Friday, February 25, 2011

Professional Edition

elcome to by David Barron, Professional Edition. That might seem a bit ambitious, but allow me to explain: I am a bit ambitious. 'Professional' is the goal. It's not tied to how much money I'm making, unless by being unprofessional I am not making money. Rather, it is a measure of how hard I am working, how much I am learning and how I am crafting an attitude of success in my chosen career. Being professional is under my direct control. 'Money' is the dream. While it is my firm belief that working hard and doing the research will have a significant influence on how much money I make, I can't say for sure that money will follow. I can only put into action the best available plan and see what happens. Your money is not under my direct control.

So, what's this all about? Part of being a writer is knowing how you write best, and I find that I need an outlet for the random business, craft and mindset musings that pop into my head while I'm trying to write. As well, I've discovered that I brainstorm best when I'm performing for other people, so writing these articles will let me get a bunch of ideas down that I otherwise wouldn't have thought to write down. Then, these articles are for other writers. I get so many insights from reading writing sites, and not necessarily "writing advice" sites, but the personal sites of regular working writers (check out the links below for both). In short, I want to chronicle what works for me to increase that body of knowledge.

Fiction writers throw large piles of ideas at the wall and see what sticks, and we're well-served to look at as many walls as possible. What's going to be on my wall today?


I started electronic publishing (ePub) on Halloween 2010, so it's been about three months. Not expecting much, but let's get it out of the way. Note that I'm defining Earnings as money in my bank account and, for the purposes of these articles, only from Amazon because they're the most organised. I'm also on B&N PubIt (& Smashwords, Apple, Sony, Kobo, Diesel...) but I think Amazon KDP will be enough to give a representative sample of my total ePub earnings.

So here's the data that meets those criteria:
1 Nov'10: $0.43

Whoo! I'm rich! Breaking that down, that means I sold one short story in November, the first full month of my foray into ePub. This was with no real promotion except to whoever was reading my site in November and random Amazon searches. Taking that into consideration, I'm not too concerned. This is a classic nowhere-to-go-but-up scenario. Why so upbeat?

Shelf Space

By 'shelf space' I mean the total count of ePub titles available for sale, which includes individual Buck eChaps (one short story @ 0.99) and any collections. There more shelf space I have, the easier it is for somebody to find my work in random Amazon searches, and the easier it is for somebody to find something of mine that they like. Thus shelf space is the most important number, so let's look at my shelf space over time.

Shelf Space at the start of month #:
1 Nov'10 = 6
2 Dec'10 = 6
3 Jan'11 = 12
4 Feb'11 = 17
5 Mar'11 (projected) = 24+

In November, I only had 6 titles available, so I think I'm pretty damn lucky some random person found one of them in the Amazon sea. What does this tell me about the December numbers? They'll almost certainly be the same. My real interest is in what I'll see in January when 6 becomes 12, and then in March when 12 becomes 24. The question is what's the exponent of sales growth for a doubling of shelf space?

Predictions while we wait?

Just to make it interesting, if somebody manages to predict either January or March in the comments, I'll post a coupon code here and in the follow-up article for one of my series (guesser's choice). Go for the exponent or the actual dollar amount.

This version of Professional Edition will last until April 6, 2012, updating every Friday. Site design subject to change as I learn by doing. Like what you see? Spot something unprofessional? Feel free to comment!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The First 200 Days

Made it: 200 daily writing blog posts. If we assume an average of 300 words per post, that's 60,000 words. I have, essentially, written a book about Writing. 200 was also the goal I had in my head when I challenged myself to do this, and a fine challenge it was.

I've gone from being a man who had no idea how to make a living as a writer to somebody who has both a Six Month and a Five Year Plan.

I'm a Writer.

I am at the point where I no longer need to force myself to brainstorm about Writing every day, even though I could, because doing so would be actively distracting from the professional writing schedule I intend to keep. Moving forward, I'll update every Friday. Same time, same topics, but in article form. There might be some random posts sprinkled throughout the week for special announcements.

First 200 Days Lessons:
Writing is a REAL JOB. Writing is a Small Business.

Say "Writing Is My Only Hobby" but Try New Things

Turn Off The Internet & Don't Watch TV.

Have a Supportive Girlfriend. Get Some Friends.

Exercise and Eat Right.

Write Fast or Find Out Why You Aren't.

Don't Self-Censor. Don't Edit. Write The Next Thing Better.

Be Patient, but Take Risks.

Don't Panic.

Have Fun!

Also, listen to this well-timed Writing Excuses episode:
The Author's Responsibility To The Reader with Kevin J. Anderson.
Because it wouldn't be a proper send-off without me advancing a zany scheme, I am looking into starting a multi-author blog called "Heroes Have No Homes". If anybody is interested, shoot me a line. I'd start when we assembled at least five Creatives: writers, artists, musicians, cartoonists et al. Nothing fancy, just a Hub, and we'd see what develops from there.
See you on Friday!

First Post - August 7, 2010 

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Best of All Possible Worlds

I can feel it, I can taste it. I can touch it, I can smell it. It's in the distance, but I can see it coming closer. This light, this unearthly light, it suffuses the terrain of my mind.

It's a good life, if you don't weaken, and I think I've got it figured out for the moment.


By the way, I want to do this: Co-Writing in Google Docs (J.A.Konrath)


Zep Lenin


Story: ?
Story "Title"
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winds of Change

Three Business Things:

ONE Amazon
-I've released my first science fiction Volume: Deep Sleep and Other Stories. I managed to make a table of contents work ( least in Calibre) and everything! Sexy Geek Skillz. 

-Regarding Apple vs. Amazon (vs. B&N)? I feel that the more thingums there are selling my stuff, the better and let them figure it out amongst themselves. That's competition.  I'm even giving Book Hatchery a try...but thus far no real results. No hurry, no hurry.

-As soon as I have a decent pile of ebooks ready (~200), I'll make my own damn fancy website/webstore too and stock it with .pdf and .epub. Not really time-efficient to manage one right now.

TWO Collection Deluxe & Pricing
 I've been operating under the inventory items/price points of:
"1-story" = $0.99
"5-series" = $2.99 
"10-volume" = $4.99
and will continue to do so, but I've been pondering Print-On-Demand of late and have concocted two higher inventory item/price points of:
"20-collection" (ePub) = $7.99
"20-deluxe" (POD) = $14.99
and I think it'll work.

The idea is to put twenty stories together with super-pro cover art, pro interior art for each story, pro formatting both for ePub and POD, and as high quality a POD book as I can wrangle while still managing to make a profit at $14.99. I want it to be higher quality than the regular anthologies I buy. If you own "The Essential Ellison", you'll be able to visualize the level I'm shooting for.

It'd be a showcase for David's Writing, thus drawing more people into my ePub work.

THREE David's Sexy "Naughty Tentacles" Theory
Let's expound One and Two's heads together and smash forth my sexy theory of smallpub business. Let's take a look at some numbers, then I'll explain. (I'll use Kindle because that's where most of my sales have been. ~ for <$0.05 in delivery fees.)

Inventory/Price Point @ Rate = Royalty:
1-short $0.99 @ 35% = $0.35
(x5) $1.75 ; (x10) $3.50 ; (x20) $7.00
5-series $2.99 @ 70% = ~$2.09
10-volume $4.99 @ 70% = ~$3.49
20-collection $7.99 @ 70% = ~$5.59

Let's assume that my inventory is shaped like a Sexy Octopus. As you can see, 5-series is the best deal for everybody (cheaper for you but better royalty for me), making that the Mouth. 10-volume is the most convenient for everybody (book-length for you & same royalty as 10 individual stories for me), that's the Head. 20-collection is the coolest for everybody (great presentation for you and a solid chunk of change all at once for me), that's the Brain.

Which leaves 1-short. Those are the Naughty Tentacles, because I can do anything with them and the more I have the better. Their entire purpose is to draw folk into the Mouth, the most numerous of my packaged short stories. Not only do all these 1-shorts increase my market footprint and thus visibility, I can also do a variety of promotion types with a 1-short because I'd only be out $0.35 at the most, and I'd stand to gain $2.09 at the least. And I'll have at least 100 to play with in as many markets as care to host me. Maximum Flexibility and Profit.



If anybody feels like drawing a graph of that theory in the form of a sexy octopus, feel free.

Disclaimer: I might suck at business.
Disclaimer Disclaimer: But I don't suck at writing, so it'll work out upon contact with reality.

Story "Title"
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