There's Me And Then There's...Everyone Else?



All I can tell you is my personal preferences as a consumer and a reader. If I don’t know the author, don’t have any reviews to check and can see they don’t have other books, I wouldn’t be willing to spend more than $4.99 on them, and only if the book actually appealed to me, has a great cover, etc. I am much more willing to pick up an unknown book and take a risk when it’s cheaply priced. I’ve picked up books before for cheap or free, liked it, then gone on to pay more for the sequels in a series. I’ll go the library, read a book and if I like it buy it later.

I like deals and saving my money. It’s why I love my Kobo, the ebooks are typically cheaper than the physical copies. I rarely pay full price for even physical hard copy books from stores. Only book I have payed full price for out of my own spending money to have the physical copy of in the past three years is the Illuminae Files. Everything else I buy on the clearance rack when it’s been discounted to 3-7 dollars, or I got as a birthday/Christmas present, or I bought the ebook which was cheaper anyway.

Is it unfair that people have to under-price so much compared to people like Stephen King? Yes, and no, if you want my honest opinion. They’re providing a consumable good, I don’t think there can be this cut and dry arbitrary cost to how much creativity is worth. That’s the problem with creative pursuits, you can’t set a standard so easily. How do you measure and quantify it? How do you factor in individual tastes of readers, does it “lower” the worth of the creative person? And honestly, those traditionally published books people are paying more for, those authors are not seeing as much of that money as we think. They are partly so expensive because of the money that went into making them, the departments and teams that had to be paid to get that book out there, etc.

I’m not going to skip buying my loose leaf tea for the week, which brightens my whole day, so I can spend money on a first time author with no reviews, who’s book I’m not interested in, just for the sake of supporting art. Maybe that makes me a Snob, but I’m just gonna sip my tea and read the Beauty and the Beast Re-telling I picked up for 2.99 and not cry about it.

At the end of the day, when you get right down to it, I only buy books I have a desire to read. Make a book that gives me a strong enough desire to read it, and I will pay what it takes to read it.


This simply isn’t true. Most of my books are priced at $4.99 (approx 100k) and I have no issue selling them. My bestseller on Kobo is $12.99. People have no problem paying for books they will enjoy.

As you have been told repeatedly - number of words does not equate quality or a compelling story. If people aren’t buying then something in the cover/blurb/sample triangle isn’t doing its job.

I also note you are gifting your book to people - be aware you could fall afoul of Amazon for rank manipulation by gifting multiple copies (gifting is covered in the TOS). It still won’t increase the chances of someone reading the book as a gifted ebook doesn’t have to be redeemed for that particular book, the person can effectively use your “gifted” copy as a 5.99 gift voucher to buy something else.

As you have been told repeatedly - most readers don’t like to take a chance on a debut author, which is why KU is recommended because they can try your work “for free” as it were while you build up your catalogue. Readers are more likely to buy subsequent books when they know and enjoy your work.


Your paperback cost is fine, it is the ebook cost that you might want to reconsider. $5.99 isn’t too bad if that’s the Canadian price, but it isn’t. I, for the most part, refuse to pay $8+ for an ebook. I did get yours to support you, but ya.

I rarely buy my fav authors ebooks for that price as I can often get a mass paperback for a similar price.

You may have been working on your stories for decades, but really that means nothing to the mass market. They don’t know you or your writing. This is why it benefits a new author to use a lower price on their first book. It helps pull people in.

Writing is only one side of the game. After you publish is another, and you have to start from the bottom and work your way up. Once you have a few books under your belt, then you can likely charge more.

There is a reason why sales exist…


You’re self-pubbed. The self-pubbed market has thousands of millions of books in it trying to compete. If you look around more you’ll see many self-pubbed authors have lower prices. That’s because the lower prices actually gets them more buyers than if they had higher prices. People don’t want to shell out a lot of money for a self-pubbed ebook and personally that makes sense.

Maybe read about the experiences of other self-pubbed authors. It could help.

AFAIK the optimal pricing for a debut self published author on Amazon is 3.99

Hope this helps.


That’s because those things are well known, and whoever buys it knows they will like it or even love it. If they buy your book and they turn out to hate it, they just wasted 16 bucks. That makes you think twice. If an author is well known, like, say, Rick Riordan, he can raise ridiculous prices for his story, because everyone knows him and knows that his books = quality. For an unknown author, that is a little different - or so I think.


That’s a good point and a great way to say it. Just to add to that, they are also different things fulfilling a different purpose. Like, that morning coffee is not going to be replaced by reading a book and vice versa. Even going to a movie is different than a book: you’re typically going with another person or group as a shared social event, it’s an outing, etc. Even a Blu-ray is a different way to experience story than a book, it’s a promised experience with a guaranteed start and end time. It relies on actors that you can know and follow independent of the work they’re involved in, plus most blu’rays include bonus material like the making of eith interviews and documentaries, etc.


Exactly. I’m a prolific reader. I buy about 2 books per week for my Kindle, and my first port of call is the sample download. If an author falls at that hurdle, I don’t buy. If they have no ratings, I’ll give them a go. If they have bad ratings and no good ratings, I won’t buy. If the blurb grabs me, I’ll buy but only if the book is priced low. I don’t even buy Stephen King at his Kindle price of £9.99, because that’s too high and I won’t purchase it out of principle just because he’s famous. My ideal purchase was The Terror by Dan Simmons, a well known trad published author, the book is on Kindle, nearly 1K pages and priced at £4.99.

I’ve read some great indie books on my Kindle but they were nearly always low priced.


It’s 8 bucks a ticket where I am.


Hey man, I deeply sympathise with artists (especially independent artists) being asked to lower their prices because some potential consumers can’t/aren’t willing to meet it. Some have very valid reasons, but the point stands: You price yourself according to your value. But if you are unwilling to adjust that value for whatever reason, then two things must happen:

  1. You must swallow the fact that you’ll miss out on some people. Swallow it whole. No shame in that.

  2. Elevate your product’s value so that it is undeniable at its price. P. Djeli Clark published a novella with Tor. The publisher set the eBook at $3.49 last I checked. Conventional wisdom says that’s risky for a novella, especially from a relatively new author. ‘The Black God’s Drums’ did just fine. Some reviewers mention the price – most agree that it’s worth it. Would it have sold better at 0.99c or even $2.99? YUP. But Clark and Tor produced a great product and got it into the hands of people who would want to buy it.

All P. Djeli Clark could control was the product. You’re one up: you can dictate your price and into which hands it goes. But that’s about it. Focus on what you can control.


Good points here. In principle, I do agree with Schuyler, people are willing to fork out money for a lot of things, but not books. I read an article on the subject (I wished I had kept it) and the gist basically was “Unknown authors should be happy to get ANY money for their “stuff”. They should pay their readers.” Well, even famous authors were unknown once.
I’m willing to try new authors, I check out the cover, the blurb, the first pages. If I like it and it has a fair price - 5.99 for a long book of good quality is very fair to my mind - i will buy it.
I’m very wary of free books, low-priced books etc. Experience has shown me those are the self-pubbed ones and while there are true gems among them, a lot of them are not even paste.
Self-pubbing means being professional, and that includes fair pricing.
And the rest.
But yes, there seems to be the approach that any price is too expensive and that I do not agree with.


Is it just me? For someone willing to buy a $3.99 ebook, is an extra dollar going to stop them from buying it. I mean, what’s $5 nowadays?


Does anyone here seriously NOT know your “little story”? Yes we know it took you a long time, but to be honest I’m getting tired of hearing this over, and over, and over, you don’t need this preamble with every post.

No one is complaining about your price. People are trying to help you understand the business to make you more successful and you are just ignoring them…which is fine…but we also are posting so that you don’t leave the wrong impression with new authors that might not know truth from fiction.

So I don’t know what Quotev is, but the opinion on one person shouldn’t dictate how you price your book.

When speaking of ebook pricing…well, of course you CAN, you don’t WANT TO. Which is fine. Length is one consideration on price, but only one factor. The truth is the readers will determine your price rather than you in that if it’s too high they won’t buy. But at this point, your price is meaningless as people don’t know your book exists, the tree in the forest for no one to hear. So whether that tree was $100 or $20 makes no difference, for the vast majority of readers it doesn’t exist and it’s price is meaningless.

[quote=“SchuylerThorpe, post:1, topic:46148”]
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.”

That price for a trade paperback of that number of pages is a good bargain. My publishers charge $16 and $17 for my trade paperbacks and some are much larger than that and others much smaller.

Seriously? You think length is why people aren’t reading your book? Again I doubt few people know your book exist. But I’m pretty sure no one who does know is looking at the # of pages and factoring that into their buying decision. People buy books because.

  1. People have recommended it to them (or they have heard good things about it)
  2. It has a compelling blurb (an interesting premise).
  3. It has a good number of high-ranking reviews
  4. They read the “sample” and found the writing worth their while.

At this point they have made their decision and then price/length comes into play if too high (given the size) – I.e. a 100 page book for $8.99 they may back off but if at your price and your page count you aren’t scaring away people at this stage you aren’t getting past 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Not even remotely true. Stop spouting things without proof. Rarely do people with one book use “free” - When it is used, it’s used by people who have a long back list, and it’s used by people with good track records and a large number of reviews. Free has it’s place - but where you are now…no it’s not (a) expected or (b) a good idea.

Well your suffering hasn’t been very “silent” ;-). But here’s the thing…you NEED TO TURN THINGS AROUND. Stop thinking about you, you, you, and start thinking about your audience…the people who give you their time and money. You are so concerned with yourself that you ignore the potential people who are ultimately going to provide you support.

Of course they can. I sell thousands of books each month at $9.99 - $14.99 so people CAN and do buy books at that price. And three of my books are self-published and at $7.99, $9.99, and $9.99 respectively.

Many of my indie friends have books priced at $4.99 - $5.99 and a look at their sales ranks says they are doing well.

Does your book bring as much enjoyment as any of those things? If so, then people will buy it. If not, then of course they are going to spend money on things that bring them more pleasure.

Have they? Who? The one guy on that one site? Have thousands come to you and said, I want to buy your book but at $5.99 it’s too much? No? Do thousands even know your book exists? Again I highly doubt any “readers” are writing you to say it’s too high.

It’s not.

You really have to stop being such a narcissist. It’s not about YOUR book. No one even knows your book exists! Stop the persecution complex.

Well, actually Amazon launched digital publishing in 2008. “Amazon released the Kindle, its first e-reader, on November 19, 2007, for US $399. It sold out in five and a half hours. The device remained out of stock for five months until late April 2008.”

As someone who was digital publishing at that time, I can tell you that today has FAR LESS self-publishing stigma then back then.

I doubt it. If anything the prices are going to continue to go down. Now, the “race to the bottom” has slowed…and I think it is mainly becuase self-publihsed authors rightly have been increasing their prices. But the last thing you want is for traditional publishers to lower prices. The thing that keeps indies alive is that traditional books are often $9.99 - $15.99 andn that gives a nice window for indies to slip in a story at $4.99 - $5.99

You are right - your sacrfifices, struggles, and invested income means nothing to readers. They owe you NOTHING. It’s you who owe them a good story and if you provide such they will happily pay you for that.

Again, I doubt anyone is complaining about your price, and as for getting your money back…you COULD be doing things to help with that but your refuse to listen to anyone because you are already convinced as to why your book failed…and it’s not even been out a week yet? Do you know how many copies of my first book I sold in it’s first week? None. In 2008 I was HAPPY to sell 1 - 2 copies a MONTH!

No one can MAKE readers pay for something they don’t want.

Whether you created something of value is not yours to decide. It is the readers who are the ultimate gatekeeper and they will decide if you produced something worth their time and money or not.

You are NOT unique. ALL authors who release their first book are in the EXACT same sitauation as you.

Self-publishing does require an investment, but spending money doesn’t grant you want you want, dream or cherish. There is no “store” where you can go to buy such things.

Again, you are making assumptions with no evidence to base them on.

Again, this is not a situation specfic to you.


My first book (135k word epic fantasy) has always been priced at 4.99 (except during promotion periods) and I have never had problems selling. Personally, I just feel there is a psychological leap from 4.99 to 5.99 . . . but that might be just me. Regardless, I feel 4.99 is a reasonable price where I make a decent amount (3.30) and shouldn’t deter anyone but the most thrifty. Most of the writers I hang out with - good-selling fantasy writers putting out 100k+ word books with good covers and editing - now charge 4.99 or 5.99.


Not just you. I see no difference between $3.99 and $4.99. Heck even $5.99 is still in that “impulse buy” state.


That’s you and me. But I wonder if the typical person assumes a self-published book (without a reputation of being great) shouldn’t be more than free or a little more than free. I think that might be the stigma with self-published books.


As a frequent Amazon reader - I honestly don’t even look at the publisher to see if it’s self-pubbed or not. I look at the cover first, then the blurb, the preview and sometimes the reviews.

If the reviews is all “This book is horrific and the editing is terrible.” I’ll pass.

If the reviews are all based on personal opinion about the plot and stuff, then I’ll probably buy it. (If it passed my cover, blurb and preview check)

But I don’t remember ever checking for a publisher except for the times I’ve referenced the books in Uni essays.


I think there are many people who do similar to what you do.


Right? Before Wattpad I honestly didn’t even know you could self-publish. I just found books on Amazon and read whatever. So there might be a ton of self-pubbed books in my library. I’ve never checked.


When you might buy several books a month, quite a lot.


I’ve complained about the price, but not because 5.99 is expensive, but more so because the CAD dollar sucks and 2 more dollars get tacked on to the 5.99 in Canada, making it like 8.07.

I personally think if he could get the Canadian dollar for his book under $7 dollars he’d do much better, especially as a new author. But biggest thing of all is his need to advertise, which I don’t think he has done much of yet.