Friday, February 24, 2012

Emotionless Pricing


Please welcome author Karen Baney for today's post.


Pricing for indie authors shouldn’t be an emotional task.  Yet, for many of us it is.

Is my price too high?  Is it too low?  Should I bump it up because I’m getting a bunch of sales right now?  Should I lower it because I haven’t moved a book in weeks?  These are the questions that keep us up at night.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could take the worry and stress out of pricing?

The good news is:  You can.

My Philosophy on Pricing

Pick a price and ride the wave.  In a nutshell, that’s my philosophy on pricing. 

But, there’s more to it than that.  In an article called Pricing Strategy, I give some methodical approaches on how to determine a price and what factors play into pricing.

But, today I want to look at another aspect: How often should you change the price of your book?  Just because you can change price whenever you want, doesn’t mean that you should.  Avoid the temptation to make frequent price changes.

Starting Out Low

If you are a new author and you are trying to get your name out there, it makes perfect sense to start with a lower promotional price.  But, train your brain to think of it as exactly that:  a promotional price.

The reality is that many authors start out with a low price and they just keep it there, afraid to upset the apple cart and lose sales.  If I move from $0.99 to $2.99, I’m scared that I won’t sell any more books.

Selling Less Can Make You More

While you could sell fewer books at a higher price, you have to ask yourself:  Is that really a bad thing?  Consider this:

If you sell 100 books at $0.99 at 35% royalties, your total royalties = $31.50.

If you sell only 25 books at $2.99 at 70% royalties, your total royalties = $50.75.

If you sell only 25 books at $5.99 at 70% royalties, your total royalties = $103.25.

Is this making sense?  Do you see how you can make more money by selling fewer books?  What if we add an extra zero onto the equation?

1000 at $0.99 at 35% royalty = $315.00

250 at $2.99 at 70% royalty = $507.50

250 at $5.99 at 70% royalty = $1,032.50

Now we’re talking.  I could certainly use another grand.  How about you?

Let’s think even bigger for a second.  What would happen if you signed up for KDP Select.  Then you had a few free days.  Following those free days you hit your marketing outlets (blog, social media, whatever) with lots of activity to keep the momentum going.  What if you priced your book at $5.99 and actually sold 1,000 copies?

Can you say:  $4,130.00 royalty check?  I can.

Tying It All Together

See, when we focus so much on the number of books sold versus the number and price combination, we can make emotional decisions.  We can decide to drop our price to $0.99 to move more books so we can feel better.  Or, we think we’re on an upswing, so we lower the price so we can sell even more.  What really happens is that we end up leaving money on the table because of fear or a lack of self confidence.

Indie authors:  Be bold.  Take a look at the big picture.  Avoid making emotional decisions about pricing.  Consider how both price and number of books sold can play together to help you achieve your financial goals with your writing career.

Self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  For more information about Karen’s books, visit her Amazon Page and for more great articles by Karen, visit her blog at Everything Author.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Other Side of Abuse

Today, please welcome Rita A. Schulte as guest blogger for Tackling Tough Topics. 


Mark sat in my office looking broken and defeated. The life was gone from his eyes--- he was drowning and needed help. He spoke slowly, recalling the events of his childhood living with an angry and abusive mother. When he was a kid, she would pull his hair out when she’d become angry and frustrated with him. Once, she made him stand outside all day with a broken collar bone because he had gotten hurt doing something she told him not to do. He said she had erratic mood swings; sometimes she could be loving; other times she would explode. Mark grew up walking on eggshells, leaving him constantly fearful and anxious. He formed a belief system about self, God and the world around him that would impact his entire life trajectory, and keep him locked into the cycle of abuse.

Mark was fifty years old, but he was still a little boy locked in a man’s body--- and still the victim of abuse. The next time he came to see me it was apparent that his struggle with abuse didn’t end with his mother. This time the perpetrator was his wife. He had been screamed at, choked, punched, and degraded. As he told his story I was shocked and saddened.

What is Domestic Violence against Men?

Mark’s story is more common than you think. The problem is, because violence against women has received more recognition throughout the years, and because men don’t like to report abuse, it’s been hard to get exposure on violence against men. The very idea that men could be the victims of domestic violence is unthinkable to many.

Abuse creates fear. That’s why so many people who have been the recipients of toxic anger develop anxiety and depressive disorders---just like Mark. Fear also distorts our perspective of ourselves. It tells us that we’re weak and inadequate.

After a careful analysis of Mark’s beliefs, it became clear that he believed a host of lies about himself, initially planted by his mom, and then carried to fruition by his wife.

Abuse can be emotional or physical. In most cases, men are more affected by verbal abuse, but in all cases the goal of abuse is to gain and maintain control over the victim. Psychological abuse falls into the several categories listed below.

Emotional Abuse includes:

• Humiliating the victim
• Isolating the victim from friends and family
• Undermining the person’s sense of self-worth
• Threatening the victim with harm
• Forceful efforts to isolate the victim
• Constant criticism, degradation or name-calling

Verbal Abuse includes:

• Using language to degrade or humiliate
• Blaming, ridiculing, harassing
• Showing disrespect, or attempting to falsely accuse

Economic Abuse includes:

• Punishing the victim by restricting access to money
• Preventing the victim from acquiring funds
• Limiting resources for the victim
• Closely monitor the victims spending

Physical abuse includes:

• Hitting, punching, choking
• Spitting, pushing, slapping
• Pinching, pulling hair
• Throwing objects
• Being sexually assaulted

Victims of abuse generally exhibit a break down in their ability to cope. They often suffer from guilt, shame, anxiety, depression, and display feelings of inadequacy. If abuse persists for lengthy periods of time, physical symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome, post- traumatic stress disorder, arthritis, panic disorder and depression can arise.

Why Do They Stay?

For those of us who watch the victims of abuse from the sidelines, the big question is--why don’t they just leave? The answer is complex, but here a few reasons:

• Emotional dependency
• Financial dependency
• Abandonment issues
• Believing no one else would want them
• Protecting their children
• Feeling guilty

For Mark, his belief system told him that he was weak. He believed he was a failure, and not good enough for anyone to love him. That was part of the reason he stayed. Mark also felt emasculated--this led to a deep sense of personal inadequacy which hindered him from stepping out and taking risks. Because our actions always follow our beliefs, we’re doomed to stay stuck in the cycle unless we begin the process of changing or modifying those false beliefs about our own self-worth.

If you or someone you love is being abused, you will notice a consistent pattern emerge in the relationship. Look for the following:

• Tension building phase--fear of outbursts cause the victim to please and placate
• Explosive episode--violent outbursts or abusive episodes
• Honeymoon phase--remorse and apology by the perpetrator

Mark worked hard in therapy to overcome his personal issues. Together we uncovered the lies that were keeping him stuck, replacing them with the truth of who he was in Christ. He learned to reframe his thinking and deal with his anxiety.

It took a while, but Mark finally left his wife. Today, he walks free.



Rita A. Schulte is a licensed counselor, author and host of Heartline Podcast and Consider This, currently airing on 90.5 FM in NC and 90.9 FM in Lynchburg, Va. Heartline will be launching on the Internet on Christian Life Radio in the next month. Visit Rita's website, and follow her on Facebook  and Twitter at Heartlinepod.

Monday, February 20, 2012

And the winner is ...

Last week, Deborah Malone dropped by to share with us her new book, Death in Dahlonega. We held a contest, asking for your favorite small town.

The winner, determined my a random number generator, is:

Carmen7351

Congratulations, Carmen! Watch your inbox for an e-mail from me.

Deborah, thanks for dropping by and for giving away a copy of your book to one of our readers. This contest was great fun - I'm just ready to go experience all the towns mentioned!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Love Letters from the Heart Free on Kindle

Love Letters from the Heart is free on Kindle today and tomorrow (2/12 and 2/13).

Here's the back cover blurb:

Friends, family, perhaps even strangers, have messages within their hearts they want to share with you, but never found the right time or the right place to speak them. Here, within these pages, you'll find messages of hope, forgiveness, direction, and even prayers – written from caring, loving hearts directly to you and for you.

Know this – you are not forgotten or abandoned. You are not alone. You are loved – more than you can possibly imagine.

Who could love any of us that much? Turn the pages – we hope you'll soon discover the answer.


And here's the video for Love Letters from the Heart:


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Meet "Death in Dahlonega" author Deborah Malone

Recently, I met author Deborah Malone and was thrilled to learn about her new mystery, Death in Dahlonega. When we discussed ways to share about her book, I asked her to answer a couple of fun questions to help readers get to know her better. She's also giving away a copy of the book, so be sure to check the details below to enter!


Deborah, thank you for joining us today!

If you had a dinner party and could invite seven people - past, present, future - real or fictional - who would you invite and why, and what would you serve?

This is a hard question. I'd like to invite Jesus, but I would probably be like Martha and worry about everything being just right. Then I guess I'd like to invite Anne George who is a cozy mystery writer who had a lot of influence on the way I write. I'd love to see my parents and grandmother again so that brings the total to five leaving two more. I should probably say a president or something, but I'd love to meet the writers of Psych or Monk. 

If money and time were no object, where would you spend one month of your time, and what would you do during that month?

I have fibromyalgia so it limits what I can do. So while we are pretending I'm going to say that I don't have fibro and I can do what I want physically. With that being said I've always wanted to go on a mission trip - I've thought about the Smiles Mission Trip.  Then for fun I'd like to go to Hawaii and take pictures!

About Death in Dahlonega:

Winner in American Christian Fiction Writers' Category Five writing contest!

A friendly adventure turns to murder and mayhem in the north Georgia mountains. Historical writer Trixie Montgomery is asked to cover Gold Rush Days in the picturesque Georgia mountain town, Dahlonega.

Trixie seizes the chance to mix business with pleasure and asks her best friend, Dee Dee to tag along. Their well laid plans go awry when Dee Dee is discovered standing over the lifeless body of prominent citizen, John Tatum - the very man she'd had a run in with earlier that day - holding a bloody pickax in her hands.

Can Trixie find a way to finish her assignment and keep Dee Dee out of the slammer?

About Deborah:

Deborah has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, since 2001, for the historical magazine Georgia Backroads.” She has had many articles and photographs published during this time. Her writing is featured in “Tales of the Rails” edited by Olin Jackson. She has also had a showing of her photographs at Floyd Medical Center Art Gallery as well as winning several awards. Her debut cozy mystery "Death in Dahlonega" is now available. She is a current member of the Georgia Writers Association, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She has an established blog, ButterflyJourney, where she reviews Christian Fiction. 


Deborah's giving away a copy of Death in Dahlonega. To enter, answer this question in the comments below, and we'll draw a winner next week. Be sure to leave your answer to the question and a way for us to contact you if you win.

What's one of your favorite small towns in America and 
why is it your favorite?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love Letters from the Heart

Love Letters from the Heart is now available in print and Kindle versions. 


UPDATE: The Kindle Version of Love Letters from the Heart will be available for FREE February 12th and 13th!


About the book:


Have you ever felt unloved? Friends, family, perhaps even strangers, have messages within their hearts they want to share with you, but never found the right time or the right place to speak them. Here, within these pages, you'll find messages of hope, forgiveness, direction, and even prayers - written from caring, loving hearts directly to you and for you. Know this - you are not forgotten or abandoned. You are not alone. You are loved - more than you can possibly imagine. Who could love any of us that much? Turn the pages - we hope you'll soon discover the answer.




A 5-star review!


"This is a beautiful book. Each anonymous letter shares words of peace and healing to hurting individuals from many situations. Sexual abuse, motherhood, friendship, and overcoming fear, are but a few of the topics. Pouring out from the hearts of people, these each express the author's greatest desire to help someone else know the love of Christ for their specific heartache. I believe so many will be helped by this book. It is a book to buy for yourself and then give to a friend who needs it."



Available at Amazon.




Saturday, February 4, 2012

Irresistibly Sweet and Seven Random Facts

This blog was nominated for The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award by Nike Chillemi and Shawna K. Williams over at Inspirational e-Books. Be sure to check out their awesome site. I'm still waiting to see if that delightful strawberry confection comes with the award. :-)

The rules for the Irresistible Sweet Blog Award are: put the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award badge up on your blog, thank the person/blog who nominated you, nominate at least ten other blogs and contact them to let them know, share seven random things about yourself/your blog. Here goes…


Ten Nominees for the Irresistibly Sweet Award goes to:


Suzanne Williams Photography [Life, God, & Photography]


Whispers in Purple [Reviews, Contests, Inspiration by Peggy Blann Phifer]


Steve Biddison [Coaching, Life, Writing - and I hope he doesn't shoot me for this rather feminine award!]


Valerie Comer [Recipes, Local Food Advocate, Writing, Reviews]


Linda Yezak [Writing, Reviews, Snippets from Life]


Jennifer Fromke [Life, Writing]


Carla's Writing Cafe [Writing, Reading, Connecting]


Meandering Moments by Elsi [RV travels, Missionary work, Journal]


Sunnybank Meanderings [Books, Reviews, Journal, Contests]


Sandra Ardoin [Reviews, Books, Writing]



Now, seven random things about me:


1) I was a self-proclaimed hermit from 2006-2011, but in December, God said it was time to come out of my shell. 


2) I want to go fishing. (Always.) 


3) Currently wearing several hats right now - publisher, student, writer, editor, mom, wife, friend, leader. It's rather exhausting, but I'm loving it.


4) One of my professors has used words like brilliant and masterful to describe my writing. Too bad he's not an agent, right?


5) The publishing industry is changing, and I'm happily changing with it.


6) I'm in the middle of planning a HUGE project, involving LOTS of writers, even more READERS, and LOTS and LOTS of fun for the summer, and I'm almost bursting at the seams wanting to talk about it. But it's not time yet!


7) I'm trying to write a series of three novels in my sleep. It's the only time I've got to do it right now. 



Thanks, Nike and Shawna! This was fun!


Friday, February 3, 2012

One of THOSE People ...

Life has hit us hard lately, and a couple of weeks ago, I heard a particular phrase playing itself in my brain. The first time I heard “I’m not one of THOSE people,” I heard it with a heart that needed some work.

The second time I heard “I’m not one of THOSE people,” my heart had been softened a little, thanks to prayers surrounding me and my family the past two weeks.

A few days ago, I heard “I’m not one of THOSE people” and I stopped. I repeated the phrase to myself, and then I asked, “What exactly does that mean? Who are THOSE people you are trying so hard NOT to be? What’s wrong with THOSE people?”

Conviction set in.

THOSE people – who are they? The hurting, the confused, the saddened, the burdened? The people trying to live life in a way that honors God, but sometimes falling short? The people who work hard despite curveballs thrown at them? The poor, the hungry, the weak, the lonely? Murderers, adulterers, gossips, thieves? The abused? The abuser? The addict? A friend? A stranger? The rich, the strong, the movers and shakers? The parent of a wayward child? The child of a wayward parent? Those who are grief-stricken or ill? Those in jails and prisons? Those in hospitals and mental wards? Those visiting those in prisons, jails, hospitals, or mental wards? Those sitting in courtrooms – on either side of the law? The homeless? The beautiful? The ugly? The healthy? The disabled? The student? The professor? The day-laborer? The executive? The housewife? The career woman? Single parent? Married with children? Divorced? Widowed? Orphaned? Lawful citizen or illegal alien?

ALL of us are THOSE people. It just depends on which shoes we happen to be walking in at that very moment in our lives that tends to make us judge THOSE other people. But you know what? We’re ALL stained with sin of some sort – sins of our own, or sins of someone else’s making – whether we are ready to admit it or not.

Think before you judge. Think before you condemn.

I am one of THOSE people. 

Jesus said He was too.

“ ‘For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” (Matthew 25:42-45)


James says, “This royal law is found in the Scriptures: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ If you obey this law, you are doing right. But if you treat one person as being more important than another, you are sinning. You are guilty of breaking God’s law. ... In everything you say and do, remember that you will be judged by the law that makes people free. So you must show mercy to others, or God will not show mercy to you when he judges you. But the person who shows mercy can stand without fear at the judgment.” (James 2:8-9, 12-13)

Go love one of THOSE people today – even if you have to look in a mirror to do so.




References

The Holy Bible. 2003. New Century Version. Thomas Nelson Bibles.


_____________


Announcement!

February 12th and 13th - Love Letters from the Heart is FREE on Kindle!


Friends, family, perhaps even strangers, have messages within their hearts they want to share with you, but never found the right time or the right place to speak them. Here, within these pages, you'll find messages of hope, forgiveness, direction, and even prayers – written from caring, loving hearts directly to you and for you.

Know this – you are not forgotten or abandoned. You are not alone. You are loved –  more than you can possibly imagine. 

Who could love any of us that much? Turn the pages – we hope you'll soon discover the answer.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Power of Our Words

Today, we welcome Staci Stallings as guest blogger.


My best friend had ovarian cancer in high school.  She battled for two years from the time she was 16 to the time she was 18 before finally being declared cancer free.  Recently, we were watching TV together, and someone mentioned the word cancer.  Since she was heavily into planning for the Relay for Life, a cancer fundraiser, that word stuck in my head and my heart.

Several nights later, I was at church, and the pastor made an off-handed comment about suicide.  It wasn’t a direct thing, just something about how bleak our life would be without God.  At that moment a new understanding dawned on me about the power of words, and in particular, our words.           

You see, my older brother died last year at the age of 42.  It wasn’t a car accident or cancer.  He died by his own hand.  Suicide. Ever since then, I’ve heard the word “suicide” very differently than I ever had before.             

Not that it was not a scary word to me before.  I've had several close friends go through times that brought them to the brink.  So suicide has been in my life vocabulary for a long time but not the way it is now.           

Now, when I hear that word or references to it, it jars me like no other word out there.  It makes me cringe and pray no one else around me had to hear it. In one second I can have a flood of memories and feelings come back to me—like that morning when I got the call, the house when I got there, the family, him lying in the coffin (that one I still have immense difficulty processing), and on and on.  All of these are accompanied by the what now’s?  With three children, what will he miss?  How are they doing?  How can I help in a situation that’s not fixable?           

All of these and more come flooding back in with one heartbeat in the utterance of a single word.           

The trouble is, I never know when this word is going to pop up and with it all the stuff it brings up as well.           

Thinking about this later, that’s when I remembered my friend, and I started wondering if the word “cancer” does to her what the word “suicide” does to me.  

When she hears it, do all those memories come flooding back?  Does she question why it was her and why then?  Does she wonder why she made it back into the land of the living and others have not?           

I suspect she does though I haven’t gotten the courage up to ask her yet.           

Then I began thinking about other words and what they do to people.  Words like:  divorce and depression and abuse and overdose and alcohol or drugs.  Maybe you know what I’m talking about.  Maybe you know words that aren’t even on this list.  

Words like:  miscarriage or unemployment.  Words like:  bankruptcy or accident.           

What I want to say to all of those silently grieving or hurting over these words is, please know that you are not alone.  Don’t think that you are the only one who processes these words so very differently than everyone else.  You’re not.           

But also please remember that there are others among you, others you might not even realize who are doing the same thing with the words you speak. It is impossible to know all the details or even the situations involved, but please be aware that your words have power.  And being sensitive to them is a step in the right direction for us all. 
         
What words stop you in your tracks with memories you thought were gone or healed?  Maybe if we talk about those words, we can all become more conscious of them and other words like healing and help and love can begin to take over.  

The conversation has to start somewhere.





Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only...

FREE ON KINDLE LAST DAY!

Feb. 2, 2012, Staci's novel

Coming Undone

"If you've ever searched for love, been afraid to love, or lost someone you love, you will love Coming Undone."

The story of two people trying to live life by the world's rules who find that loving someone only happens when you learn to love without asking what you're going to get in return. Available as a free download fromAmazon today only!