Thursday, April 28, 2011

If You Can Stand One More Blog on 99 Cent eBooks

Pricing your eBooks at 99 cents is an effective marketing ploy to win new readers. Pricing your eBooks at 99 cents does a great disservice to your work. Pricing your eBooks at 99 cents stimulates interest in new authors. Pricing your eBooks at 99 cents implies your book is crap. The price model of the independent/self/vanity whatever you want to call it publishing nation has polarized readers and authors, far as I can tell from blogs and Twitter. When I attended RT in Los Angeles last month, I saw something I never expected to find at this conference - panels on self-publishing. Thanks to the success of people like Amanda Hocking and HP Mallory, the trend is difficult to ignore. Every time I check All Romance eBooks to see what's new I find familiar authors are now putting out their own stuff alongside publisher releases. Whether it's for the thrill of doing it yourself, or to offer works that don't fit the legacy mold, I don't ask. For me, it's been a six-of-one issue.

I have titles with small digital presses, and I have done some of my own. The reasons for the indie works vary:
  • One work, a Christian YA, had been through two publishers already. I didn't want to try to sell it to another house.
  • Some stories I'd written did not meet publisher word length requirements.
  • Some stories I'd written did not meet genre/heat level preferences.
Everybody has a reason, and the one advantage to self-publication is that you can set your own price point. People bemoan the agency model of $9.99, and I am not really a fan of paying more than that for a book regardless of the format. In researching how other authors work, I decided upon the HP Mallory rubric: $2.99 for a new release, then discount to $.99 after a certain amount of time or when the sequel is released. I personally do not discount because I believe the books are crap. If I thought my books were not fit for public consumption, they wouldn't be for sale. As it happens I still have a means of income, and the eBook sales nicely supplement that. I can tell you that playing around with price points has resulted in sales. Not Mallory numbers, but the night is young. I should note, too, not all of my books are 99 cents. On occasion I do fix a price as an experiment to see if it's noticed. I'd rather have ten 99 cent books sold in a month than zero sold at $2.99. At least I'd be making something.

I also do not plan to stop writing, too. Therefore, rest assured you will see more from me. It'll cost you, but not that much.

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