Still Waiting on my Books

It seems that I’m the only person who doesn’t have a physical copy of ‘Lament for the Living’, and with only three days to the estimated delivery date of the box of books I ordered it feels like it’s never going to happen.

When I ordered the proof copy, which is now in the hands of someone who truly deserves it, it arrived about five days short of the estimate.  I was very pleased.

As the delivery date edges closer and closer I have some nightmare scenarios flying around, mainly involving UK Customs & Excise.

These range from them drilling a hole through every book because they think they’re being used to smuggle drugs, to slapping a massive amount of import duty on them because….. they can.

These scenarios are caused by one issue alone: the UK is shit for entrepeneurial endeavours.  Services are expensive and service providers think we’re all ignorant dolts who enjoy paying money for old rope.  And any time someone says “But why is service X 50-75% more in the UK than the US?”  The answer can pretty much be guaranteed to be: “Well, it costs more to do business in the UK.”

Now that may, or may not be true.  But that doesn’t explain why even if the cost of doing business is more expensive the range of services is still lacking, and the level of customer service frankly appalling.

I’d love to buy British, but it’s not possible.  PoD services operating from the UK charge so much for copies that I’d either need to charge about £30 per book, or move my family and furniture out of the house to accommodate the boxes of copies that I’d need to buy to make them affordable (and then not have the retail network to shift them).

And when I do buy British I find the service slow, and the customer service incredibly dire (and then I won’t use those companies again).  Now this simple post about waiting for my books has become a sort of British business rant so I suppose I had better qualify my statements about British Business, especially customer service.

I’ve worked for nearly twenty years in customer facing and customer service roles.  I’ve worked for some of the best companies in Britain, a handful of the worst, and some that tried their best, but didn’t quite understand the nature of customer service.

And the thing that most companies fail to realise is that giving excellent customer service doesn’t cost anything.

Anyway, where are my books?

And while we’re at it – BUY MY BOOKS: http://www.tbfmedia.com/bibliography

Have a nice day, and y’all come back now real soon.

Don’t Undervalue Your Work!

Don’t undervalue your work!  That’s right, there’s even an exclamation mark to show that I’m serious, and maybe on the verge of shouting.  Where has this come from?

A group that I’m a member of on LinkedIn had a post from someone saying that they’ve “caved in” and are putting their books on for $0.99.  I won’t be following suit.  My short stories are currently $1.25 and (sorry to mix currencies here) but ‘Lament for the Living‘ is going to be £2.99 (about $4.50).

Why?  Why price my work so high?  I hear you cry.  I’m not.

You may even have spluttered some of your coffee over your laptop or iPad.  How much was that coffee?  If you’re reading this while sitting in a coffee shop then I’d imagine that it was at least a couple of bucks, what about that muffin (yeah, I can see you, Jellybelly)?

Let’s say you paid $5 for your coffee and muffin (maybe more, I don’t know, I don’t go to coffee shops).  Why did you pay that?  Probably because you like it, and you know the quality of the goods.  Good answer?  Now let’s look at why it cost you $5.  Do you think it cost the coffee shop $5 to serve you?  Of course not, but as a business they have to make a profit.  Depending on how busy they are, the unit cost to the business is probably somewhere around $1.50.  That’s $3.50 taxable profit (unless you’re Starbucks, in which case it’s $3.50 profit in the UK).

Now let’s look at the ebook.  Traditionally published authors charge anywhere from $7 – $17 for the ebook version of their work (sometimes even more).  They justify the costs (like every other business) by citing the cost of overheads – the author royalties, editor costs, agent costs, artwork, formatting, design, and advertising.

Do you think an indie, or self pubbed, author does not accrue those same costs?  Maybe scrub out the agent cut for many.  But every other business expense applies, and I, for one, treat my writing as a business.  Sure, I write for pleasure, but it’s still a business (everyone would jump at the chance to make a living doing something they love).  When I make a sale, the taxman is going to want his cut (unfortunately I’m not in a position to enjoy the tax avoiding schemes of the rich and powerful).  Before that there’s the time I’ve spent planning and writing the book.  Then the cover design, the editing, the formatting, the advertising. Should I not bother factoring any of that in because I’m not traditionally published?

It seems there’s an expectation for indie authors to essentially give their work away, until they become “known” or blag a contract.  I’m not giving my work away (well, I will, but you’ll need to like a page, or do a review for a free copy).  I’ll do sales and giveaways, but I won’t bargain bucket my work.  As the series continues, book one will probably go to $0.99 or even free, until then it’ll be priced appropriately.

What do you think about ebook pricing (especially relating to indie authors)?

Don’t forget, ‘Lament for the Living’ is out on May 10th – get a sneak peek at the first chapter for FREE!
LamentForTheLivingpreview

Currently it’s .prc (DRM free for Kindle) or .pdf only.
Kindle/.prc – Download Here
PDF – Download Here

Download, read, enjoy. Let me know what you think.

While you’re waiting for ‘Lament for the Living’ to be released the following titles are also available:
Hannibal House by David Nicol   The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol
For more information and purchasing links please visit:
www.tbfmedia.com/bibliography