Publishing Time - The Final Decision
So I came to the point in the publishing process I was dreading.
My finger hovered over my mouse, the arrow on the screen pointed at the "Save and Publish" button.
I gritted my teeth, and clicked "Save for Later" instead.
The question was:
Do I go with the majority opinion, and publish at the $0.99 (USD) rate suggested to new authors, or a different, perhaps higher price?
The theory behind the $0.99 price is that "anyone will buy anything for a buck," and it's a good way to get a following. Also, who is going to pay $3.99 or more to explore a new author? The author could really suck after all, and then the reader would be left with a sour taste in her mouth and an empty feeling in her wallet.
I've read a lot about the pricing question over the last few weeks from a variety of author blogs and marketing advice books.
There is a counter argument, and it is best framed by the saying:
"What is my (the author's) time worth?"
It can take more than a year, more than a few in some cases, to put a book together and smooth out all the rough edges. Between plot continuity, grammar, spelling, and most importantly, storytelling, quality writing is a huge time investment. It's paid for with time spent away from family, friends, and hobbies. The writing process can mean tough choices and a lot of guilt, too.
When you have a spouse, lover, or roommate who loves spending time with you, writing is a sacrifice for them as well. They do it because they love you, because they want to see you shine and be happy, but that only cushions the blow to both of you. They feel your absence, and you feel guilty for choosing your project over being together. When you write, as every author knows, you are spending more than your own time on your work.
So what does this all add up to? Is $0.99 a fair payment for all of this?
Some authors I've read say no, but the vast majority say yes to $0.99 or pricing like it -at least for the first book or two. The truth of the matter may be that your work is worth more than $0.99 per download, but this seems like a narrow view to me. My gut instinct tells me that it is a fair price given that I will probably have more readers, and therefore more sales, at $0.99 to make up for the supposed "loss" of revenue if I set a higher price.
An expanded reader base means more people talking, tweeting, blogging, and Facebooking about that cool new book they just read. If I did my job as an author and submerged the reader in a fantastic world, if I was able to put that feeling of "wow, that was a good book" in a reader's mind, then maybe that $0.99 price will translate into a continued and larger readership as time goes on. That's something I very much want, because I've already got a draft of the sequel to Blood Siren completed and more books in mind waiting to hammer out on digital paper.
$0.99 for my first novel seems like a win for the reader, and a win for me, too.
I hope you'll agree.
(Blood Siren Book One will be available soon on Amazon.com!)