I learned something interesting today. I've been complaining to my editor, the director of Haworth's book division, and anyone else who will listen that I think the price of Mahu is too high, at $24.95 for a trade paperback. Haworth publishes a lot of academic books, so their experience seems to tell them people will pay that much. But this isn't a text, it's a mystery novel, and an impulse purchase.
Two things happened. First, my editor emailed to tell me that the book's price is set by the word count. Running the word count over 90,000 (Mahu is about 105,000 words) means a price of $24.95. I wish I'd known this earlier; in my last rewrite before I submitted the manuscript, I shaved close to a hundred pages off the book. If I'd known 90,000 was my limit I would have edited much more harshly.
Then I got an email from the press. At my request, the book's price was being dropped to $22.95. That's certainly a step in the right direction.
We'll see where things go from here.
And another thing that happened today-- I heard from my friend Jamie that his book's sales are lagging, and I agreed to give him a shameless plug. The book is called Dionysus Logged Out, and the author is James David King. It's a pretty cool novel about a group of friends on a BBS system in the Bay area in the late 80s-- interestingly evocative of the time and the people who first began communicating via computer and modem, before the Internet, and surprisingly moving as well. Check it out, at http://www.dionysusloggedout.com.