Paranormal romance author Zoe Winters was one of the pioneers of e-book self-publishing, before Joe Konrath or Amanda Hocking or any of the other names you may have heard of. She was smart, and strategic — and worked really, really hard — and it’s paid off for her. She has a growing, loyal readership, and is making a living from her writing. I don’t do fangrrl, but if I did I’d probably be a Zoe fangrrl.
So when I heard that Zoe had done a guest post at All Indie Publishing on e-book pricing, I went to take a look. And, as is most often the case, I thought she made some really good points.
Besides just pointing you to the post and saying “What Zoe said,” I’m adding one other point of comparison on pricing. Downloading a single song generally costs 99 cents. That’s become the accepted price point.
But a book isn’t a song. A short story is like a song, maybe, but a book is more like an album. So, if you’re an indie author doing the 99 cent price on your books, ask yourself: does anyone expect musicians to price their albums at 99 cents? If you saw an album that cheap, would you think it was any good? The answer to the first question is certainly no, and I think for most of us the answer to the second question would be no too.
A plea to indie authors: do yourselves a favor. If you want to be taken seriously, as a purveyor of quality material, don’t price your books at 99 cents, unless it’s for a very short time, as a special promotional price. For a short story, sure, 99 cents is a fair price. But longer works are worth more, and should be priced accordingly.
Let’s not train readers to expect e-books to be permanently cheap. It does us all a disservice.