This will just take a moment and then we can go back to talking about things that aren’t nearly as awkward as money… which is a pretty funny thing to say, actually, when you consider that I usually write about love and sex which can be plenty freaking awkward, amirite?
But money is like the most awkwardest thing. Except maaaaybe politics?
So I’ll try to make this short and story-like so it’s not too boring.
See that image? It’s a photo I took of my daily planner for last week. It shows part of my to-do list for June 5th–the release date for The Longest Night.
I colour code my planner, so that is in different colours because I wrote each of those lines on two different days.
The day I decided June 5th was going to be the release day I wrote it in my planner in green. Weeks later when I figured out how I was going to price the story I made a note to raise the price on release day from the $0.99 pre-order price to $2.99. Then, and here’s the important part, I added, “Yes. Do it.”
Because Past Me knew Future Me was going to look at that note and go, “Uh-uh. Nope. No one will pay $2.99 for the story…”
Which is exactly what happened. I opened up my planner June 4th, looked at the note and thought, “If I raise the price to $2.99 no one will buy it, and then all the work I put into it will be for nothing.”
But then I looked at the extra note Past Me left me, “Yes. Do it.” and I thought “You’re right, Past Me. If I don’t value my work, no one else is going to do it for me.”
What I do is a work of heart, as they say, but a girl’s gotta eat too.
Readers have been conditioned to expect ebooks to be really inexpensive but the thing is, for every book I sell for $0.99 on Amazon I earn $0.35.
At $0.35 a book, it makes it very difficult to break even, let alone make a profit.
For example, editing and the cover for The Longest Night cost me a combined total of about $250 (which is pretty freaking cheap, all things considered).
At $0.35 a book I’d need to sell over 700 copies to break even and I don’t have a big enough audience to do that in anything resembling a timely manner.
There are things I can do to grow my audience–advertising, promotions like BookBub and the like–but those usually require discounting the price of the book… which is tough to do when the book is already $0.99.
So from here on out I’m going to try listening to Past Me.
Now and for the foreseeable future. I will discount my pre-orders as low as I can manage (usually $0.99) and then at release I’ll increase the price to maximize my margins and the opportunities I have to promote the book and increase sales.
I think I’m going to base future prices largely on word count so the scale will look something like this:
- 10k words or less: Free – $0.99
- 10k – 25k words: $2.99
- 25k+ words: $4.99
I think that’s a fair way to price things that means you get the maximum value for your dollar and I get to feel valued and maybe make enough money to be able to afford to produce the next book.
I know some people sincerely can’t afford more than $0.99 a book so I will commit to keeping my pre-order prices very low to fit those budgets, and will continue to offer opportunities for people to read my books for free in exchange for a review or, sometimes, just as a way of saying thank you for your support.
The exception to this pricing scale may be in regard to Erotica Under Glass since that already has a different price model… but I won’t be open to under glass prompts again for a while yet (too many other things on the go) so we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Speaking of books? I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention that The Longest Night came out last week and if you haven’t got a copy of it already, now is a great time to do that LoL