As writers we are told to have a thick skin, never respond to a negative review and hide our upset behind a cheery smile, a wave and a thank you very much. 99.9% of the time, that's relatively easy to do. After all, just as the saying goes... you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.
Having said that, however, that .1% of the time a few choice remarks can make you curl up into a ball with a large bar of chocolate for a good sob.
Self-publishing is a murky water to swim in. Let's face it, any Tom, Dick or Harry can write a book and upload it nowadays, so it's a cut throat business. Unfortunately, perhaps, for me, I write for the sheer joy of it as I know the majority of authors out there do but, like in any business, there are those that enter into it to make money. Doesn't always work, of course, but that's by the by.
The main problem with self-publishing is pricing the story. How much do you charge? When your story is released through a publisher, you have no say in the matter so the price is not something you worry about. The publisher sets it and that's that. Not so for self-publishing. That responsibility lies on your own shoulders. So what is a fair price?
Last Christmas, I released a short story through a well known publisher and they priced it at $2.99. To be honest, at the time I thought that was a little steep as the length of the short was below 4,000 words and I felt it wouldn't really sell. I was, however, pleasantly surprised that it did sell extremely well and all the reviews were positive and encouraging, with no mention of length or price ever mentioned.
However, this year I released another short story through my own company name, White Stiletto Press. The short was a fluffy little thing in time for the silly season and came in at 3,079 words, 899 words less than last year's story. I priced it at 99c and I inserted the basic reviews and information about myself that is in the back of every one of my books released through my publishers. I also thought it would be a nice opportunity for a few other authors to get in a bit of promo and so I added three covers and three blurbs at the end of the fic.
For this I was accused of being a rip off artist. Of having the nerve to charge 99c for a story that was less than 4,000 words and had advertising in it for other authors. I hasten to add that this was only by some readers - the majority took it for what it was - a cheap short read designed to fill you with the warm and fuzzies just before the silly season started. As I said, if you didn't like the story, that's a reader's opinion. But the thing I really object to is the assertion that I tried to rip anyone off.
I think the main problem with self-publishing is that most readers aren't actually aware of the cost involved when publishing your own stuff. So if anyone thought 99c was a rip off for a fluffy Christmas read, please continue on and I hope you'll change your mind.
Cost of producing 'Tis the Season...
1. Pictures for cover £ 26.00
2. Cover itself £ 75.00
3. Editor £ 50.00
4. Proofer £ 25.00
5. Formatter £ 15.47
TOTAL £191.47 which is $309.29 PRICE OF FIC 99c
So you can see that when I'm told I'm ripping someone off... I think 99c for a story that cost me over $300 to write is not that bad.