February 27, 2017

Yet Another Subscription

In a little over a week, my novel The End of Refuge will launch. I'm pretty anxious. Hopefully, all of my hard work will pay off.
I've been debating whether or not to purchase a copy of Microsoft Word for my new laptop. In the past, I've been able to get licenses through work, mine or my husbands, really affordably. But now, I would have to pay full price for a software which I love to hate.

Adobe has a subscription service for their suite of software, which is pretty great. I've never been able to justify the steep price but can handle $20/month. I've been using Gimp in the past as a replacement for Photoshop, and I really don't recommend it. Microsoft has adopted a similar business model for their Office suite. You can still purchase Word, but you can also subscribe for something like $10/month.

There are a lot of advantages to a subscription business model for software. For consumers, it eliminates the huge upfront cost, people can subscribe to the software for precisely how long they need it, and they can assure that they always have the newest version. On the other hand, the software developers get a continuous stream of income and are able to potentially get more people to purchase their product.

Being an indie author also means being self-employed. I've come across so many subscription services which help make certain things easier, but those subscription costs quickly add up. Between managing newsletters, offering free ebooks, web-hosting with a custom domain and email, a PO Box, business checking account, and other expenses, I could easily shell out $100/month or more before ever making any money on my book.

I'm not saying that subscriptions are categorically bad, just that it's important to be careful. I've been burned by subscriptions in the past, so I tend to be conscientious before signing up for any of them.

I keep telling myself that once I start making money on my books, I can afford some of these things that make selling books easier. It's kind of a catch-22.


Victoria Griffin said...

I recently subscribed to Microsoft Office 365. It honestly killed me to do it. I bought a year's subscription from Jet.com and got it over half off, but I still had that awful feeling that I'm getting ripped off, and there's nothing I can do about it. I'm a freelance editor, and I use Word on my MacBook and iPad. I absolutely hate the program, but there's no viable alternative to Track Changes. All I need is Word, but Microsoft forces me to purchase the entire suite (along with OneDrive space and Skype minutes) to get the mobile app. Oh wait, I CAN get the mobile apps for free. But I can't edit documents without the subscription. Stuff like that honestly grinds my gears.

Unknown said...

I have mixed feelings about subscription models in general. They do allow the devs to concentrate on making a great product, but in the current climate they feel a little cheezy, and that's unfortunate. If the product is good, they should be able to charge a nominal amount to cover costs and necessities, like food, and car payments and such, and they can make the product better. Personally I use GIMP and Darktable for photos, but I'm a linux nerd. I also use OpenOffice and various free editing tools. Over the years, I've actually given the most money to Stellarium when it comes to software, and those were donations (it's a starchart). But the freeware model only works for absolutely awesome products and movements. If only all products were that good.