The debate on pricing in indie publishing, that is.
On the other hand, you have Michael Sullivan, another bestselling indie author of fantasy novels. His books are priced at $4.99-$6.99 – a deliberate choice on his (or his publicist’s) part, to align him with traditionally published authors and get away from the indie/self-published stigma. It seems to have worked: Michael sells more than 10,000 e-books per month, and when he tried to drop his prices, sales dropped, too.
Some of it comes down to perception of value. Some readers think they’ll get a more professionally written and presented product if the book is traditionally published – or if it appears to be. Some readers don’t care about professional; all they care about is price. Some authors have it as their main goal to sell lots of copies while some would rather sell less copies for more money instead of more copies for less. Some feel that the book they spent six months or a year on, is worth more than $.99. Others – and I quote Konrath here, as well as Bob Mayer – say that value has nothing to do with the cover price; value is about how much money the book makes for the author.
And then there’s the question of the devaluation of the book as a whole. Perpetuating the idea that books should only cost $.99. Setting the bar so low that there’s nowhere to go – except free – if you want to run a promotion, and so low that the public’s perception of value is skewed forever.
I could go on, but I won’t. It’s a tough issue, with many facets and good points on either side of the argument. I have to confess to being on the perception of value side myself: I’ve priced my Cutthroat Business mysteries at $3.99. Half the price of my Berkley e-books. It seemed fair. I make more per copy than I do the traditionally published books, and they’re still priced below that magical $5 mental mark, where everything supposedly is an impulse buy. They’re selling, but not like hotcakes. Then again, this stuff takes time.
Till next time!