epic/high fantasy novella, Confronting the Demon, has just been released on Kindle (other eBook formats coming soon) and paperback. If you like fantasy in the style of Jacqueline Carey (author of Kushiel’s Dart) or Brent Weeks (author of The Night Angel Trilogy), check it out here. The book has so far garnered eight 5 star reviews and three 4 star reviews. I’m pretty sure I don’t even know most of the reviewers!

I’ll be signing copies of the book at the IndieVengeance Day book signing in Dallas, Texas, so come by and say hi. Bring your own book, or buy one on the day. If you’re not into my genre (no hard feelings, promise – but you might want to watch your back) there will be plenty of other authors there from many genres.

Event Details 

More than a dozen bestselling indie authors from around the globe (seriously!) will gather in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, October 12, for a once-in-a-lifetime signing and meet-the-author event.

Come join authors from the U.S, Canada and Australia and meet some of the most notable and recognized writers in the indie author movement.

Slated authors include: 

USA 

Susie Clevenger, Texas – Dirt Road Dreams 
Justin Bog, Oregon – Sandcastle and Other Stories 
Ben Ditmars, Ohio – Night Poems 
M.E. Franco, California – Where Will You Run? (Dion) 
Lynn Hallbrooks, Texas – Call Sign:Wrecking Crew (Storm Warning) 
Tracy James Jones, Texas – Secrets &Lies 
James Peercy, Texas – Without a Conscious 
Charity Parkerson, Tennessee – The Sexy& The Undead (Sexy Witches) (Volume 1) 

Australia

Ciara Ballintyne, Sydney – Confronting the Demon 
Dionne Lister, Sydney – Shadows of the Realm (The Circle of Talia) 

Canada

Julie Frayn – Suicide City, A Love Story 

Other attendees include Melissa Zaroski, Tyler Hunt and Sreya Bremtin.

Names unfamiliar? Not for long. This is a serious collection of talent, not just award-winning, bestselling authors, but the cornerstone of the indie author movement. Don’t miss your chance to meet tomorrow’s biggest names. They’ll only be here once.

This is a free signing, but authors will have their books for sale. Cash only, please.

The signing will be at:

Half-Price Books
5803 East Northwest Highway
Dallas, TX 75231

on Saturday, October 12, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (CDT).


This post sponsored by Grammarly

CONFRONTING THE DEMON ~ Advance Review EBOOKS by @CiaraBallintyne #HighFantasy #FREEBIE

Available for a limited time
FREE Advance Review ebooks (Review Copies only)


CONFRONTING THE DEMON
by Ciara Ballintyne

Date of Publication – 1 October 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0-9923466-0-7 (print)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9923466-1-4 (ebook)
  
Genre:  High Fantasy (Adult)
Add it to your Goodreads TBR here.

Blurb

The gates to hell are thrown wide when Alloran is betrayed by his best friend, Ladanyon, and framed for forbidden magic. He is hunted by the guards and the wizards both, tormented by the gruesome murder of his friends and loved ones, and crippled by fear for the living. Now Alloran must face his demons, or damn the woman he loves.

Including bonus short story A Magical Melody

When a lethal spell is stolen from a locked and warded room, Avram must hunt down the thief before the song of power buries a city of innocents beneath a thousand tons of ice.


IndieVengeance Day

Confronting the Demon is due to be released 1 October 2013, and I’ll be signing copies at the IndieVengeance Day Book Signing in Dallas, Saturday, October 12, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (CDT). 

Register for free here if you’re interested to come along – http://www.indievengeanceday.eventbrite.com/


ALL REVIEWERS PLEASE COMPLETE THE FORM BELOW

Confronting the Demon Cover Reveal

Confronting the Demon Cover Reveal


Watching a cover take shape is, I’ve discovered, an amazing process. If you have a good artist, you’ll likely get updates at each step of the process. For a while there, my artist was sending me a daily updates and checking my email first thing in the morning became the high point of my day

I received updates at the outline stage, as the first character was added, then the second, then the background, and so on, until the artwork was completed. Watching the character come to life was a completely amazing experience. I never have characters’ faces so firmly envisioned that I could possibly draw them myself (although I did once do a double-take at a guy I passed in the street, because he could have stepped right out of my novel Deathhawk’s Betrayal) but I found I could look at the artist’s rendition and go ‘Hey, that’s Alloran’.

Although admittedly that wasn’t my absolute first thought when I saw him….

So here it is – the cover art for Confronting the Demon, my 25,000 word novella, showing Alloran and Gisayne.

Many thanks go out to my artist, Nadica Boskovska. Check out more of her work at http://theswanmaiden.deviantart.com/gallery/
 
Blurb – Confronting the Demon

The gates to hell are thrown wide when Alloran is betrayed by his best friend, Ladanyon, and framed for forbidden magic. He is hunted by the guards and the wizards both, tormented by the gruesome murder of his friends and loved ones, and crippled by fear for the living. Now Alloran must face his demons, or damn the woman he loves.

The novella also includes a free bonus short story, A Magical Melody, which was previously featured in the ebook anthology, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic.

When a lethal spell is stolen from a locked and warded room, Avram must hunt down the thief before the song of power buries a city of innocents beneath a thousand tons of ice.

Confronting the Demonis due to be released mid- to late-September, and I’ll be signing copies at the IndieVengeance Day Book Signing in Dallas, Saturday October 12, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (CDT). Register for free here if you’re interested to come along – http://www.indievengeanceday.eventbrite.com/.