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Old 03-16-2012, 06:37 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by Justin Nemo View Post
I've been researching this question for some time now and arrived at the conclusion that I just don't know!

I was following a post on Linkedin recently, most of the unpublished authors were saying that in order to compete with published authors, you had to be competitive and price your work accordingly, some were selling their books for 99 cents!

Isn't that a contradiction in terms? How can you compete with a published author who has a five book deal with a publishing house and all of the support that provides? I don't understand why the word unpublished has this codicil attached to it that says you have to give your work away for nothing. Are unpublished authors really that desperate? Why do we feel that our work is any less valuable than someone who has a contract with a publisher?

I think it's time that authors (published or not) started to value their work a bit more and price accordingly. But then I guess it depends on why you write. Whether it's because you like seeing your name in print and expect to make a living from it, or if you just love to write. Either way, 99 cents won't cut it.
Historically most of the authors(and artists) have not earned a lot of money - if any.
The fact that people putting in a lot of hours to produce(write) something does not mean their effort is rewarded in the marketplace - no difference to any other trade here ...
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:06 AM   #77
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So the info that's available is a hint, a small clue but we're still really not "familiar" with that author's work.

Not that I'm arguing for 99c prices. I'm arguing we need better ways to find out about new books than "try it out because it's cheap and got some good reviews"
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I think one of the best ways is the ability to preview a portion--sometimes a large portion--of books you may be interested in. While we may not know how the author develops characters and weaves a plot we will definitely be able to tell if we like the writing style and quality.
That works when I've already narrowed it down to a small selection. But there are literally tens of thousands of books available that I "may be interested in" and I don't have the time or patience to read samples of even a small fraction of those.

I think what I'm saying is that if I somehow land on the Amazon (/B&N/Kobo/ANOther ebook store) page for a particular book then the information there - reviews, blurb, ratings, sample is enough to decide whether I want to read it or not. However it's how I get there in the first place, how do I narrow down the field? Not that long ago price was one way - if something was very cheap or free I'd take a look. The problem now is that the very cheap/free field itself is so massive that it's not narrow enough to be useful.

Partly of course it's my problem and my reaction to TOO MUCH CHOICE which means even if something looks good then I'll worry that I'm spending time that I could use reading something better that's almost certainly out there.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:13 AM   #78
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I think most folks shop indy authors differently then most of you do. Many folks will click on Amazon/B&N, go to the free ebook section and then grab what ever looks interesting. Most people that I have spoken with out there in the physical world have LOTS of free unread ebooks sitting on their kindle / nook. At some point they may read those and if the book was good enough, the will then go look for more books by that author.
This used to be my approach until I realised that I was just building up my own personal "slush pile". I wasn't reading from these books very often and the pile was growing much more quickly than I could ever read. In short I'd just moved the problem of TOO MUCH CHOICE from the ebook store to my Calibre library.

So I went through my library and got rid of a most of the free books. Now anything in there is something I intend to read. I'm currently on a self-imposed ban of acquiring any new books until my TBR list is reduced.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:46 AM   #79
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I have a couple comments.

99 cents is certainly the "why the heck not" price for many people, including me.
If something even nominally catches my interest, I'll click the buy button at 99 cents.

At $2.99, I'd have to REALLY like what I see to try an unknown, self-published author.
There are too many free (and 99 cent) books filling my reading list for me to give up the price of lunch at White Castle.

$2.99 is, however, the magic 70% number at KDP, of course, so I know it's allure for authors, and if you feel your book would be undervalued at 99 cents, then $2.99 is the logical number to try. I also know people who have upped their price from 99 cents to $2.99 because of the royalty boost, and indeed find that even though the sell fewer, the are netting more. If money is more important then volume and exposure, there is something to that...if the book is good.

I love the idea of the first book free, and the second book for $2.99, especially with a series. That way, not only do I have the chance to get hooked for free, and not only do I feel a debt of gratitude to that author, but I also immediately average out the cost of all the books in my head, so I never feel like I'm really paying $2.99.

I agree with HarryT and the others on the need for editing.
It's sad that so many people seem to fail to see the harm of skipping that, but, heck, according to a current thread here, many people also fail to see the value of a professionally produced encyclopedia over Wikipedia, so, there you go.
If you can't afford a professional editor (which is a reasonable situation to assume for a new, self-publishing writer) then you can see if a local college English class will help you out, or even try crowd-sourced editing (hey, even Wikipedia-esque quality is better than nothing!) like David Kitson did here on MR with "Turing Evolved."

Last edited by ApK; 03-16-2012 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:47 AM   #80
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This used to be my approach until I realised that I was just building up my own personal "slush pile". I wasn't reading from these books very often and the pile was growing much more quickly than I could ever read. In short I'd just moved the problem of TOO MUCH CHOICE from the ebook store to my Calibre library.

So I went through my library and got rid of a most of the free books. Now anything in there is something I intend to read. I'm currently on a self-imposed ban of acquiring any new books until my TBR list is reduced.
So if you had paid $2.99 for the books instead of nothing or 99c, would you have been more selective about what you loaded onto your kindle, maybe researched a little more about the author and her/his works?
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:48 AM   #81
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If you can't afford a professional editor (which is a reasonable situation to assume for a new, self-publishing writer) then you can see if a local college English class will help you out, or even try crowd-sourced editing (hey, even Wikipedia-esque quality is better than nothing!) like David Kitson did here on MR with "Turing Evolved."
Wow! Totally off topic but I nearly dropped my OJ when I read this. A few months ago I was putting a bunch of free indie titles by authors I'd never heard of on my Kindle. I put "Turning Evolved" on there because I noticed it had thirty or so reviews and a 4.5star rating. I actually read that one too. It was a decent read--decent enough that I actually read it all the way through (although not decent enough for me to be interested in the author's other work).

The point is that I stumbled across it purely through Amazon's systems of reviews and "buyer" tracking. So, in that case, the "free" concept worked out and nabbed a reader. If it was $.99 I wouldn't have bought or read it. If, however, the book was recommended by a credible source I would have had no problem paying $15 for it.

I suggest the author of "Turning Evolved" do some serious SEO optimization for that title though. I Googled it to make sure it was the one I had actually read and it didn't show up in any stores even when I put quotes around the title. I had to go to Amazon and use the search there. Oddly enough, Amazon's buy page didn't even show up at all in the Google search results... Don't know what's up with that.
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:59 AM   #82
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So if you had paid $2.99 for the books instead of nothing or 99c, would you have been more selective about what you loaded onto your kindle, maybe researched a little more about the author and her/his works?
On my Kindle, every single book I paid for I've read--be it $.99 or $15. I have a bunch of free classics and a bunch of free books by writers I haven't heard of. I haven't addressed too many of the books by new writers yet though.

I've had pretty good luck using the buying tools Amazon offers though.

I enjoyed Jack and Mr. Grin by Anderson Prunty enough to buy something else by him. Same goes for The Scioneer by Peter Bouvier.

Most of the other ones are hit or miss. But, then again, so are the classics. I tried War and Peace. I really did. And right now I'm trying to read The Mysterious Island, but I'm getting a bit fed up with the detailed descriptions of each blade of grass...
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:08 AM   #83
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I simply looked at the range of pricing e-books, considered that I am unknown and priced it below a fiver. I thought about going the way of the 99p pricing but I didn't feel that was right for my book. I wrote my book as a challenge more than anything and as yet have done almost nothing as regards advertising or promoting yet I have seen a steady trickle from the digital book shelf purely through the 'pass it on' principle. My achievement has been to write my three books and see them published. Although it's only in the digital world I am still published. My promotion push will come soon, most likely with my next two books now I have had an experience of writing and trawling the publishing world then maybe my books will be priced all the way up to a fiver.
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:38 AM   #84
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Most of the other ones are hit or miss. But, then again, so are the classics. I tried War and Peace. I really did. And right now I'm trying to read The Mysterious Island, but I'm getting a bit fed up with the detailed descriptions of each blade of grass...
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:56 AM   #85
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I suggest the author of "Turning Evolved" do some serious SEO optimization for that title though. I Googled it to make sure it was the one I had actually read and it didn't show up in any stores even when I put quotes around the title. I had to go to Amazon and use the search there. Oddly enough, Amazon's buy page didn't even show up at all in the Google search results... Don't know what's up with that.
Perhaps it's that it's "Turing Evolved", not "Turning Evolved"? (Which itself would be a problem if I was searching on the iPad, with its autocorrection, I suspect.)
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:10 PM   #86
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Perhaps it's that it's "Turing Evolved", not "Turning Evolved"? (Which itself would be a problem if I was searching on the iPad, with its autocorrection, I suspect.)
That's what I get for reading forum posts before I finish my orange juice...
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:24 PM   #87
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So if you had paid $2.99 for the books instead of nothing or 99c, would you have been more selective about what you loaded onto your kindle, maybe researched a little more about the author and her/his works?
I would have been (and was) more selective at that price. That doesn't mean I did more research for $2.99 titles it means they didn't make it on to my radar. And that was pretty much what it had always been - established authors I already knew and liked, recommendations from friends, reviews from e.g. TV or radio from sources I trusted etc. For a brief time there was an extra source which was scouring the free lists.
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Old 03-16-2012, 01:48 PM   #88
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So if you had paid $2.99 for the books instead of nothing or 99c, would you have been more selective about what you loaded onto your kindle, maybe researched a little more about the author and her/his works?
I read and buy a lot of books, and I don't have any that I bought for this magic number of $2.99. There are tons of deals and promotions out there for free or $0.99, by both established-but-new-to-me and brand new authors, that's where I concentrate my efforts and research time. I'm fine paying more for an author I've read and liked, the trick is to get me to read you in the first place, and for that you are competing with the free and $0.99 promotions. You are also competing with all the authors I've read and liked in the past, since they get most of my reading time. Conversely, it is a turn-off for me if all your books are priced at $0.99, that tells me that you don't value your work.

Other readers have different criteria and priorities and I may not be your target audience, so YMMV.
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Old 03-16-2012, 02:27 PM   #89
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I've been experimenting with a lot of price ranges. I have a novella and the first book in a trilogy available free, with the subsequent books for sale at $2.99. When I charged for all of the books in the trilogy, sales were about 5% of what they have been since I offered the first book for free. They were $4.95 on B&N for a while, and not surprisingly sold only a handful of copies.

I have other standalone books for sale for $2 and $0.99 respectively. They are actually selling fewer copies than the $2.99 books, but I'm not sure how much the free initial volume is affecting that. I set the price of the $0.99 book low because it's fairly short (50k words). I actually think it's a good introduction to my work, and may offer it for free at some point to draw more attention to my other books.

I'm working on a new series (which will probably be four books) now, with the first two books published. The first book was selling poorly at $2, so I recently lowered the price of that initial book to $1 when I published the second volume. I've seen a slight uptick but it hasn't been long enough to draw conclusions yet. These are shorter books than my first trilogy (70k words each compared to about 200k), so I felt they should be at least a little cheaper. When I publish the third book later this year I'll probably offer the first book for free and hopefully see the same boost I saw with the trilogy.

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Old 03-18-2012, 01:23 AM   #90
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Personally, I'm beginning to resent this whole thing of readers expecting books for free or for the ludicrous price of just 99c. Some of you seem to think that $2.99 is dear! But you'd pay more for a cup of coffee.

My own books are adult (not porn or even erotica.) I will never make them free because people should consider before they buy them. My publisher set the first at $2.99, and probably the second will be the same. That is very cheap, cheaper than I would have chosen. For a year's work, a great book, $2.99 is an absolute pittance.
Maybe 99c for a Mills & Boon type romance, but for a serious book, try being willing to pay a bit more and you might find you get greater quality.
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