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Old 12-08-2010, 05:52 PM   #1
caleb72
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Question for indie authors - is this profitable?

Sorry for such a daft question, but I guess I'm used to paying quite a hefty sum for novels in Australia with > $30 pretty much the norm for newer releases in paperback.

When I see new novels coming out from $1.99 or $0.99 and that is treated as what is sensible for a new author, I have to admit I'm a little shocked.

I understand the notion of paying your dues and getting a name so presumably more would be charged with each successful book, but I'm just wondering if these really low prices end up being profitable.

And if it isn't that profitable financially (especially considering the investment of time), do the other rewards of publishing a novel make up the difference?

Regards
Caleb
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:27 PM   #2
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Profitability is relative, but the idea behind the low price is to encourage impulse purchases and to remove one of the incentives to pirate it instead. If you publish it yourself, all the profit is yours. If you have some publisher leeching from you then you would need to charge a lot more for your book just to earn the same amount.

It's also a competition thing. If you price yourself at the same level as established/well known writers, people will almost always choose them over you. People like familiarity, so they would be less likely to take a chance on an unknown.

But a lot depends on the size of your target market. The above works well for populist fiction, but if you have a very narrow audience who are under-served and desperate for new fiction you would get away with charging more.
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:21 PM   #3
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Many indies start at $2.99. It generally takes a few months for sales to get going on one's first book. If, after a few months, sales aren't as expected, some authors play with their price. Sometimes increasing it to $4.99 or so improves sales, and sometimes lowering it to $1.99 or $.99 improves sales. Every book has an ideal price point -- we don't know going in what that point is -- and it might change over time!

A $.99 book only yields about $.35 per sale to the author. When the book becomes profitable depends a lot on what the author does to produce and market it. A book with a cover I design myself becomes profitable much more quickly than one I spend $300 to produce.
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:47 AM   #4
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The author of the $30 dollar novel published by a traditional publisher would be receiving about 10% of the sales price - $3.00. An independent author who sells through Amazon would receive 30% - 70% of the sales price on an ebook.

However, independent authors (ordinarily) sell very few books.

For me, no, it isn't profitable. It might one day be, but the satisfaction of having written and having been read outweighs the economics for me. As long as someone's read what I've written - even one person - then I really don't care.
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:46 AM   #5
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***Becoming an author in order to get rich is like going to the desert in order to become wet*** Fascinating insider look at big-house publishing today from JE Fishman here, Caleb: [No tiny urls - please supply direct link - Moderator].

Bear in mind that cover prices in Australia are notoriously inflated. Ebooks might be the answer for an avid reader, though you're faced with similar problems to my own here in France -- geographical restrictions outside the US and UK on so many darned titles. Good luck. Neil

Last edited by Dr. Drib; 12-09-2010 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilmarr View Post
***Becoming an author in order to get rich is like going to the desert in order to become wet*** Fascinating insider look at big-house publishing today from JE Fishman here, Caleb: [tinyurl edited out - Moderator].
Thanks for that - makes interesting reading.

I'm always interested in what drives people though. If I thought I had it in me to put out a great novel, I wouldn't be doing it to become rich. I'd do it because getting it out there was the reward in the first place.

Easy for me to say as I probably don't have a great novel in me and I haven't sweat blood trying to put one together. However, I really like the idea of my work going out into the world and being read by people.

I have web published some depressing poetry in the past, though.

Regards
Caleb

Last edited by Dr. Drib; 12-09-2010 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:52 AM   #7
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Since Neil's link got whacked due to being tiny url'ed (I don't see what's wrong with using short URL's honestly, but hey, if that's what they want, I'm fine with it) here's the original URL in all it's HTTP glory!

http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/j...ok-publishing/
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:56 PM   #8
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OT: short/disguised URLs

Briefly OT:

Quote:
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...(I don't see what's wrong with using short URL's honestly, but hey, if that's what they want, I'm fine with it)...
Most likely as a guard against unscrupulous types disguising spammy or malicious links. Easiest to have a single rule for all, trusted and unknown users alike - no links where you can't see where the link goes, either from the visible link text or by mousing over the link.
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMSmillie View Post
Briefly OT:

Most likely as a guard against unscrupulous types disguising spammy or malicious links. Easiest to have a single rule for all, trusted and unknown users alike - no links where you can't see where the link goes, either from the visible link text or by mousing over the link.
What DMSmilie said. It is, however, perfectly ok to use the Insert Link button to make links prettier without hiding the url (it's available on mouse-over or by copying the link).
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:14 PM   #10
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Removed so I won't be called a TROLL.
LOL (not really, but I did smirk.)
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:21 PM   #11
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queentess, DMSmillie, sounds reasonable enough to me!
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:53 PM   #12
L.J. Sellers
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My e-books, priced mostly at $2.99, are starting to be profitable for me. Meaning, they pay most of my bills. I offer the first book in my series at $.99 to get readers to try my work. This has been effective for me, because I have five other books, and readers end up buying most or all of them. I love being able to reach a lot of readers with reasonable prices.
L.J.
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J. Sellers View Post
I offer the first book in my series at $.99 to get readers to try my work. This has been effective for me, because I have five other books, and readers end up buying most or all of them.
L.J.
This is true. I have bought two of them and plan to buy the rest. I actually read one of the $2.99 ones first, then the .99 one but they were both really good. I first saw them in the sig line and the covers caught my attention. I guess it pays to post on forums like this.

I also bought a book called The Storm Killer by Mike Jastrzebski after the author introduced himself on Amazon's Discussion Boards. I plan to buy his second book too.
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J. Sellers View Post
My e-books, priced mostly at $2.99, are starting to be profitable for me. Meaning, they pay most of my bills. I offer the first book in my series at $.99 to get readers to try my work. This has been effective for me, because I have five other books, and readers end up buying most or all of them. I love being able to reach a lot of readers with reasonable prices.
L.J.
I think this is a really good strategy for authors with multiple books. Amanda Hocking has done this -- and look at her go!
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:10 PM   #15
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What if you just release your first book free, and then offer the rest at "regular ebook price" instead?
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