I’ve been reading the forums regarding the pricing on ebooks on various retail websites. Many indie authors price their books very low to be competitive, however, are they doing themselves a disservice? They don’t seem very happy about selling their books dirt cheap, but they feel they have no control over it. Or do they?
The pricing is favorable to those who are selling the ebook readers, not the authors. This may be obvious for some, not all. The free books, or extremely low-priced books, are an enticement to those who are considering buying the ebook readers (i.e. Kindle, Nook, iPad). Indie authors feel that they have to be competitive with other indie authors selling their books for 99 cents, so they low-ball their price, even though in their hearts they know they are getting screwed.
What is wrong with this picture? Why are talented authors giving their books away? In some cases, they really are giving their books away in “free promotions” that encourage them to give away their books in the hopes that it will spur future sales. They aren’t reimbursed for these giveaways, they aren’t even “promoted” in the true sense of the word. Most ebook authors I know spend hours submitting their “free book promotions” for consideration to dozens of freebie email lists; no one is doing this for them in exchange for giving their books away for free.
I suggest the following regarding pricing of ebooks: for each 10K words, charge a dollar. For example, if the book has 50K words, charge 4.99, 100K or more words, charge $9.99. Unless your book, or novella has 10K words or less, don’t sell it for 99 cents!
As writers we must stop the selling of our work for a mere pittance. If we continue to offer our novels that we have slaved over for months, and sometimes years, for 99 cents or in free giveaways, we’ll never be able to make a living off of our sweat. In the meantime we’re lumping ourselves in with individuals who jot off a 10-page list on how to score with a woman, or someone who submitted a 5 page document of their grandma’s cookie recipes. Crafting a novel is worth much, much more.
Before you get sucked into the promise of quick fame on the ebook sites, consider what I said. The novel writers of the world must unite and set prices that ensures they make a decent wage for the work they have done.