Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Is it too Much?

This will be short and sweet.

Earlier this morning, I was part of a thread on Facebook where a reader was lamenting about the cost of an e-book that had under seventy pages. Don't blink. You read that correctly. 

Seven. Zero. 

Less than 70. Of course, readers chimed in and offered their opinion and outrage. I mean the author wanted over ten dollars for this less than seventy page product. Yes, that too you read correctly. 

Ten. Zero. Zero. 

More aptly, $10.99 and that is before the lovely Amazon charges the tax. $10.99 for a book with less than 70 pages. *insert side eye here*. Excuse me while I take a moment to myself. Go on ahead and do the same.

At first I shared my views how a Word document re-formatted via CreateSpace condenses an author's page count and encouraged those on the thread to look at word count. But as I drove to work I got riled up. Everywhere we go, our budgets are being squeezed. Gas price is up ... too damn high if you ask me. The cost of food is way up. Have you seen how much even the supposedly cheapest chain store wants for milk?  

This is how my piggy bank feels.

On all sides and by everything, the few dollars earned at my 9-to-5 is being sucker punched by this thing called life. It's to be expected because I need gas to drive to go to work and hell, I sure do need to eat.

I read for pleasure, to get away from my daily life. When the cost of my hobbies start to make me wonder at my continued support, something is wrong. As a budding author, I know that the price of our books are out of our hands especially when one is signed to a publishing house. But what about those self-publishing authors who price their books so high a reader, unfamiliar with the author's work, wonders what he or she is really getting?

Granted an author can choose to do whatsoever he or she pleases. They wrote the book. They poured, hopefully, hours and hours over the correct word choice. They've developed a riveting story with plot twists that'll have readers guessing. At the end, the author should know the quality of their work and the potential enjoyment a reader may get at the very end. However, I encourage all authors this one thing: remember the day when you were just a reader ... when you were excited it was pay day and you got the chance to visit the local bookstore. Remember that day? Remember how you knew beforehand you could only spend a certain dollar amount on books? 

For the love of all that is good, and the fact that authors need readers, please don't price yourself out of being included on a reader's e-reader. Be smart. Don't overcharge yet don't undersell your product either. It's a balance. It's probably a hard decision to price your creativity. But please charge me and the other readers what your book is realistically worth and if an author is considering to charge an extraordinary price, ensure the end (the cost) is justified.

Just my two cents. What's yours?


  1. I'd never buy 70 pages for $11. I have a short 50 page story and I feel bad about charging 99 cents for it. On my website I have it for only 50 cents. My novels (which are short for novels) are on sale for 99 cents, and only $2 & $3 regularly. I wouldn't even pay $11 for a paperback. Unless it is 1000 pages.

    1. It is absolute madness and the person who'd even consider that I'd like to meet. Thanks for sharing, Kristi.

  2. For some reason, my first response didn't stick...

    I agree fully with you! If we're speaking realistically, 11.00 for any book is kind of pricey nowadays but I'd hazard to guess that if it cost that much, it's worth it. I'm a fan of getting what I pay for- if it's .99 and short and sweet, I'm all good. If it's 8.99 and 45 pages- yeah, we're going to have to take a siesta on that. You have hipped me to something I didn't know about Create A Space, so there's that. But as a burgeoning author, I'd pay strict attention to what I'm producing and how to price it accordingly. There's a fine line between alienating potential customers with outrageous prices and selling yourself short. Balance indeed.

    Great post! :)

    1. Sorry about the site eating your post. Balance is most certainly needed as is common sense. Thank you, Anni.

  3. Everyone is trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents. Your word count/page count should equate when it comes to pricing. Don't hike up the price just because you feel you can. It will only impact your sales negatively. People are wary of reading a new author. It's best to ease into the indie world with adequate pricing.

    1. You're right about entering the already crowded self-publishing market with ease. And affordability is just one tool and indie Author should use. Thanks for sharing, Harper.

  4. Hmm...I think I know the book you're talking about. If not, then I saw a similar post, accompanied by the same kind of stunned outrage. But there's one little fly in the ointment that's not addressed here. With the advent of Kindle Unlimited, those subscribers tend to grab higher-priced titles, to get more bang for their buck, so to speak. Thinking they have the chance to read a book they'd ordinarily bypass might tend to keep them engrossed to the 10% mark--the threshold where the author gets paid for borrows. Low page count+high price= KU downloads and reads to the 10% mark, in my mind. So, what you categorize as greed might be exploratory marketing instead, if the book in question is a KU title. Say a reader decides not to stay in the program, but liked the story, and the author has others priced more reasonably. They might check out her catalog, harm, no foul. Indies have the flexibility to play with KU and we need to exploit the hell out of the opportunity, before Amazon works out agreements with publishers. This is a rare chance to level the playing field for indies. The time is now to grab a larger audience. I gotta say, I doubt that anyone's going to recall that she overpriced her title on launch day, either, therefore I'd argue she hasn't hurt future sales. Moreover, let's assume she has sales of 15% of the volume she could've reasonably expected to make at say, a $.99-$2.99 price point. Ladies, that figure would will meet or exceed the total of those sales you all are saying she lost. So, it sounds like an experiment to me, and a good example of thinking outside the box.