First post in my new place, my books are finally up for sale, and there are a few housekeeping issues I’d like to touch upon.

I’ve always been conflicted about what to charge for my work.  This was especially true when I worked as a counselor.  Then its roots came from the notion that social services ought to be free.  While I was at Project Place, we pulled this off with help from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, some federal funding, private donations and a pay scale collectively determined by need.

When I struck out on my own, no one offered to underpin my salary.  Still, I was incredibly uncomfortable with the fees clinical psychologists were charging their clients, even more so, psychiatrists.  I knew I wasn’t going to get involved with insurance for a myriad of reasons so I had to figure out what I considered fair.

I began checking with crafts people and artists about their “hourly” wage and tried to follow their lead.  Problem was, their lead led to financial disaster.  I was a single parent for half the week and had mouths to feed.  Ten to twelve bucks or barter for more than an hour of work just couldn’t cut it.

So I changed and began charging the hourly rate that each of my clients earned.  For those who earned nothing, I charged nothing.  For those who made a lot of money per hour, that was my fee.  This is how I got paid through most of my years as a counselor.

When I decided I to change careers and write, I knew the termination process with my clients was going to take a significant amount of time.  So I returned to my Project Place headset  and simply placed an open guitar case by my office door and told people to throw in what they thought the session had been worth.  (I probably made more money per session with the open case than I had previously.  Should have stuck with my roots from the get go.)

When I took the plunge at becoming an online novelist, I also decided to man up, not to shuck and jive about the price or worth of my books.  But of course I did so in my usual–not so logical–fashion.  I thought back to when I was young and the cost of a paperback was $4.95.  I liked the number, thought it fair given what it takes to write a novel (as long as there are enough $4.95s, of course) and decided to go with it.

Not so fast.  Apparently some places that distribute e-books demand a minimum of $4.99 per book.  I’d rather $4.95, but it is what it is and I hope my readers find it fair.

I also know that a great many e-book authors do 99 cent specials, free giveaways for certain periods of time, and move their book prices up and down.  I prefer not to get into that game.  And while I can easily imagine some contests like the Goodreads one I did where books are given as a prize, I do intend to keep my e-book prices at $4.99 unless I run into compelling reasons (like distributors) to change it.  Believe me, if that happens, I’ll post about it.

I’m sure there are or will be some with the new site.  Working the backend of this baby is more complicated than the original, so get ready for some operator errors.  Please let me hear about any problems you might encounter by writing me from the “Contact Zach” page.  I will jump right on it.  But don’t feel contacting me is just meant for website issues or feedback.  Feel free to get in touch with me about anything, especially writing.  One of the major reasons I decided to go net rather than traditional is the opportunity to actually converse with my readers. So, if you tell your friends about this site, my books and posts, (see WORD OF MOUTH, two posts below), tell them they can write me too.  As anyone who has seen my Facebook comments can attest, I enjoy communicating with people whether I agree with them or not.

And finally:

Every Monday post from the old site had to be cut and pasted into the new one.  Had I done the same with each comment, this site would still be just a dream.  Although I have every comment ever written in a folder on my computer–as well as every reply–the comments cut and paste process begins from this past July.  I wish I could have moved them all since I know folks spent time and effort writing them.

So look over my new digs, find the problems and the stuff you like, buy a book if you’re so inclined, but most of all, please bring your friends to visit.  I like company.

Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, “I’m with you kid.  Let’s go.” ~ Maya Angelou