The Inner Workings of Being an Indie Writer: eBooks, Part I
First off, I just want to say I don't claim to be an expert at this book thing. I simply love to write, and I love it even more when people enjoy what I write. THAT, and THAT FIRST AND FOREMOST, is what drives me to write. If I didn't love it, I wouldn't do it.
Personally, I think if you go indie and expect to have results like John Locke or Amanda Hocking, you're fooling yourself. Their results are atypical. Making money and being indie is kind of an oxymoron starting out, at least. :) All I'm saying is don't quit whatever day job you have. You probably will need to pay the electricity bill to keep your computer humming, and you want to do that to write more. :-P Which brings me to my first point in this "Inner Workings" saga I'm going to embark on (save yourselves and run away now!): the ever-constant point of conversation, the .99 cent book.
There is constant controversy over the .99 cent book. Some say it's good, some say it's bad. I'm not trying to say I know anything that anyone else doesn't, but I'll share my opinions, and I'd love to hear yours. :) I have my initial book, BRIDGER, for .99 on Amazon. I've played with different price points for it, but at the end of the day, my hope is that people enjoy BRIDGER and will pick up my other books because of it. Call it a leap of faith. If they like one, that's usually a good indication that they'll like the others, right? Who knows. But that's the reason BRIDGER is .99. The sequel to BRIDGER will be in the $2.99 range. FORBIDDEN is $2.99.
Which brings me to my question: does price indicate the readability or quality of a book? I'd like to think not. I put my books through rounds of beta reading, personal editing, as well as hiring a professional editor. I hire a cover designer and make sure the covers are just as appealing as those books traditionally published. There's a stigma on indie publishers, and we need to do our best to prove that stigma wrong.
But, how do we as indie writers compete with traditionally published books if we don't charge less for our books? That's a quandary I've yet to figure out, myself. Then you have the traditionally published eBooks on Amazon that are selling for $7.99 and $8.99. To me, that seems ridiculous, when you can run to Books a Million or Barnes & Noble and pick that same book up in paperback for nearly the same price. I understand that going the traditional route, there are way more people that need to get paid which results in that higher cost. BUT...for the reader, is it worth it? For other writers, is it possible for us to charge that? In my opinion, no. That higher price cuts the opportunity for reads down as an indie writer, I think. **I THINK**. I could be wrong, but that's just my opinion. So how do we compete, unless it's with a cheaper price?
What's the "right" price for a book? Many people claim the .99 cent books have a stigma of being poorly done, while others hope it's a jumping off point. Some people claim the $2.99 point is the "perfect" spot for indie writers. Personally, I haven't found a sweet spot for my books yet, but BRIDGER has been increasing in sales each month, and I'm hoping that's an indication of what's to come.
I read an article from the Huffington Post that talked about eBooks and indie publishing. The writer made an excellent point. From a writer's standpoint, for the work involved in writing a book, paying for an editor/cover designer, etc., a .99 book hardly makes any of it worth it monetarily. But, from a reader's standpoint, what's a price point that you're willing to take a chance on a writer you haven't heard of before? I'd love to know.
For now, I think BRIDGER will stay .99 and FORBIDDEN $2.99, but that's not to say they'll never change. I want to reach my audience as best possible.
Readers and writers, unite! Let's talk about this. Looking forward to your comments. :)