Tuesday, March 12, 2013
The price of an ebook and me as an author
Just an fyi: I've gotten a few people who mention price is too high or just right on my books as part of their review or even email me or my publisher, and I hear this same complaint across the board on big name authors as well.
Price is out of my hands. Seriously.
When a publisher is involved I have no control over the price. And seriously there are a lot of people the cover price has to pay salaries for. I get a percent but they still have to pay the distributor, the cover artist, the editors (usually about three), the publisher, and any number of other people from the person who answers the phones at the office to a receptionist.
Smaller publishers or Indie Publishers tend to have smaller staff and therefore lower prices than most of NY. Indie Authors are the ones who are giving away most their work for free, or for 99 cents.
I have felt for a long time this is lowering the value of books, and the authors hard work to be done too often. This isn't to say that I don't do it myself. I try to give a free read once or twice a year as a thank you to my readers but I don't usually do it to spice up my own sales because I think it's ineffective for me.
I am very thankful for the people that do support me and buy my books, and those people help put food on my table. I can't continue to work in this business if I don't get readers who buy my books, however I really don't have control over the pricepoint. Actually there is a lot I don't have control over, the cover art, the blurb, all of it is something the publisher has it's hands on. I'd like to say I control the story, but even that is subject to my editor's beliefs and the publisher's publication guidelines.
I am happier working for a publisher than not. I don't want to be creating my cover work, hiring editors and am not so controlling that I have to or want to micro-manage every mind numbing detail of the writing process. Things aren't going to change in that regard. I can't have all my writing time taken up by these kind of details which I have never enjoyed.
So, please try to be understanding that the complaints about pricing aren't landing on deaf ears but I have no control over that. I really don't.
And as much as I'd like to say it doesn't affect me, it does. I try not to put myself in my books but every book I create has a little bit of me in it. Whether it took a year or a month to write. I'm still not as fast a writer as a lot of my peers and I don't expect to ever get there, but saying the book is not worth what you might spend on a cup of coffee or a hamburger at McDonald's is rather insulting when I spend three months to a year on a novel length book that will only sell for around five dollars. Which is still way less than the big League books are selling for. Every 50 Shades book is $9.99 just for the kindle copy and I paid it to be able able to read the book. As the author, I get pennies of my book sales which are not even close to the same league as those guys.
So, I'm sorry I can't fix it but please don't ask me to take a paycut either. So go ahead and slam me for bringing it up, but this kind of thing is not always spoken about and I love my readers, I really do, but this is like complaining the sky is blue, because it is.