C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

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How much should fiction cost?

There’s quite a gap between what publishers charge for ebooks and how self-publishers are pricing their work. Many authors (and readers) have a visceral reaction to price. Of course people are sensitive to a price they perceive too high, but many believe that if it’s too cheap, it must be crap. (JA Konrath suggests self-publishers play with price, and experiment to find the right price point.)

However pricing affects you intuitively, there’s no direct correlation between price and quality. Many fine ebooks are often priced low because the author is not well-known. Lower prices encourage timid readers to take a chance on new fiction. When the price is lower, readers buy more. It is freeing to click, click, click and still pay less for fiction than you might for a latte and a croissant.  Self-publishers hope to make it up on volume.

If you are trying to figure out how to price your ebooks, or what a fair price might be, Dean Wesley Smith has a great and useful  summary.

His suggestions have influenced my thinking greatly. As a result, my first book (that will be available digitally) will be a short story collection. I still plan to roll out my big novel in November, but the collection, including some award winners, will come this summer!

It’s all happening very quickly. It has to. And most glorious of all, now it can happen.

Time and me?

We wait for no one.

Not anymore. 

Filed under: Books, DIY, ebooks, grammar, links, My fiction, publishing, self-publishing, Writers, writing tips, , , , , ,

3 Responses

  1. Rebecca says:

    Be careful about playing with price. A lot of people who “experiment” with their price are only thinking of Amazon but Amazon is not the whole ebook world. If you experiment with a lower price then try to raise again you may find that you can’t get the price to stay up at the higher price. The reason? Computer matching around the world. Once you lower the price, another computer finds it and matches it. When you raise it back, that computer finds the lower price elsewhere and matches it. It’s a vicious cycle.

    Probably the best way to avoid it is to have an introductory item and keep your other ebooks at a reasonable price, a price you can earn a living with.

  2. Reena Jacobs says:

    I’m with Rebecca. Amazon is big on price matching. If you self-publish through Smashwords, sometimes it takes a few weeks to update to sites like Sony or Kobo. And if you’re going from the 35% to 70% with Amazon, you end up making less at the 70% if they discount it to $0.99 than you would have at the 35% mark, because they still take out all the associated fees at the high royalty rate but not at the lower royalty rate.

    As for the best price, I can’t say. If I could do it all over again, I probably would have played with the price less. In my mind, I had a price which I thought was reasonable and planned to work my novel up to the price. But I caved a bunch of times and went back and forth. It would have been better, I think, to have had the introductory price for Shadow Cat for a week-month, then set it to the price I’d planned in the end and leave it like that. Four months later, and I finally just settled on a reasonable price ($3.99).

    As a reader for digital books (doesn’t matter if it’s self-published or traditional), I can’t see myself paying more than $5. Anything above that, and I’m looking at print prices.

    I’ll be honest. I’ve purchased quite a few self-published eBooks over the past year, though I haven’t purchased any self-published print books. The opposite is true for traditional books. I’ve only purchased one traditionally published eBooks. I used to be pretty big into purchasing traditionally published print books, but these days I’ve been more conservative and been making purchases at the used bookstore.

    I know others feel differently and value eBooks over print. That’s just not me, yet. 🙂 I like filling my bookcase and can’t do that with a digital copy.

  3. […] How much should fiction cost? (chazzwrites.wordpress.com) […]

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