Book Spotlight – Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

So I’ll admit to crushing a little on Kalayna Price just off of her author’s pic. But seriously, go here and tell me she’s not just cute as all get out. I dare you. Then I met her at RoundCon, and found out that she’s just as nice, engaging and smart as she is cute and fashionable (there’s a post coming about convention/signing wear, the writer’s costume and all that, but I think I have to finish formulating my opinion before I can write it. Not that having a half-baked opinion has ever stopped me from writing anything.). Then I got my paws on an electronic copy of Grave Witch, her first Alex Craft novel, and damn if she isn’t the trifecta – gorgeous, nice and a hell of a writer, too!

I only have the ridiculously good-looking and talented parts covered, personally. I’m not really that nice, so I only get two out of three. Oh well, just imagine how insufferable I’d be if I were any cooler? But I digress. Again.

Grave Witch is a novel about Alex Craft, and she sees dead people. More to the point she’s a private investigator that can raise ghosts (shades in the world of the book, as ghosts are different, but world-building isn’t my gig). Alex is a great character in that she’s struggling – she doesn’t have her crap together by any stretch, and I love that real weakness in a character. Alex is broke, has a crap car, is estranged from her family, and doesn’t have a boyfriend. Except for Death, who keeps dropping by and looks better in a pair of jeans than a force of nature really has any right to.

I found Grave Witch to be a quick read, engaging from start to finish, with a good foundation for sequels (one’s coming later this year, as a matter of fact). I cared about the characters and wanted to see more of them, which is great for a first book in a series. I thought Kalayna built an interesting world, with some neat twists on our own society, but still similar enough to our reality to be really familiar. I happily paid the publisher’s retail on the ebook, even though I usually balk at paying more than $5 for a digital edition, and I’ll buy the others as soon as they’re available, too.

So here’s a raging debate in the ebook world – pricing. What’s fair for an ebook? I paid $6.99 for Grave Witch, and just bought Neil Gaiman’s American Gods today for $9.99. Those are pretty steep prices for a bunch of 1’s and 0’s, but certainly not significantly more than I’m accustomed to paying for an album of a dozen songs. So what’s fair? Neil Gaiman will get maybe $2 out of the ten I spent, and Kalayna got maybe $1.50 off her book. When I sell an ebook for $2.99, I get $2.05, but am I still selling too cheap? After all, I don’t write for art, I write to get paid. I know, I’m supposed to love my work and suffer for it, but I’ve got twenty years of theatrical suffering under my belt, I don’t need any more.

I think $5 is a reasonable price for a novel, and it should stay in the “impulse buy” category. So April 1 I’ll be raising the price of my $2.99 novels to $4.95, as an experiment. So if you’ve been planning to buy The Chosen or Back in Black, you should do so before Friday, or you’ll pay more (not that I have a problem with that).

On a related but different note, what do you think about combo packs? A paperback book packaged with a promo card for a free download. Any interest? How about being able to buy a postcard at a book show with a promo code for a download? That way you can still get something signed by the author if you’re into that, but you can stay all-digital in your reading habits. That was something Bobby and I were chatting about at the con last weekend.


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One thought on “Book Spotlight – Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

  1. $5 is totally reasonable. I too bought American Gods lately 🙂 but $9.99 is the most I’ll pay for an ebook. I obviously prefer it cheaper, and I have bought more when they’re in the $5-7 range than at the $10 range.

    I’ve bought all your books (I’ll write reviews, I promise!) and I’ve meant to get in contact with you to see which store (or whatever) gives you personally more money. I LOVE the syncing ability with the Amazon store and my Kindle and Android Phone, but I’ve loaded other books on there and just used my Kindle and would do so again if it meant more going to the authors.

    TL;DR: $5 is a good price point. $10 is pushing it unless you’re well known. I won’t buy an ebook over $10.

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