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Old 03-21-2008, 11:29 AM   #1
Krystian Galaj
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Question A question to resident Book Authors

Hi,

I know there are at least some book authors on this forum, who sell their books through their webpages, like Steve Jordan (http://www.SteveJordanBooks.com/) and Richard Herley (http://www.richardherley.com/). And others who have their webpages even though they sell books through publishers. You probably considered at length what I'm curious about, so I wanted to know your opinion on the following matter:

There is a growing number of webpages on the Net, whose authors make something that other people use, be it a software project, or a webcomic (an example: http://dresdencodak.com/index.html - quite interesting webcomic imo), that have a Donate button on them. That way people who read the webcomic or use the software give the author more tangible means of their appreciation. I looked through your webpages, and found a way to purchase the books, but I never found the Donate button.

Steve, you're contributing greatly to this forum, it must take considerable amount of time, and you're using your skill to put thoughts in a very convincing form. I think to many readers of this forum you're one of the most influential people on it. Surely the books you write aren't everything you give to the world. You could add such a feature to your webpage, so people who read your books and think they're worth much more than you ask for them, or just read these forums and get to know you by your posts could make your life's work easier for you (not having to buy the Complete Works of Steve Jordan 10 times ). And you could add the text for possible pirates: " I abhor you; and I like the thought of getting some of the money you stole from me back - so give it back" and not spare a thought about their peace of mind...

There are other people, those who like the blurb of your books, and even though they are just browsing through your webpage, don't have the time to read the whole books, and will be gone in a minute, but might want to give you a sign of appreciation with PayPal's few clicks...

Of course, it's wholly independent of the book selling part. Mecenas in Rome didn't pay the artists for their art piece by piece, but appreciated their being there and making art as they saw fit.

But then, you might consider it in disagreement with the way you want to go through your life.

What do you think of the Donate option?
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:32 PM   #2
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Krystian,
First of all, let me apologize for not finding this thread for almost 2 weeks! I hope you didn't think I was dissing you or anything.

As to your question: I do not have a problem with the idea of a donate button, personally. I've considered putting one up in the past, and in my original business model, I considered using a donation button instead of a direct payment method for my books.

However, my research has shown that, expect for a few notable examples, most users of donate buttons do not get a lot of money from them. The fact is, most people, when given the choice, will not donate, or will donate a smaller amount than the site owner might consider appropriate for what they are offered. In either case, site owners generally do not generate what they consider an adequate income from donation systems.

This changes, when a site attracts a large-enough following that the sheer volume of donations means a better showing. I've mentioned Stephen King's "The Plant" project elsewhere, and others have pointed out that King managed to make over $400,000 on what was essentially a donation system... nothing to sneeze at! That shows a much larger following than I am likely to get... ever!

Unfortunately, as I am not as famous as King... as my material is science fiction, generally considered a low-profit "niche" market... and as I work a "day job," and therefore don't have time to fill up my site with constantly-changing content... the amount of material that I can bring to my site doesn't really lend itself to the donation model. (Same thing for the subscription model, which has also been suggested in my case.) I imagine I'd pick up a few bucks, especially when I introduced a new book, but I would also expect it to be much less than I earn with direct payments.

If, in the future, I find the time to make my site much more active, dynamic, and interactive, a donation or subscription system might be workable for me. At this point, I don't think it would net that much.
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:04 PM   #3
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Note to all:
Thanks to Krystian and this thread, and to other threads that have made similar suggestions in one form or another, I've decided to try an experiment on my site. I have installed a "thanks" button, directed at those who receive my books from others for free, and who would like to pay something for them. (It doesn't look like it, but it's basically a Paypal "donate" button.)

I will leave this button up for a few months, and see if any significant amounts are generated by donations. It is not targeted at random visitors (which is why it is on the Novels page), because I'm not looking for passers-by who just want to drop a few pennies in the hat. This is specifically for those who may have been given a free copy of one of my e-books, and would feel better paying for them.

Honestly, I don't expect much action from this... if any. But we'll see what happens.
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Old 04-07-2008, 04:05 PM   #4
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The two 'models' for me here a Baen and podiobooks. I have a tendency to download what is interesting & free, then pay only when I finally get around to reading/listening to it, largely on the assumption that at some point the content will go away. I think I have actually only purchased one book from the Baen site 'preread' because it wasn't in the free library yet.
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Old 04-08-2008, 04:39 PM   #5
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Steve,
Don't worry about you not noticing the thread - I wrote it some weeks ago, and posted it, but it didn't show up for a few days, and in the meantime I quickly started to doubt whether my question was appropriate. Perhaps it was moderated, and met with similar doubts.

The idea came to me as I read the Dresden Codak website regularly, and some months ago the author announced the donations are enough for him to quit his daily job. I don't think his website took as much work then as yours surely did - besides, it's not about the website, it's about putting ideas together in clever way, in webcomic, in a book, or in a forum post. It's a way to thank someone for being there.

I hope your experiment will be more succesfull than you expect
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krystian Galaj View Post
I hope your experiment will be more succesfull than you expect
Enough to quit my day job?... Yeah, I'd go for that! Heck, if I could just get enough for a kitchen upgrade...
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:21 PM   #7
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I have to say that the "donations" idea sounds rather like begging to me. Personally, as an author, I'd much rather just get a straightforward fixed payment per copy sold.
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:55 PM   #8
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I have to say that the "donations" idea sounds rather like begging to me. Personally, as an author, I'd much rather just get a straightforward fixed payment per copy sold.
Agreed... that's why I set it up as a "pay if you got a free copy" button, as opposed to an actual donation button.
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:29 PM   #9
Krystian Galaj
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I see it more like a Karma button here.
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:36 PM   #10
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Also, I hope you don't object if I consider reading your forum posts as worth more to me than the nothing I give to read them now. It's a written word as well, ideas like in the books.
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:52 AM   #11
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I appreciate that!
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