Goal Post: Back to the Classroom

The school year started up again for me on Tuesday.  So, I’ve been working hard since then with not much of a chance to write.  Not much energy too.  Part of it simply getting used to waking up early and hitting the ground running.  This is shaping up to be an interesting and fun year though.  So, I should be able to get some writing in once I get my act together and prep the November/December posts.

On the parenting side of things, my son started school yesterday.  He’s got a really good schedule and the classes are rather clear.  There are one or two that have me a little on the nervous side.  This is 8th grade and the difficulty always seems to ramp up immensely to prepare kids for high school.  It’ll take a lot of work and time for my son to get through this because some of the classes won’t be that merciful.  At least, not if I go by the syllabi that he brought home for a few of them.  I expect March to be where I lose most, if not most, of my sanity as usual.

Guess I should get to the writing portion of this post.  This is an author blog even though I haven’t done much publishing and have no idea when I’ll get to it again.  Anyway, I made it up to chapter 13 of 16 in Darwin & the Avenging Elf.  That’s 14 sections, which would normally take me 5 days.  I can finish this by the end of September even if I’m busy.  Saying that means it’ll take me halfway through October.  Thankfully, I stopped right after the set up for the Final Act.  If I can get 2 chapters done in the next week, I’ll be at the final battle.  This is all going to depend on my energy and focus, which wasn’t that great at the start of the week.  Fingers crossed on me having better luck after this weekend.

There were reasons for me being so tired.  I went to a block party for a few hours and had a lot of fun.  This also resulted in me being out in the sun and heat for about 6 hours, which made Sunday and Monday fairly rough.  So, I changed my goal from getting to the end of chapter 13 to simply reaching the start.  I got some writing in during the evenings of my first two days of work, which helped.  That won’t be as common nowadays because my son will need help with his homework.  If that wears me down, I’m not doing anything more than blog prep.  There’s always something, so I have to factor life in more than I used to.  I simply don’t bounce back like I used to.

Another project that I might start tinkering with after I finish writing Darwin & the Avenging Elf is paperbacks.  It’s been recommended that I go through all of my novels (minus the 3-in-1s and smaller books) and use Amazon to give each one a simple paperback option.  I have one almost set up for Beginning of a Hero aside from the one I created through Createspace (R.I.P.) long ago.  The issues are the same as before though:

  • I have to make the book 8.5 x 11 size (printer paper size) to work with my formatting and not make these things expensive.
  • Even at the large size, I have to price these paperbacks around $15-$20 just to make more than a few cents.  The chunk that Amazon takes out of the royalty is pretty hefty.

Anybody know more about this kind of thing?  I mean, I don’t know if the odd size is going to be that big of a deal breaker.  Let me pause writing this and see what happens if I make it 6×9 size . . .   Yikes.  I’d have to price it no less than $21.00 and that only gives me 0.35 cents royalty for outside stores.  Amazon sales would be $4.55, but that $21.00 price for a 600 page paperback seems like it would turn people off.

Any thoughts on the choices?

  • 8.5 x 11 book for $15.  Be over 300 pages.
  • 6 x 9 book for $21-$25.  Be 600 pages.

Seriously, I need some input here because I can’t tell, which one is the best route to take if I want to get any sales.  There’s only an 0.11 cent difference with the second option having the higher Amazon royalty.  Should I make a post about this next Sunday to make sure it isn’t lost in this shuffle?

Nothing else to really talk about.  Got my son for the Labor Day weekend.  Next week is diving into work and school.  I’ll inch along with a few things.  My schedule isn’t going to be editing friendly like last year, but I might be able to bring along some outlining stuff to do during my free periods.  If I can outline the next 2-3 Darwin stories before the December break then I’ll be in good shape.  It won’t be writing, but I won’t be idle this time around.

So, what are the goals of the week?

  1. Fun weekend with my son.
  2. Buying school supplies.
  3. Back to work.
  4. Homework kicks off too.
  5. Get a little writing in if I can.
  6. Work on November blog posts.
  7. Finish watching ‘Rising of the Shield Hero’.
  8. Puzzle time when possible
  9. Complete another part of my son’s Halloween costume.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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46 Responses to Goal Post: Back to the Classroom

  1. It doesn’t seem worth it at those prices, but other folks do it. There must be something to it all. I always wanted to try audio, but that’s kind of expensive to create.

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    • Audio is beyond my savings too. I think others have smaller books. Once shrunk down to regular paperback size, my books are apparently massive. I’d hate to do the large book for $15 and then get negative reviews for it not being smaller.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your other paperbacks seem to be 8.5 x 11 inches on Amazon as far as I can see, Charles, are the higher costs you mention for newer books due to inflation or Amazon’s revised cost calculator?

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  3. It depends on your text length, Charles, but I’d think you could get a trade paper (6 x 9) in the $15-17 range and that price would be acceptable to consumers. If your individual texts are too short, you can do omnibus paperbacks.

    For instance, my Minstrels of Skaythe series are novellas, and a paper copy of that would be too narrow for a title to appear on the spine. So I collected the first three into a single volume. When I finish #6, I will publish another trio in paperback.

    Check to be sure your agreement with the cover artist includes additional formats, by the way.

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    • Amazon won’t let me put a 600 pager any lower than $20.13 and that’s with no royalty from outside stores. $21 gives me a bit. So my problem is strictly my works being too big for a $15 paperback unless they’re 8.5 x 11. The cover artist basically said so ago that it’s mine to do what I want after he gave it to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, wait, though. Formats change the page number. E-book pages are much smaller than print, so a 600-page e-book could become 400 pages in print. You can play with text size, as well.

        The thing about having print copies, besides selling them outright, is that they are tangible. You can pass a printed book around the Labor Day barbecue party and say, “Look, here’s my book,” in a way you can’t with e-books.

        I think it would be worth your time to play with the printed format in a low-key way, and see if you can make it work.

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      • I was playing with it last night. The font didn’t shrink it from 600 to 400. It barely made a dent in the Amazon system. Ebook version is 309 or something. I will probably tinker a bit more. The size is right now Times New Roman 12. I didn’t see a big difference with 10. Is there a better font that looks good at a smaller size?

        Liked by 1 person

      • So the e-book format was 309 pages and the printed was 600? That seems odd. Of course you can adjust margins and such to squeeze in more words.

        As for font size, 10 seems quite small to me. You could try 11 or 11.5?

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      • I’ve always noticed that ebooks end up being smaller than paperback. Not sure why. 11 didn’t look that great when I tried. Going to single spacing seemed to help. I wonder if ebooks automatically go to single spacing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think they do, because e-books are meant to appear like paper books.

        One thought is to check out an existing e-book you have (or can borrow from the library) and see if the front or back matter states what font they used.

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      • I looked at a few. Didn’t see any info. A friend showed me how to get it to 347 though. We’ll see how it goes.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d go with the smaller book!

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  5. How many words are in one of the books you are trying to produce in print? If 90,000 or less then I think you will have to reformat the manuscript. For example, all my books are around 90,000 words, 5.5 X 8.5, and cost $4.00 to produce on Amazon. I don’t remember Beginning of a Hero being unusually long so if the book has an unusual format like too much space between the lines or paragraphs then it will be longer than it has to be. The font size should be no smaller than 11. Let me know about the word count and maybe I can offer some suggestions.

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  6. Victoria Zigler says:

    Go with the smaller book. Yes, it costs more for people to buy, but those who want the paperback will pay it. My books are 150 pages or less, with the longest being priced at $9.99, and there are people who buy it. If they’ll pay $10 for a 150 page book, they’ll pay $21 for a 600 page book. I mean, sales aren’t guaranteed regardless. However, there are people who still prefer a physical book, so it’s worth doing if you can. Since it’s print on demand, once it’s done it’s done, so what have you really got to lose? As for audiobooks: there’s always the royalty share option if you go through Audible. Without that I never would have managed to get my books all in audio since I couldn’t have afforded it, even with my books being on the shorter side and fees being per finished hour. Or, if you can’t get anyone willing to do such long books for that, there’s royalty share plus, where you pay a small fee and they get the rest with sales. Either of those methods also have the benefit of the fact the narrator will then potentially be trying to encourage purchases of the audiobook too, since they benefit if you get sales.

    Anyway, good luck settling back in to the new school year’s routine. Hope you figured out some healthy lunch ideas you enjoy that keep you full and give you a bit of an energy boost to help you make it through the rest of the day even on some of your bad days.

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    • I’m learning to format it to be smaller. The issue is that it really does seem like $21 for a paperback is a problem. Not to mention many will steer clear of a book that’s such a massive tome. 600 pages can turn people off, so I need to find a way to make it smaller. A friend showed me how to get it to around 350 pages, so I’ll work on that next chance I get.

      I can’t afford any fees right now, so Audible isn’t an option. It may be the next stage down the road, but I can’t spend even a couple hundred on book stuff these days. That’s outside of the cover art for new things, which isn’t happening any time soon either.

      Still working on the lunch ideas. Fruit and veggies with a cookie-based protein bar is what I’m doing now. Not a fan of the veggies, so they’re phasing out. Colorful peppers and radishes are still there, but I like the pears and grapes I bring more. A bottle of water with a flavor shot is helpful too. Might need to boost that to two water bottles.

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      • Victoria Zigler says:

        That’s my point: there don’t have to be fees with audible. The royalty share option (the regular one, not the royalty share plus) has you paying nothing up front. You only need to have money for the actual production if you do royalty share plus or pay for production. If you just do the regular royalty share option it just means you split your royalties from any sales with the producer afterwards, but it costs you nothing for the production.

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      • If I do that, do I have any input into the production? The issue with fantasy audio books is pronunciations can be tricky.

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      • Victoria Zigler says:

        Absolutely! You’re the one who puts the book up for audition with a sample piece for them to read and notes about pronunciations for any names or unusual words in the scene, listens to the auditions and picks which of the people who audition will read the book. You’re the one who agrees on production deadlines with the narrator producing your book. You get to be in contact with them the whole time to give them instructions on renunciation, and anything else you feel you need to instruct them on. You’re the one who listens to and approves the fifteen minute sample they give you. And you’re the one who listens to and approves the final book. ACX do also give it a quality check afterwards, but they’re mostly only concerned with sound quality and such (settings the narrator/producer has to worry about). It’s the same kind of deal as when you’re self publishing in any format. And, like I said, if you do royalty share there are no production costs. Literally the only thing you might have to pay for is if you can’t sort out the covers yourself and your cover artist charges for doing a square version of the cover. Mine never has, since it’s only a minor adjustment from the ebook cover.

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      • The covers would be one of the problems. Finding time and energy to do all of the prep would be another. To do it for 30 books would take months or even years given my schedule.

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      • Victoria Zigler says:

        Yes, it would take a long time. But a lot of the time you’re just waiting on the narrator anyhow, leaving you free to deal with other stuff in the meantime (like life issues, work, pretending there’s a chance you might get some decent sleep, and attempting to write your other books). And if you decide not to do it… Well, that’s up to you. But I wanted to make sure you know there is an option where you still have full control over the audio production even if your funds don’t allow for paying someone to do it. There’s also a market for audiobooks, and the more formats you have available the more potential chances you have for sales, since there are people who stick to certain formats and won’t buy a book if it’s not in a particular format. At the end of the day though, it’s totally up to you. The option is there should you decide to make use of it.

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      • I’ll keep it in mind. Paperbacks are the first hurdle, which will probably take months. The audiobooks still seem daunting only because I can’t do them on my own. I’ve kind of developed issues with depending on others for these kinds of things. Seems I tend to get burned a lot.

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      • Victoria Zigler says:

        I can understand that.

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