Friday, September 19, 2014

Pricing and a Book Critic.

The book – the book … the BOOK>  Wynken, Blynken and Nod.  I signed off on the final proof and will be able to order copies for distribution within the month.  It will be available on the publisher’s website as well as shortly after that.  If you want a copy – let me know. My final step in all of this is a MSRP.  The price. 


Pricing is hard for me. In order to price your art realistically, you must understand and respect how the art business works and how people shop and buy. You must step back and objectively evaluate the significance and quality of your art in relation to all other art. You must also objectively assess your art world accomplishments and determine how they position you in relation to all other artists.  The more aware you are of the big picture, of what other artists are creating, how it's being priced and marketed, and who's buying what for how much and why, the better prepared you are to price your art sensibly. 

 So with all that in mind…. How the heck do we decide what to charge? Pricing just feels like a big, black void, and one with a lot of pressure: charge too much, and they’ll run away; charge too little, and you’re shooting yourself in the foot – undervaluing your work – and some folks might not buy it because you’ve now convinced them via the price tag that it’s not worth much.   Gah!

 But a book should be easy – never mind that it took me almost three years to paint the collection of illustrations, or that I’ll likely need to sell over 400 copies just to break even on the editing/printing design work.   There are lots of books out there – a quick look at amazon should put me in the ball park – even if I can’t compete with publishers such as “scholastic”.  


I started looking at some of my favourite children’s books…..

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Jerry Pinkney

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt,

The Pirate Cruncher by Jonny Duddle,

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett,


And then I looked at Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin  which describes how  Farmer Brown's cows have gotten a hold of a typewriter, and now equipped with the means with which they can express themselves, the cows demand electric blankets forthwith. Farmer Brown demurs (by throwing a small fit) so the cows join up with the chickens in demanding blankets for the chickens as well.  They do this by leaving a note on the barn door “no milk, no eggs.” Farmer Brown is so tired of not having any eggs or milk because of the animals being on strike, he decides to give in to their requests, only to have the ducks demand a diving board for the pond.  

We love this story – my kids love the repetitiveness of the words “Click clack – MOO.  Click Clack –MOO.”  And I chuckle every time I read “Duck was a neutral party so de delivered the ultimatum.”
So as I’m looking at prices – I got distracted by the comments readers leave about the books they read.   Turns out not everyone finds this book as charming as we do.  One reviewer (Jory Hansen) rants about how the author takes “her readers for fools” objecting to talking/typing cows,  and goes on to say that in purchasing this book “you've got to be downright stupid, and even that's a stretch. I would most definitely not recommend this book to any parent, unless for some reason you want your children to grow up believing in talking cows and cow strikes that result in milk shortages and whatnot. “  Clearly this reviewer has never heard of the term FICTION.  I hesitate to think what he/she would think of shoes sailing through the night sky and fishing for stars under the benevolent gaze of the laughing/singing moon.

 Another reviewer felt the book was unacceptable union propaganda, and suggested that Farmer Brown  should have turned the ungrateful, inefficient and pampered cows into hamburger and drumsticks and replaced them with more appreciative, hardworking, and efficient cows and chickens.
At this point I gave up on humanity in general and figured people would either purchase my book or they won’t and  quit worrying about it.

Let me know if you want me to pre-order you a copy.

Many people, other than the authors, contribute to the making of a book, from the first person who had the bright idea of alphabetic writing through the inventor of movable type to the lumberjacks who felled the trees that were pulped for its printing. It is not customary to acknowledge the trees themselves, though their commitment is total. ~Forsyth and Rada, Machine Learning

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