Pros and Cons of a “Cheap” Book – And I’m putting my prices up.


There is a balancing act that has to go on when selling a work of fiction – you want it to be affordable because you want it to sell, but if you make it too affordable, there’s a whole layer of readers who won’t touch it for being “too cheap” – I write double-sized books – the series started that way and I want to keep it that way, and being new and unknown at the beginning (naturally), I chose to make my work very cheap as enticement, which is also the reason I give away the first in the series as often as I am allowed to by Amazon/Kindle, simply so people can find me at little or no cost to themselves.

The paperback priced itself, costs of production dictated what a near 600 page large paperback size book should cost, but I saw no reason to have the Kindle copy anywhere near the same price. As a newbie, I looked around and never did get a handle on why some authors price their Kindle higher than their paperbacks. Maybe it’s because they sell more Kindle copies and that’s where the money is. Others charge equal amounts or slightly less. I charge only one quarter.

In various forums, there seems to be huge disagreement about prices. The argument goes that you’d never find a best-seller in the bargain basement and if an author treats their work as a cheap book, readers will perceive it as cheap effort and not be enticed. Others say that in these days of ebooks, all books could be and should be affordable for all.

What I have found is that no matter how cheap you price your book, there will be people saying they can’t afford it. My Kindle price is US$4.95. If people cannot afford $4.95, they cannot afford $2.95 or 99 cents, either.

So, it just might be that I have popped myself into the bargain basement, where no best-seller lives, with the thought of helping people who will only accept books for free, anyway. I have shot myself in the foot, in other words. The cheap sales bucket isn’t getting me a lot of sales and I have come to suspect that underpricing myself hasn’t helped.

Writers and artists have to eat, too. I would like to make a living out of this – I put a tremendous amount of time and effort into what I do, and I know my work is worth it. Even the equivalent of a part-time wage would keep me writing. Currently, just earning enough to cover my costs would be fantastic and I’m sure that day is approaching. So, please, it’s not me being greedy for a profit that prompts me to put up my price, it’s being greedy for a better chance and a wider audience.

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