Sorry for the lack of postings/tweets/facebook messages, I’ve been stuck without my main computer! It died about two weeks ago and I’m still in limbo with it. I could replace the hard drive, but at this point, It may make more sense to simply get a new computer. Not sure yet.
Anywho, onto my main post.
As self-published authors, we are always facing the latest push to devalue our work. The average pricing for an ebook dropped roughly 50% this last year, according to a recent study. (I’ll find the source, but heard it on the radio!) So even the main stream publishers are facing pressure to reduce the price of their work. Understandably, there is pressure on self-published authors to get our work in ‘under the wire’ so to speak, at a reduced price, because hey, everyone likes a deal, right?
Consider what goes into making a book: Time + Money + Effort = Finished Product. You spend hours writing, revising, fixing a novel. Then you probably spend money sending it to someone else to be edited, revised, tweaked. You spend money on getting good cover art because, hey, people DO judge a book by it’s cover. You put in effort to promote, to network, to do all the legwork yourself or with only a few volunteers.
Face it: You, the self-published (or small-published) author works incredibly hard for your money. Why should you not ask people to pay for your work? And not just a pittance either. $0.99? for a full length novel?
If you spent $1,000 crafting your novel, and you sell it for 99 cents, using Amazon’s algorithm (i.e – 35% of each sale is yours), you would have to sell 2800 copies of your novel just to break even. Before any advertising & such. I once heard a quote somewhere that said the vast majority of self-published authors never sell more than 50 books.
Sell your novel for 1.99, you make 66 cents each book – you’ve cut the number of books needed to break even down to 1500. Already you’re doing a lot better. Up it to $2.99, and now you’re making 70% of each sale, 2.09 – now you only need to sell 478 novels sold.
If you truly think your work is only worth 99 cents, then sell it for that amount. Sometimes people ask me why my novella isn’t 99 cents. Because I don’t think it is worth that. Will I reduce the price in the future? Maybe. It is a short novella. But true fans will buy your work, regardless of whether it is 99 cents or 1.99 or 2.99. A true fan will not ignore your work because it costs a dollar more. Then it is simply someone who is out looking for 99 cent books, not someone looking for you.
So what is the point of this? Readers believe that everything should be cheap or free. But quality has a price. If you want readers to come to you because of the quality of your work, price it accordingly.
Thanks for letting me rant 🙂
Here’s what some other people have said…
- The Bane Of Self-Publishing: Set Your Price (theliterarysyndicate.com)
- The rise of the 99-cent Kindle e-book (reviews.cnet.com)
- How much is a Book Worth? (dodgingarrows.wordpress.com)
2 thoughts on “What is your novel worth?”
Interesting post. For me, it made me think very deeply about the meaning of the word ‘worth’, because of course an author will ascribe huge sentimental value to their novel (their literary baby)! And maybe inflate their price accordingly. The flip side of the coin as well, is that authors want to sell their work and so cheapen something great thinking that’s the only way they’ll go!
Very true. It’s the same reason some authors use DRM and others refuse to…
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