eBooks update for 2011

I’ve just finished two days work updating all the pages at modernevil.com with the new eBooks links, prices, et cetera… if you notice any inconsistencies at modernevil.com, any links that go to the wrong book/site, or any incorrect prices, let me know so I can fix them. So you know what to look for, you may want to read the rest of the post:

First, you can no longer get my eBooks for free through Smashwords using coupon codes. They all expired 12/31/2010, and I pulled them from all my eBooks pages. I’m not replacing them. Instead, you can get all my eBooks for free right on modernevil.com.

In 2008 I’d manually coded and converted and cleaned up eBook versions of all my books and put them on modernevil.com. By early 2009 I was using Smashwords, and for one of my books I took the conversions their meatgrinder gave me to use on my site, but after that I just started linking to Smashwords for new books and hoping for sales. Then in 2010 I started putting Smashwords coupon codes on my site to give the new books (and later, all my books) away for free to anyone who wanted to go to the trouble of putting in a coupon code. It was an experiment, and my determination has been that it didn’t work. People don’t seem to be willing to click four times instead of one to get a book for free, and my opinion of Smashwords has significantly soured over the course of 2010 (I no longer see them as wonderful and revolutionary; merely somewhat-useful and frustrating), so I’m not going to go out of my way to drive traffic away from my site and toward theirs.

Helpful in this endeavor are several advancements related to eBooks in 2010, not only in an increased adoption of eReader devices, devices which largely support the ePub format, but also updates to software for creating ePub (and kindle) files. Scrivener, which I already spent a fair amount of time in 2010 getting all my books into (to output the .doc files Smashwords now requires – I’d been feeding it first .html files and later .rtf files, and do not use Word. Yech) and normalized for eBooks, got updated to 2.0 and gained the ability to output both ePub and .mobi files. (Apple’s Pages also got the ability to output good ePub files in 2010.) It could already output good looking .rtf and .txt files, along with basic PDFs, and if I add the really-nice PDFs I make in InDesign to send to Lightning Source, it covers most eBook bases. I updated all my Scrivener files again this month (adding Untrue Tales… Book Four and Book Five to the “Books by Teel McClanahan III” page, and adding a couple of paragraphs on the subject of “pay what you can” to the free versions) and output over a dozen versions of each of my books (only 3 versions of each short story, which won’t be offered individually for free or in half a dozen formats through my own site) and began uploading the fresh ePubs to sites like Google and Goodreads in December. I’ve now got 6 versions of each full title (including the latest, Untrue Tales… Book Four) available as free eBooks (under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License license) on modernevil.com. Share and enjoy.

In addition to updating all the free versions of my books, I’ve adjusted all the prices on my eBooks. Up until this point, I’ve been maintaining them at 1/2 the paperback cover prices. Effective today (or as quickly as the various eBookstores update the price changes I put through), all my eBooks are less than $5. In fact, I’ve made Untrue Tales… Book One a mere $0.99, to encourage people to try the series. The other books in that series are all $3.99 now. Lost and Not Found (both the original and the Director’s Cut), Dragons’ Truth, and Cheating, Death are now only $2.99. Forget What You Can’t Remember, More Lost Memories, and Time, emiT, and Time Again are each only $4.99. I didn’t change the prices of my individual short stories, which are all either $0.99 or $1.99. ((Of note: Google was doing bizarre discounting of all the prices I gave them, and Amazon may try to shaft me by offering “price parity” with those seemingly-random prices, so I decided instead to raise the list prices on all my Google eBooks. If/when Google gets around to updating my eBooks (I sent them the ePubs over a week ago & they haven’t touched them yet), they’ll be discounting from a list price based on “80% of the lowest print list price Google could find” … because I figured if the prices are going to be irrational, let’s make them as unfounded and bizarre as possible))

I decided to go with lowering my prices (instead of maintaining them, raising them, or something else) with the following (admittedly vague) reasoning: When thinking about potentially raising prices, it seemed reasonable because I’m not really concerned with selling a lot of copies. We’re in a position, as a family, where my business doesn’t need to turn huge profits to support us, and Modern Evil Press is in a position, as a business, to not need to sell very many copies of any given book to break even, under the enhanced-pseudo-freemium model (sell art to afford to publish books) I’ve been using lately. Plus, the sort of people whose price-inflexibility would keep them from paying $9.99 for an eBook are either 1) savvy enough to go get the free copy or 2) greedy fucks who wouldn’t like my communist-leaning utopian books anyway. Of course, if I don’t care how many copies sell, or how much money I make from eBook sales, I suppose futzing about a couple extra dollars per copy doesn’t make much sense… so I opted to go into the $2.99-$4.99 comfort zone that insane readers have decided is the maximum price range for eBooks by unknown authors. What the hey? I’ll leave them that way… indefinitely. 6 months? A year? Until I have a reason to change them again? Another thought was that for most of the people who see my eBooks for sale on some eReader or stumble upon them (without searching for them because they’ve heard of them/me), it’s better to have them at low/impulse prices than at high/books-have-value prices… and they’ll probably never know the books are available for free at my site.

I’ve also added links to most/all the sites/eReaders where you can buy each eBook to each book’s eBook page, along with the links to the free eBooks and a simple explanation of “pay what you can” – ie: “The eBook edition is available under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License for those who can’t afford to pay, or who have never tried one of my books before. If you can afford to pay $4.99, you have your choice of eBookstores and eReaders…” Pretty straightforward, I think. And… that’s about it. Updated copies of all my free eBooks, updated (lower) pricing, share and enjoy.

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Author, artist, romantic, insomniac, exorcist, creative visionary, lover, and all-around-crazy-person.

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