Essay–Mind the Price
As you have probably figured out by my flurry of posts the last couple of months, I’m now what’s called a “hybrid” author. For those not in the biz, this means that I not only publish books via my own publishing company (Shadowpublications.com), I also have a publisher for other titles. My hybrid experience has been incredible thus far and I plan on continuing running both sides. Because, frankly, I have a lot of stories that seem too eclectic for the mainstream publishers, but I love writing them and my patrons want to hear and read them. And who knows? After some serious publicity from The Black release (published by Severed Press), my independently published works might even catch on.
But that’s not what I want to talk about at the moment. Instead, I want to talk about e-book pricing. Readers need to understand something–authors have little to NO control (and NO CONTROL is almost always the case) over how their books are priced by their publisher. Unless you are independent, you can’t nudge the price anywhere. After all, the publisher is supposed to know what’s best for your book, right? WRONG.
Recent studies by Amazon (yes, they’re probably biased, but I agree with them) is that you get more bang for your proverbial buck if you price e-books less than $9.99. Even that is too steep a price in my mind. I’m a software developer. I created MyWrite for authors to sign and personalize e-books. I KNOW what goes into creating a good e-book. Once you have laid out the manuscript for a trade paperback or hardcover, it is absolutely trivial to create one of these things. Basically, the Big 5 (fucking douchebags) want to pass on their costs twice. Once for the printed material, and then again on the e-book to further cover the costs for the printed matter expenses.
This is absolutely ridiculous. They don’t seem to give a flying fuck they could make more money by selling more units. Not to mention, gain an author new readers. Instead, at prices greater than $9.99, they are ensuring that only the loyal (or price invulnerable) readers are going to show up. That’s a serious issue and I think it hurts mid-listers more than anyone will admit.
The huge authors? Yeah, they can survive that kind of pricing model. But if you’re starting out or are already stuck in the dead stacks of the mid-list, then it’s very difficult for you to grow your readership. At least in my humble opinion.
This pricing myopia seems to be in direct correlation to the dinosaur that is big publishing. Evolve or die, fuckers. But don’t drag down your authors with you. That’s just selfish. Not to mention unconscionable. So, Author’s Guild and other morons like Hachette who stubbornly refuse to acknowledge reality, get with it. Or your sales are going to go out the window. Just like your ethics did years ago.