Let Me Let You In On a Secret

All good things must be shared, so I am sharing this bit of information that is great for business owners and authors who work hard at marketing and promoting their business.  I have looked at several print services for some promotional items for my novels – rack cards, pens … and decided to use Vistaprint since they had a variety of items.  Well, I am glad that I chose them because I got so many great coupons and discount offers from them that I could not believe it at first.

To give you an example, on my last 2 orders for promotional items for my business all I had to pay for was the shipping, and I got 10 items free of charge.  I got a lawn sign, 10 sheets of stationery, 25 magnets, 50 rack cards, 140 address labels, 50 rack cards for my business, 50 rack cards for my novel, and another 50 rack cards for my other novel on a separate order.  All these items were free of charge, and all I had to pay for was the shipping.  For small business owners and entrepreneurs, it does not get better than that.  You might be thinking, was I overcharged for shipping? Not at all, shipping was what it usually is, and you can select to receive it sooner, the next day, or in 2 weeks, like I did.  Right now, I have more than 5 coupons between mail and emails with great deals, which I will probably use before they expire.  I am not promoting Vistaprint; I am just letting you know my experience so far, since I know many of you are authors and writers on a tight budget, and it is always good to know where to get the good deals.  I used to print all my promo items by myself – flyers, business cards … but the cost of ink and paper has proven to be more expensive than ordering out, and the printing quality is better.  Adding all these amazing coupons and offers, the cost is considerably less than doing it myself.  I still keep my designs in case one day I run out and need to print something quick.

So far, the quality of items has been great.  I am waiting for these last items to see their quality.  I think it will be great; so far I have been happy with the items .  This is all I wanted to share for today, and I will update you on this with a post and pics, once I get the stuff.

I hope that this post was of use to you.

 

Reminder:

I will be giving away three copies of Ramblings of the Spirit, the first book of the trilogy The Dinorah Chronicles.  To enter for a chance to win one of the three copies, just like my Facebook page (link at the right of the screen on this blog) and that is all you have to do.  I will announce the three winners on May 20, which is the birth date of the person to whom I have dedicated this book – my maternal grandmother.

Book Pricing – A True Mystery

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de eBook Беларуская: Фотаздымак электроннай кнігі Русский: Фотография электронной книги (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Book pricing has always baffled me, and with the introduction of eBooks, now more than ever.  To illustrate this, let me compare a novel, which undergoes a creative process that can last months or years, to a painting, or to a magnificent cake, both creations by artists, but creations that take less time to complete.  For example, many paintings start over $100 and reach the thousands in price – famous paintings, millions.  An elaborate cake can reach hundreds and thousands in price, and it is consumed in no time at all, and it ceases to exist.  The painting, an original will last many lifetimes, and most likely will appraise in value.  Considering these examples, and all the labor that goes into making a novel – whether the story is published as a hard copy or an eBook – why is it that we allow it to sell for 99 cents, offer it for free, or price it so low?

What makes a painting or a cake more valuable than your novel, your story?  I don’t know the answer to that question, but it may have something to do with supply and demand in some way, or the fact that people will collect original art, eat cake, and only pay big bucks for first editions of a famous author.  It is one of those things that do not make sense when you think about it from the creative process aspect.  This is why college textbooks sell for more money, hundreds.  It has to do with buyer’s purpose/need (and who knows, maybe buyer’s remorse as well).  Some novels have change the world, have touched lives, but once the cake has been eaten, and the painting hanged, the writer is left with royalties, and the satisfaction of touching (at least) the life of one reader (or more).

Still, it boils my blood to see a novel selling for 99 cents, when it may have taken many years in the creation process.  Here, the conventional rules of pricing do not apply.

What do you think about this issue?

Pride of Workmanship, a Ghost of the Past

This morning, while answering a comment, the same comment prompted this post.  I love vintage items.  To me, they speak of the pride in workmanship, which is hard to find in mass-produced items today.  Even the vintage Made in Japan items are full of detail if compared, and they were the laughing-stock in those days.  So when I am looking for something, first I look for vintage and then I search for handmade items.  Handmade items have that pride of workmanship that reflects in the object – same as yesteryear charm.  In the process I am helping the planet.

To put this into perspective, lets take luggage as an example.  I am a fan of vintage luggage, especially the old Samsonite.  It was strong, beautiful, and lasted forever.  You can still find this type of luggage from the 40’s in great shape.  Now, compare this to today’s luggage and you get my point – It rips easily, it is plain ugly, the zippers don’t last, and if you travel often, it can get expensive.  Today’s luggage lacks charm, detail, and quality.  It is true that we carry more stuff with us when we travel, and there are more pockets and compartments in today’s luggage; however, it seems as is functionality killed beauty and attention to detail.  Everything is so mass-marketed today, that it has lost enchantment – even books.

With all the technology we have today, things should be better, right?  Well, the opposite seems true.  I see it in many items – clothes, housewares ….  Let’s take books as an example.  Everyone is such in a rush to produce their books and put them out there (whether you self-publish or not) that the story is being sacrificed.  Now, it is all about what is selling in the current market.  So, before the crowds of readers ($$$) go into some other mode, we have to rush to get that story out.  Rush, Rush, Rush – it is all about Rush to get there first, before the market gets cold.  This is how we live today, how we teach our children to live, and how we promote living.  I for once am tired of it.  How do you feel about it?

The Book, the Movie, the Reader, and the Audience

A 16 mm spring-wound Bolex "H16" Ref...

Image via Wikipedia

What is better, the book or the movie?  That is a question that we hear many times, specially when talking about a recent release.  However, there  is no real answer to that question.  Really, there is not.  This is why.

I have found that book lovers (including myself) enjoy reading the book, but love seeing the movie for these reasons –

  • You want to see the images in the movie and compare them to the images that you have stored in your mind after reading the book.
  • You want to re-live the book using other senses.
  • You want to see the interpretation of that book in film and how it compares to the book.  Did they get it right?
  • You want to put faces to the main characters in the book.  You probably may have cast some in your mind.
  • You watch the movie as an extension of the book.

There are many other reasons, as reading a book and watching the movie is a personal experience, one that each reader/movie goer makes as individual as their senses.  This is why there is no straight answer to that question.  For some the book is better than the movie, for others, the opposite may be true.  Some will hate both (although, if they hated the book I doubt they will go to see the movie).  And, for a few others, they will love both, and will keep re-reading and watching over and over.  I count myself in that last group – many times.

 

On this topic

http://jitterygt.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/the-book-or-story-is-always-better-than-the-movie/

The Simple Life

Simple Abundance – A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Although this book has been around for a while now (1995) it wasn’t until recently that I got to read it.  Immediately I loved it.  I have to admit that it has sat in my library for a year, maybe two; I just did not have enough time to get to it – but it kept calling me.  Finally, I listened and read it.  I did not read it as intended, one chapter a day, instead I read it until my eyes became blurry, and then came back for more day after day. 

I recommend this book to anyone that is in the path of a simple life and needs inspiration.  Its principles are even more true more than a decade later.  If you are in search of simplicity and abundance, you will enjoy this jewel.