I’m going to share with you a little story that starts like this:
I am now a published indie author. After 44 years. That’s a long ass time to wait for a book to be published. A long time indeed. And this is the first of many books planned to be released over the next decade (depending on if I still have a job in that time).
So anyways…here’s the thing. People here and everywhere else has complained mightily about e-book pricing. Or to be specific…mine.
See last week–right before Christmas–I had someone on Quotev (of all places) complain that my book prices were simply “too high”. That I should personally lower the prices to about…three dollars for my e-book and nine bucks for my print.
I said, “I can’t do that. The book is 535 pages in length and I cannot see myself going that low.”
As for the print price? That was Amazon’s doing. Not mine. I didn’t say, “Sure. Go ahead and set it to $16.50 and watch people lose themselves over the issue.”
They set the price because 535 pages is a LOT of book!
Lots to read.
This is probably why I haven’t had many sales in the past week since the book went live.
But here’s the thing I’ve noticed: Indie authors like me are expected by and large by the reading public to simply price ourselves under the table (or under market value) or simply give away our books for FREE.
Sounds like a good plan, huh? You toil and suffer in agonizing silence for much of your life and now people want you to give away your hard earned work for free or they want everything on the CHEAP.
Suddenly now…people can’t afford a $5.99 e-book. (Or it will be $6.99 next month after I made an interesting discovery on Amazon over Christmas Day two days ago.)
But a $6 coffee at Starbucks? Sure! $10 DVD? No problem. The first season to Star Trek: Discovery on blu-ray? Piece of cake. It’s money well spent.
That $5.99 e-book sitting on Amazon at the moment.
Now…people’s wallets have suddenly–and mysteriously…shut on that account.
"Can’t afford it. Too expensive." People tell me…time and again.
But…you just spent money on that movie or that coffee at Starbucks.
Why is a $5.99 e-book suddenly so expensive in light of what you and everyone else just pissed away standing in line at either your local Starbucks cafe or Wal-Mart?
Can anyone tell me why? Why a measly $5.99 e-book is now suddenly the most expensive book on Earth to some people?
Um…didn’t you just drop some money on Stephen King’s last book release? You know…those e-books that fetch a price of about $12-14 each? And you have no problem with it?
So why is my book the issue when you guys are doing this and that for other authors but not for me?
Is $5.99 still too much a hassle for you to bear? No? Yes? Maybe? But shelling out $20 for a movie or $6 for coffee isn’t a real problem, or $12 for an e-book from a published author isn’t either, but suddenly an indie author asking for just this much causes you this much financial pain???
Um…when did discrimination against indie authors come into play? Was it right after Amazon launched digital publishing into the world in 2005 and people thought back then that $4.99 for an e-book was too damned much?
Because I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in ten years time, $5.99 or even $6.99 is going to be seen as a bargain for e-books. Because in the future, the mere costs of an e-book is going to continue to climb.
Still don’t think you can afford a movie and my book at the same time? Or how about a copy of The Queen of Air And Darkness and Codename: Velocity?
Still too much for your budgets to handle?
See, the thing is, we always want value for our work. But what is going on lately–and it’s not just me this is happening to–is that people have it in their heads that we have to devalue not only ourselves as writers and authors in the publishing world in order to get ahead, but also our respective works as well.
All that hard work and sacrifice, struggles, and standing out in the dead of winter ringing that bell for the Salvation Army for 4 years so that I could afford the eventual $2500 I sunk into publishing my massive tome means nothing in the grand scheme of things.
You know…some day, I’m going to want that money back. But I can’t do that by under pricing myself on the cheap for other people’s enjoyment or listen to them complain about how my book is so expensive when they just blow a few hundred bucks on movie or book purchases at Wal-Mart.
Or on Black Friday if you want to get technical.
See how the level of hypocrisy and discrimination is so transparent and easy to see against indie authors in this day and age. You’re sitting there and telling me: “Your work is worthless in my eyes. It means nothing to me. So why are you making me pay for it?”
Why? Because I am offering something of value. That’s why I price accordingly. I value what I do as a writer and now as an author and I am expecting the reading public to understand that reasoning without first making a federal case out of it.
Because if money issues are suddenly such a concern for many of you when it comes to my work and only my work, none of you would be where you are today.
So somewhere, somehow…down the line, you had to spend a fortune getting the things you’ve always wanted, dreamed, cherished, or aspired towards.
And you want to know something? I don’t see money in the same context as many of you do. I spend it as I see fit. I don’t haggle over things like I’ve seen online in recent years. The bitching, the bellyaching, the complaining, the “woe is me” routine by so many readers and consumers about e-book pricing.
Particularly from indie authors. Not the mainstream. The mainstream they are fine handing fists of money over as a king’s ransom for one of King’s novels or anyone else’s.
No problem there. But mine and everyone else’s who simply asks for a fair and reasonable price for our hard work? Too much cost. Too much money.
So just remember boys and girls, that same cup of coffee you buy at Starbucks every day is going to cost the same as any one of my future e-books. And that’s not going to change any time soon.