Welcome to my little corner of the gay erotic romance universe . . . well, half of it, anyway. (You can find the other half at RachelHaimowitz.com.) This is the place to come for sneak previews of new projects, release information, and the occasional M/M book review. I'll also share thoughts on the industry on occasion, and I hope you'll come share yours in return.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Slave Auction Recap w/Photos, and a Question/Contest for You All

At last, the promised slave auction recap is here! But, I'd like to begin with a question and contest first, if you don't mind.

You may be aware that I self-published Sublime: Collected Shorts. It was a little experiment for me in managing a title and learning what goes in to putting things out on my own. Currently, I publish the paperback through Createspace, which is convenient and requires no up-front costs but makes the per-copy costs pretty high, hence the $6.95 sale price on the paperback now. That strikes me as a lot to ask people to spend on a 14K book they can get digitally for $2.99.

So, I've been looking at moving the print book to Lightning Source. I'd be able to sell the book a lot cheaper, at maybe $4.50 or $4.99. The problem with this is that up-front costs at Lightning Source are significant for a low-volume title, which the paperback will almost certainly be (though the ebook sells quite steadily, paperback sales in this genre tend to represent no more than 10% of total sales).

What's this got to do with you, you ask? Well, I'm wondering how the pricing would affect your buying habits. If you wanted Sublime, but didn't buy it in print at $6.95, was it because of the price or because you simply prefer ebooks? Would you buy it in print at $4.99? Would you be more likely to buy it at $4.50, or does that $.49 make no real difference? Would you buy it in print even if you already have it in ebook if it's affordable enough? What if you could get an autographed copy ordered directly through my website for the same $4.50 or $4.99, shipping included? Or does the autograph not terribly matter and, for convenience's sake, you'd just as soon order it through Amazon or B&N?

I know that's a lot of questions, but I'd be most grateful if you'd answer as many as you're able in the comments. This'll be a huge help to me and may well be the deciding factor in whether or not I can bring the print copy of Sublime to you at a more affordable price. Also, to say thank you for your input, I'll be giving away an autographed print copy of Sublime to one random commenter (be sure to leave your email address!).

But enough of that. You're here for the slave auction results, right? Beneath the jump, then, complete with photos.

So, last Saturday at the Noble Yahoo Loop, I sold slave!Kari Gregg and slave!Aleksandr Voinov to the highest bidders. Hilarity ensued, and fun was had by all.

Bidders were asked to come prepared with photos of the things they were willing to beg, borrow, sell, kidnap, or steal to afford these two choice gems, and they did not disappoint. Winning bidders received titles from their new slave's backlist and some fun swag. Aleks's winner also received custom-ordered flasfiction (a short story of about a thousand words).

Kari, as the "defective model" (read: GIANT PAIN IN THE ASS), went pretty damn cheap for a skilled slave. For a while, she was hovering at this:

Which, if you ask me, was pretty much all she was worth. And hey, I needed a new car, so I was excited about that. Even if it is used, and only valued at $8,000. Then someone offered this lovely creature:

Also exciting, no? I've always wanted a horse, and with my newly purchased property in North Carolina, I actually have enough room to pasture one. I also appreciated the irony of trading one beast of burden for another ;-p But, this bid didn't hold very long. In came this just a few minutes later:

Now, I know it doesn't look so glamorous, but remember that right now I own 30 acres of land in the mountains without a house on it. I could live in this for a while and enjoy my new property. Plus, the solar panels are worth at least a few thousand extra bucks, and I always have loved sleeping in tight enclosed spaces, so the pop-up trailer on the roof was just perfect for me. 

Still, this is cheap, you know? I mean, even for an uneducated aging laborer, this would be cheap. Kari might need repeated attitude adjustments via whip, but she's still a really talented writer, and she's (kinda sorta) young--got plenty of life and plenty of books in her yet. Thankfully, just when the hour was almost up and I was despairing that I'd have to trade my slave for a Winnebago (but hey, at least then I wouldn't have to listen to her mouth off anymore), this beautiful bid came in:

That's right, folks. A mint condition '68 Mustang from CAS over at Goodreads. She is now the proud new owner of one not-quite-mint-condition Kari Gregg. I'd say congratulations, but mostly I feel like I should be apologizing instead ;-p

* * * * *

But enough about Kari. You're all here for Aleks, right? That shining gem of a slave is guaranteed to output a minimum 150,000 words every year. He cooks, he cleans, he tops, he bottoms, he Doms, he subs, he even pitches for both teams! So polite and mannerful, considerate, worshipful of his owner . . . you should have seen him melting hearts right and left in the auction house, male and female alike!

Now, Aleks had a lot of pre-auction action going on. I was taking bids all week via the twitter hashtag #slave4sale, and they were coming in hot and heavy. The high bid for a long time was several acres of land in the Smoky Mountains, a house, a dog, nine chickens, and two slightly-used kids. Very tempting, especially for me, since I love it in the Smokies so much. But then Amara (of Amara's Place fame) swept in and made a bid I simply couldn't resist. Look who she kidnapped and secured in her basement for me:

Yes my friends, that's right, Paul Walker and Michael Fassbender. Paul she drugged--piece of cake. Michael didn't go down without a fight, so the poor dear got a little scuffed up, as you can see, but that's okay, I like him that way. In fact, here's what he looked like shortly after she handed him over to me:

What can I say. I'm afraid I whipped him way too hard. But honey, you ain't gonna be able to rub that pain away . . .

Whu? Oh, you're still here! Hi. Um, where was I? Oh, yes, bids. So, Amara was looking pretty strong with these two, but then Kris Piet swooped in and offered to genetically engineer a real-life Daniel from Anchored:

Kind of hard to resist, you know? And since Daniel is clearly the love-child of Paul Walker and James Marsden, that meant she'd have to first "rescue" Paul from Amara's basement to snag some DNA. Seeing all the potential difficulties of this, Amara and Kris decided to join forces, so rather than continue to outbid each other, they simply bid as a team and offered Paul, Michael, and the Daniel clone.

So this was the standing bid for slave!Aleks when the live auction began. It held for a good long while, too, but then Brita Addams jumped in. She wasn't having any of this hotties-in-the-basement crap; she wanted Aleks and she meant to get him. She made a damn tempting show of it with this:

Now, I've got to admit, as much as I had dreams of doing things like this to Paul and Michael . . . 

(Extra shots because, let's face it, this is more entertaining to me than auction results ;-p)

Um, yeah, so, as much as I was looking forward to doing all that, I have to admit that my own giganto-cruise ship and private tropical island were looking pretty damn tempting.

However (and yes, there is always a however), there were some concerns over actually being able to keep the cruise ship and island. You see, Paul and Michael and Daniel I could just lock up in my soundproof basement, never to be found again. But it's tough to hide a whole, you know, 6,000-person ship and an island, unless you're J.J. Abrams, which, sadly, not. So though it killed me to do it, I had to turn down the bid. Brita then sweetened the deal by offering me a vast naked army to protect the island and cruise ship:

Sample representation of vast naked army.

Before I could get too tempted by this, Kris and Amara decided to join forces with Brita and buy Aleks as a conglomerate. Their bid--a cruise ship, a private island, a naked army, Michael Fassbender, Paul Walker, and my own real-life Daniel--held up until the end of the hour and won them a one Aleksandr Voinov. It was difficult to part with him, but I'd say I got my money's worth.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be on my boat, torturing playing with my new prisoners friends. See you Wednesday!


  1. .49 cents wouldn't make any sort of difference to me, as far as buying a book went. For a book of 14K words I'd feel a little more comfortable paying the 4.99 vs the 6.95.

  2. I actually just started reading Sublime (ebook). And while as the reader, I'd rather pay 4.50/4.99 (that wouldn't matter so much), I've found most paperbacks of these titles tend to be a bit pricier, only because they are made in small (or even individual) prints. Novels tend to run over $12 from what I've seen, so 6.95 isn't too out of price range (one of the downsides of the biz). If I really wanted something in paperback, I'd be willing to pay the $7, but it does stand to reason that you feel like you're getting more for your money at the lower price, but I wouldn't want you to have to pay upfront costs and end up being in the red, especially when there is a version for people to read.

    (This might not matter, since I am trying to limit the number of paper books I buy [key word "trying"], no matter how VERY lickable the neck is.) I hope that was...helpful.

    alexdwhitehall at gmail dot com

  3. That's a lot of questions, I've not had enough coffee yet. But... I think...

    I didn't buy the 6.95 print copy because I already had it in ebook. Print was avail. when I bought it. Would I now? Probably not, Unless it was signed, then that's dif and feeds my weird SIGNED BOOK thing. $4.99 Yeah, I prob would have bought it. I do think the $.50 makes a difference, it's not much but I think it's a subliminal thing. Kinda like $4.99 vs $5.00 thing. 4.99 or 4.50 for a signed copy from your website... yeah, I'd be all over that.

    But truthfully, I don't really buy that much in paper anymore. I love paper best, but I'm a slave to my ereader now. I will go back and rebuy a paper if I love love Loved it, but that's just a few. Like Counterpoint, I'd have done that with. Oh, and the signed books, but that's not to read since, ya know, I frame them. :) But bottom line... if I want a book badly enough, ebook or paper... I'll spend whatever money I have to for it. I have that book addiction thing. My wallet hates it.

    Not sure if any of that makes sense, I'm still kind of asleep over here. Other than all of that...

    I have only one other thing to say. I win! W00T! \o/

  4. Print books are always my first choice, but I tend to shy away from print books that have fewer pages and will get the ebook instead.
    Ordering from the author website for $4 range with shipping included sounds good to me because at a bookstore or other site I'd have to buy around $25 of products for free shipping.
    It might be a good idea to just add the Sublime shorts with an updated version with more stories in order to have a bigger book.


  5. Thanks to all for the feedback so far!

    @Leni, alas, I don't have any more stories, so I can't make a bigger book out of it. If I ever do, though, that's definitely an option to consider.

  6. I still love books in print. I have a iPad and can download ebooks but there is something about the feel of a book in your hands that nothing can compare with. Also, I am in the military and we often deploy so any electronics such as iPads, e-readers are frowned upon (especially in military transports) so having a print book is perfect. I have paid up to 6.00 for a book. I have to admit that when I find a book I really love, no matter how many pages, I still will buy it.

  7. A print book under $5, shipping included, is VERY reasonable. I would not purchase both - print & ebook no matter the cost.


  8. Personally, most books I now purchase in ebook but only because they are cheaper and we are on a tight, tight budget. If I were to purchase a book, it would be the $4.50/4.99 and signed would be cool. The price difference isn't a huge big deal although saving money is saving money so I would opt for less.

  9. Thanks to all who answered here, and congrats to Leni, who was picked by Random.org to win the print copy of Sublime! Leni, I'll send you an email shortly.


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