Grey Wet November blog

It's a biliously grey November day, rain falling softly all morning (tolerable) and then working itself up to an undramatically dreary all-afternoon downpour - yellowish-grey sky with no hope on the horizon. It was during weather like this that I began work, many years ago, on TO SUMMON A SPIRIT - wading past soggy leaves drained of their Autumn colours, and watching the kids from the nearby secondary school waiting, in a damp and morose huddle, outside the newsagent's shop to buy their after-school treats (only one customer at a time please...)

As in Pauline Fisk's recent fascinating blog on AuthorsElectric about her Young Adult novel 'TELLING THE SEA', weather and the landscape are great incubators of stories. Pauline's comments on re-publishing her previously published and well-reviewed novel were interesting, too, because we writers never really let go of our work - we're always polishing and improving, even after we're 'out there', which is why many of our 'out-of-print and re-published as ebooks' editions are often much better than their originals.

This brings me to the complex subject of pricing, which, unexpectedly, came up in a review of an ebook I read about on another site, in which the reader, having praised the book itself, then mentioned that the quality of the writing didn't correspond to the low pricing, which seemed to indicate low quality for this particular person. I, too, am concerned that my books, previously published at reasonable prices, are now on sale for... well, I think the cheapest of mine must be GEMMA AND THE BEETLE PEOPLE, which is 99p as an ebook (when it was first published, the paperback cost £3.99, and the hardback, £4.99).

And on the subject of Amazon Kindle and its exciting expansion into India and Japan, it seems to me that whole populations  must, in recent months, have vanished, since, even with eleven books on Kindle, and an impressive track record, I have not had a single sale in any of them since early September. We - husband/partner David and myself - are now looking more closely at Kobo, Smashwords et al. A brief mention regarding David. He was recently in hospital for serious vascular surgery - scary stuff. Both the surgery and nursing were superb, but internal and external communications were dire, almost to the point of mental cruelty. Why can't the NHS get these little - and inexpensive - things right? Because they do matter so much.

So back to electronic publishing, and a rumour has it that books for younger children don't sell very well, but that Young Adult and cross-over books do. I was planning to re-publish KACHUNKA as my next ebook (Mrs Kachunka - the cosmic dinner lady with a name like a sneeze), but I'm now considering doing THE GAME (Y/A) instead.

 THE GAME has a curious history. The plot grew out of an incident in which I was looking for shoes for my daughter, and the shop was playing background radio like Musak - news stories, mostly nasty, personal tragedies etc played as a background to shopping - and I found myself wondering what effect this might have on people's basic sensitivity. The novel was one of Wendy Boase's favourites, but it didn't do well commercially, and finally vanished, except from the shelves of those secondhand book dealers who sell at very strange prices.

Finally to what is now beginning to be called 'traditional publishing'... yes, I am still being 'traditionally' published, with my first two picture books coming out next year. While David was in hospital, I was sent the roughs for one of them, which cheered me immensely. The illustrator is Brazilian, and he's really gone to town on this very funny little story. I'd love to share the images with you, but I shouldn't, so I won't.


madwippitt said…
Pricing is a tough one, isn't it? On the one hand, you feel it should reflect the sweat and toil that has gone into it, and hopefully the quality of the work itself - underpricing can equate to cheap and inferior. Yet at the same time, when it's a children's book, my personal urge is to keep it at under a quid to make it affordable. But then, if a child (or the parents) can afford a Kindle, maybe they can afford to pay more than a quid? Yes, difficult!
I've just finished reading My Mother's Daughter, incidentally, and enjoyed it hugely - it's been waiting patiently on my Kindle for ages until I had time to read it!
Lynne Garner said…
Pricing has been one of the hardest things to get right and I'm still not convinced I have. The issue of low pricing equals low quality (in peoples minds) does have to be considered. However people don't seem willing to pay higher prices.
Enid Richemont said…
madwippitt - I'm delighted you enjoyed MY MOTHER'S DAUGHTER. It was a book I felt passionate about when I was writing it, and it grew out of a combination of my own Welsh childhood, and my daughter's sometimes agonising searching for the meaning of her life (and yes, she's long since found it, through professional involvement with theatre, and working with a guy she loves - and having three amazing kids!)

The pricing of ebooks remains a problem, and it would be interesting to share opinions on this one. Making books cheap can imply desperation - a 'look at me, I'm a published author' sort of thing. And 'price', to many people, tends to equal 'value'. On the other hand, there are those who think everything online should be available free. It's a difficult one.

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