Knowing Your Value
This little story, about world renowned artist, Pablo Picasso, is important to artists, writers and creatives everywhere. It’s a message to our audiences, those who consume our art, and the value they put on it. The point Picasso illustrates here is that art doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long time to learn and hone our crafts. Thousands and thousands of hours of blood, sweat and tears to create things that we, and others can enjoy. I’ve had people comment that my books are too expensive. That I shouldn’t charge what I do because I’m not a famous author. So, I’d like to outline a few things about my experience and the process of producing a book.
Firstly, I didn’t start writing in 2012 when I first began work on See Me. I have been writing since I was eight years old. I am forty-two now, so that’s 34 years of experience in writing that I have as of today. See Me took me three years to write, hundreds of hours late at night in the cold of winter and heat of summer. I See You took me 8 months to write, writing daily, and See Us was a little over a year.
Each of these books required the following.
Writing a 300-350 page story
Self-editing (checking the manuscript for errors myself)
Beta Reading (having others read over the story and give me feedback on plot, characters, spelling and grammatical errors I might have missed)
More self-editing (making changes based on beta readers feedback)
Another self-edit (make corrections based on feedback from professional edits, also each edit involves re-reading a 300+ page novel over and over again)
Cover creation (commissioning art, photographing art and designing a full cover – this requires expensive software, equipment and skills learned at university which I am still paying for)
Document formatting for print and for eBook
Uploading, proofing and approving print copies
Ordering paperbacks so I have copies on hand for gifts or promotions
Continual marketing so that people see my book.
There is a LOT that goes into the creation of a book. A lot of it involves substantial amounts of money as well as my time, effort and energy. It’s important to bear in mind that self-published authors only see a fraction of profit from their book sales, due to printing costs involved, so we aren’t making that full $26 every time a book is sold.
I want to share my art with the world, but the attitude that $26 is too much for something I’ve spent years creating is a little offensive. Just because I’m not world famous (yet) doesn’t mean my work holds less value. If you don’t want to pay for the paperback, the eBook is $3.29.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE writing, I LOVE creating stories and sharing them with you all, just please don’t devalue my hard work by saying its too expensive. People are happy to spend hundreds at the hairdresser, or spend money on a meal, because the hairdresser or chef have spent a lot of time learning how to do what they do. I have done the same. And my book won’t wash out, and you won’t be hungry a few hours later. You can keep my book forever 😊