Consumers vs Perceived Value

I found a link to an interesting article about customer reactions to perceived unfairness in ebook pricing. My good friend Mike McRae (@tribalscientist) left a pertinent comment in last week’s blog post about ebook pricing.

Dan Ariely discusses how customers reacted in a particular case of perceived unfair ebook pricing by rating the book ’1 star’ on Amazon.

If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a good insight into some of the economics of customer expectations: http://danariely.com/2011/04/10/the-rationality-of-one-star/

After last week’s range of comments on the subjects, I do think that large publishers have missed an opportunity to drive the pricing issue in a collaborative rather than antagonistic manner.

Writers are scary. Writing groups are groups of writers. via @katyhulme

Katy is a writer from Tasmania, Australia, and I recently stumbled onto her blog to discover this article. She tells us about her first trip to a writers group, and overcoming her fears.

I liked the tone of the post, and I can certainly sympathise with the ‘catastrophising’ she employs, imagining all the horrible and embarassing scenarios she might encounter on her visit.

You can find the article here: http://storytellingnomad.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/overcoming-a-fear-of-writers-groups/

Literarium will try to encourage writing groups through structured circles of private markets and services – you might have a competition that is only meaningful to your local writing group, or a private NaNoWriMo.

I think this article is a good start for anyone still nervous about hanging out with their peers.

Designing your ebook covers – via @DerekJCanyon

One of Literarium’s features is a directory of services, and cover artists are a perfect example of a service that is a high priority for modern self-publishing authors.

Derek Canyon wrote an interesting post about how he designs his ebook covers. Although he uses a professional artist, he still has to make compositional decisions about the various elements, title, author, etc. Derek makes some interesting points about his approach to trying to stand out in a crowded field, and I thought it was a worthwhile read.

Check it out at: http://derekjcanyon.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-i-design-my-ebook-covers.html

Derek regularly posts interesting information about his journey into self-publishing, so keep an eye on his blog or twitter feed.

Have you had any insights in designing your own covers?

What is an ebook actually worth to you? When the container has no value – via @Cacotopos

This post links to an article from my personal blog, where I also occasionally address issues relating to the publishing industry, coloured by my private perspective.

In Australia, ebooks have yet to gain the kind of traction that they have in America. Consequently, the market is still experimenting and adjusting itself; on the one hand we have publishers trying to force a model onto readers with which they’re happy; on the other hand we have readers looking at the exploding market in America and screaming blue murder at imposed regional limits.

Into this ebook culture I made a comment about local ebook pricing on twitter, which prompted a discussion with Virginia from booki.sh.

This eventually resulted in an extensive article on the value breakdown of digital books: http://cacotopos.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/when-the-container-has-no-value

I hope you find it interesting, as it certainly helped me feel more comfortable about my book evaluating process in general.

Some things you should know about characters – via @ChuckWendig

I stumbled on this post by Chuck Wendig via a twitter recommendation (that’s pretty much where I find all my industry-relevant news these days, to be honest).

It’s a great article of 25 things to know about characters. I’ve found characterisation one of my weakest points, which is painful because it’s characters more than scenes or events that we fall in love with as readers. I thought these tips were pretty much spot on, and although none of them may individually give you an a-ha! moment, the list as a whole is a worthwhile bookmark for the ‘writing’ folder in your browser. It won’t hurt to check it out once in a while to put your thoughts on characterisation back on the right track.

Read the article here: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/06/07/25-things-you-should-know-about-character/

PS: You will notice another two links to ’25 things about <interesting writing topic>’ at the top of Chuck’s article. As an extra-curricular exercise, do check them out, they are worth your time.

Some Short Story Tips – via @amanda_pillar

This is a recent article that Amanda Pillar, an Australian author and editor, posted last week.

Literarium’s tool set is focussed towards short fiction writers, mostly because compared to novelists they have a high submission rate and a lot of work flow to manage and track, so I thought this would be a nice bookmark to have.

Her quick list of Dos-and-Don’ts is a pretty good pocket guide for short fiction writers (and to be honest many of these things apply to writers across the board).

I’ll add my own two entries (because I can):

  • DO be polite and professional in your cover letter
  • DO NOT act like a 4yo when your submissions are inevitably rejected

Have a read of the article here: http://amandapillar.livejournal.com/163492.html

The Dreaded Blank Page – via @adampknave

Adam Knave writes a very relevant article about how he gets through a common dilemma: that accursed blank page.

He has two solutions here, and although he warns that they are personal solutions, they seem pretty workable to me. I know one of my top skills is procrastination – hey, I’m punching out commentary to interesting articles instead of writing, right?

http://www.adampknave.com/2011/06/06/that-old-blank-page/

Australian Authors on Twitter – a list instigated by @alanbaxter

On June 5, 2011, Mr Alan Baxter casually threw out a request on twitter for any Australian authors with twitter accounts. He’d conceived of this superficially brilliant notion without realising the consequences – Australia may be small, but there is a huge community of authors, and so he was quickly swamped with enthusiasm.

His post contains a good starting list, which he eventually migrated into a twitter list. I believe it’s being expanded through comments in his original post.

For anyone who uses twitter and who is interested in following this slowly expanding list of Australian authors, follow here: https://twitter.com/#!/AlanBaxter/aussie-authors-on-twitter/members

More on voice…but this time in your head – via @leahpetersen

A light hearted one here – we’ve been talking about voice, both a character’s and a writer’s voice. Leah Petersen (@leahpetersen) wrote a tongue-in-cheek article discussing how all writers are secretly schizophrenics, and it’s worth a read.

http://www.leahpetersen.com/2011/06/why-all-writers-are-secretly-or-not-so-much-schizophrenics/

More voice…The voices!

After yesterday’s post talking about online voice, today’s article is an older one by Veronica Roth, and relates to character voice.

Of several articles about this that I’ve read, this struck me as one of the more succinct and pointed. Veronica links to a few other relevant articles, and they are worth surfing to.

http://thegotya.blogspot.com/2010/08/i-hear-voices-well-actually-i-listen.html

This internet thing, hey? You could spend hours reading on it.