Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ROW80: Ridin' the Storm Out

The Storm has officially arrived. High School Football season is here in all its two-practice-a-day glory.  For the team I volunteer with, this means practice from 4-9pm (with dinner and a break in between practices).  Thus, I do the day job from 8-4 and then the football job from 4-9.  13 hour days are hell on the writing schedule.  Still, I'm being stubborn about my goals.  I think, with dedication, that I can still hit them.  I'll probably be erring on the short side for the next two weeks though until we get out of two-a-days.

Here's a quick look at the goals:
  • Publishing Lesson Learned - People are going to request signed copies.  I suppose I didn't expect it.  After all, I'm pretty much a nobody right now.  We've developed out policy on how to handle this after looking at what a few other authors do.  More on this in a bit. 
  • WIP Pages: 5 - Considering we traveled this weekend and The Storm hit, I'm okay with this number.  The word count was also closer to my six page average, which indicates some more prose-heavy sections that tend to take longer.
  • Blogging - This makes only 2 out of 3 for this site, though I went 3/3 on the other site (just barely).  I did get one fiction post on each site, so that's good.  Posting in general suffered due to travel.  I tend to post during breaks at work, and I had to take Friday and Monday off for other commitments.  Thus, my normal posting window shrank.  I knocked my monthly personal post out before The Storm hit, so not too bad here either.
Again, this represents a full week for me.  I have weekly goals, so I've been focused on checking in weekly.  The Sunday check in generally gets skipped by me because weekends are usually too busy.  Still, it is important to make sure to hit at least one per week for accountability, even if I'm busy.  Wednesdays have just been the better fit.

I'm only the tiniest hair short on my goals this week.  A lot can be attributed to the reunion we attended this weekend.  It was a two day thing, effectively sucking up all the time for those days with activities.  I did manage to write a little in the car, which is always fun.  More importantly, we capitalized on the yearly meeting to share the word about my book.  Thus, while the writing goals may have been missed, we sold several books this weekend to interested and enthusiastic family members.  The fun thing about this was that it wasn't like I had to really self-promote... family is generally interested in what you're doing anyway.  It pays to have a big, loud family sometimes.  Literally.  (Thank you to all of you that supported me!)

Which brings us back to the issue of signed copies and lessons learned.  Like I mentioned, I've been surprised by the enthusiasm for my work.  I haven't talked up my writing a whole lot with family.  I love answering questions, but I don't want to force a sales pitch on anyone.  Many of them were hugely supportive, and had experienced some of my writing before, whether it be through my personal blog or other avenues.  They see the sky in my future (here's hoping they're right), and want signed copies.  Awesome... but how?

We use a POD and they (CreateSpace) ship right to the customer.  Theoretically, we can "gift" people the book, should one of our less-electronically-inclined relatives desire a print copy.  We're still investigating that.  They give us the cash, then we'll likely just place the order and fill in the shipping info accordingly.  Easy peasy. 

The issue occurs when they want them signed.  You see, even if we're placing the order, the book never actually comes through us.  It is shipped direct.  There is nowhere in the process where I can sign it.  What we can do is have it shipped to us, and then re-ship it to the end customer.  Problem is, the best rate we can find to do this on our own works out to $10 a book with the USPS.  That's a hefty charge to shoulder.

For now, the solution is that we have to pass that cost along to our customer.  You want a signed copy?  Wonderful, it's just going to cost you $10 extra.  We're not making any sort of profit on it, and I'm fine with that.  Heck, I don't even like telling people it's $10 extra even when I can justify it.  I'm just grateful to have them buy a book in the first place.  I guess I feel like my signature should be free, especially to family and friends.  Still, business is business, and they understand this.  I've not had anyone balk at the cost yet. 

We still don't really have a solution for the folks that buy the e-book.  Can't really sign that.  If you want me to sharpie up your Nook/Kindle, I suppose I could accommodate.  For that, though, you're likely going to have to stop by.  I'm imagining some day having one of those huge crayon-like magic pens that you use at Target to sign the credit card screen.  Someone needs to make one that is cheap for authors and can interface with an ebook.  Gold mine, right there.  Someone board that. 

At least we've got a process figured out, though.  Until we discover a better way, that's what we'll be doing.  To finish, here's a look at the word counts:
  • Since last check-in: 5046
  • Fiction: 1917
  • 38% New Fiction
  • Grand Total for the challenge: 26,119
Keep ROW'in!


Gerhi Feuren said...

Not being able to sign a digital copy is a problem.

Here's an idea. Print a postcard with your book cover on and then sign the postcard.

I know it is not a book but it still a personal acknowledgment of a readers appreciation of your writing.

Matt said...

Yeah, we have ~100 business cards with tweaked version of the book cover. I've signed a couple of them for people, and it's nice. It does leave something to be desired though.

We wanted to do bookmarks, but those seemed a little hard to find in low dosages like we need.

Claudia Lefeve said...

I saw somewhere the other day a site called kindlegraph or something like that. I'm not sure how it works, but you can add your signature to an ebook.

Matt said...

Cool. I'll check it out. Thanks!

Nadja Notariani said...

I read a post about kindlegraph too...but now I can't remember where I saw it. But the whole idea was that you can 'sign' e-books.
~ Nadja

Sonia G Medeiros said...

Congrats on all you've accomplished! Good for you.

As for shipping...I used use USPS and ship with their media rate. It might take a little longer to get where it's going but it was always a good price. Don't know if they still offer that. The other option might be a flat rate priority envelope. I believe they're $3-4. If you wrap book well, it should do fine and priority is pretty fast.

Anonymous said...

If you order your own books,they cost considerably less than if someone else orders from Create Space. So if you order them in your own name, you get the author's price. Just order about five of them, then that should be enough for everyone that wants them. That author price should make up for the shipping costs. And Sonia's right. If you ship with the USPS media rate, it should be a lot cheaper than $10. Just a suggestion. :0)

Good luck with your goals this week!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your goals! Looks like you've gotten plenty far in your word count goals =) 26k is amazing! Good luck on finding a solution to that book-signing dilemma!

And you're maintaining two blogs? (Just started the challenge here...) Will have to check the other one out!

Matt said...

Wow... evening responses! Just got back from football practice...

The issue with the envelopes recommend a half-pound or less, and we think our book weighs more than that. You do risk a little wear and tear with the envelopes, but I've heard good things. We just may do that.

I'm not familiar with the "media rate." Do you just like ask for it?

We are definitely making up the cost by buying author copies from CreateSpace, which is nice, but you'd still like to make a profit on the book sale right? I mean, I don't think I'm gouging people, but I do value the work we've put into it. We save just about $10 from an author copy and would (as it stands now) lose all of that via shipping. What is the appropriate profit margin for a print book when you've done all the work?

Kindlegraph looks great. Thanks everyone for the recommendation! I'll have to check out getting set up on that sometime soon.

Thanks again for all the support! Who doesn't love comments, right?

For arilaan - My other blog is focused on World of Warcraft (the MMORPG). It is at I write game-related fiction on there every Friday and otherwise just write. I have a solid readership over there and the community is great.

Anonymous said...

Football practice after the day job?!?! Holy smokes, I thought I was busy!

Media rate--yeah, just plunk the box on the counter and say Media Rate. Way cheaper for books/dvds.

I can't speak to the price dilemma. I agree there should be some profit for intellectual endeavor--I just haven't written anything I could ask people to pay for! :P


Matt said...

Yeah, it's been rough. Posting is the first to suffer, but I've been able to squeeze short things in here and there.

We'll definitely have to do this media rate.

Thanks for the feedback!

Matt said...

For the record... w/media rate and an envelope, we got the shipping down to $4. Thanks for the tips!!

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