Thursday, June 15, 2017 | By: Cafe

Readers Before Wallet by W. J. Howard

The Write Way Café welcomes W.J. Howard, who shares thoughts about pricing to enhance readership.


Lately, I’ve gotten myself into trouble with author friends. It’s because I don’t agree we shouldn’t give our work away for free or price it dirt cheap.

As intelligent beings, we are natural storytellers. It all started around the campfire as a way to express our evolving creativity, as well as to fulfill our social, educational, and spiritual needs. These events were free for all to attend, and it makes sense that something so essential to life became a part of commerce in the form of for-profit publishing.

Fast forward to today’s ever changing world and the brilliant minds who invented the Internet as a means of sharing information at lightning fast speed. Since the Internet went public in 1981, it has done amazing things for amateur storytellers, expanding the fire pit to reach billions of people worldwide. Who could have predicted the impact this form of communication has had on the publishing industries, but here we are, well into the most amazing advancements in sharing our thoughts and creations.

While paper books and magazines won’t disappear anytime soon, there’s no denying that the way we read will continue to evolve. Up to now, I’ve been a proponent for every available method to deliver stories to readers, and I’ve been an active member of websites such as Booksie, Writers Café, and WattPad, to name a few. Back in 2009 I even won a writing contest on Textnovel, a site that shares stories via text messages, and I released a novel on Twitter. In essence, these sites have brought back the tradition of telling stories around a campfire. Visitors not only read, they interact with other readers and passages within a story. More notably, authors can talk to readers, making these sites some of my favorite places to hang out as a writer.

I primarily write for young and new adults, and there’s no denying that this age group have their own opinions about paying standard industry prices for literature and music. During a recent discussion with my twenty-three-year-old son, he made it clear he doesn’t mind paying for books and music, but the writer or artist, “better damn well prove their worth before I’m willing to put out the bucks.” This is one reason why I give away my stories to anyone willing to read via Instafreebie and NoiseTrade. While these sites provide another method to get free books in the hands of readers who are willing to give a writer a chance, they also offer a valuable non-monetary payment in return, an email address. 

Another connection to readers.

Earlier this year, I gave up on selling the first book in my series at that indie sweet spot of $2.99-$3.99, in addition to exclusive sales contracts with bookstores that are more of a mouse trap. Today the book continues to hover at the bottom of the horror comedy category in paid bookstores, but playing with the price has taught me that sales trickle best at $.99, so why would I increase the price if that’s what readers want to pay.

Do I care I’m being ignored in bookstores? No. Why? I started to look at acquiring readers like any sales position. In order to succeed, a salesperson must have a bottomless list of leads. In the long run, it makes no sense to exclusively lock sales into bookstores at a high price. Bookstores do not provide leads. They keep authors segregated from readers, while sharing sites are a means of building exponential relationships with real live people.

If my author friends need more convincing, consider that Steven King and Janet Evanovich have worked their butts off, paid their dues, and continue to sell stacks of books. Authors at their level have earned it. How do you compare to them? Now consider that Anne Rice has recently released a book at $.99 to gather attention. For me it’s a given: readers before wallet. Catch you around the campfire.


W. J. (Wendy) Howard writes a mix of horror, sci fi, and comedy. Her main focus is creating action-packed stories for readers looking for books as fast paced as video games. Her stories feature unique and memorable characters that are both outrageous and easy to relate to. She has watched countless horror movies since the age of six, and has become a bit addicted to any form of media that aims to scare. In her spare time, she hangs out with her husband and two cunning beagles while drinking lots of wine.



Check out The Courier Series by W. J. Howard, a satirical tale about a guy down on his luck who is finding that choosing between good and evil is not always as easy as it seems.

“My name is Barry, although it might as well be Loser. Satan owns my soul, and my demon boss tortures me with her magical cigarettes every chance she gets. I should be flicking butts at her. She tricked me into signing a contract that compels me to help open the Gates of Hell. I’m desperate for freedom. At the same time, I’ll do anything to stop damned souls from spilling onto Earth. My odds of saving mankind are uncertain. But I still have to try.”

Get it on NoiseTrade at https://goo.gl/uVE828

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2 comments:

HiDee said...

Definitely something to think about! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Wendy Howard said...

Thanks for dropping by to read!

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