Saturday, February 11, 2012

Isn't a Workman Worth His Wage?

With my first novel coming out, I'm paying more attention to posts from other authors. Help me out here. I see a number of free book offerings being pitched, as well as the minimum 99 cents. This could be my age showing, but when anything is reduced to the absolute minimum, I think poor quality. Yet, I know this isn't the case, particularly when I see books I've read and enjoyed being discounted to the ridiculous.

I can understand Amazon Kindle offering some classics free to entice readers to use their product, but I believe craftsmen and women should be rewarded for the excellence of their work. Enlighten me.   


Jack Eason said...

Welcome to the murky world of publishing Bill. It matters little whether or not you are an established author, or a first timer, or whether your work is published by one of the big six publishing houses, a small press, or self published. Once it has been published, you as the author, have zero say in what outlets like Amazon price our work at.

Joanie said...

As an avid reader--in all medium--here's the way it all works for me:
1) Free or discounted Kindle books are a good way to get me to try an author I've never tried before, or to try a new (as yet unread) series by an author I already know. There are so many wonderful new books out all the time, anything like this can give me the necessary push to try something or someone I wouldn't necessarily have tried before. And because I'm am such a devoted fan of any author who meets all my personal writing criteria, if I like what I read I'm most likely going to go back and buy up the author's back list, and read any new book in hardback. I realize not everyone is like me, but that pretty much sums up what free or discounted Kindle books do for me, personally.
2) Another thing I've noticed about books offered as free or discounted is that they "climb the charts", so get the opportunity to be recognized by readers who may not have caught them on their cheap weekends, but see the title later, learn that it has thousands of new fans overnight, and give an opportunity for great books that may have languished in the shadows of all the latest Patterson and Roberts books to have their day.
3) Finally, if I'm going to buy a Kindle book, it cannot cost the same as a paperback. I know publishing companies have their arguments for the agented pricing they use, but if I'm using my Kindle reader, and my electricity to charge my battery to read the book, I must have a cheaper than paperback price. Frankly, my cutoff is usually in the $5 range since these are book I purchase that the publishing company did not have to use ink or paper or glue or delivery trucks or anything else to get into my hands. I'll pay for writing and editing, but I refuse to pay for everything I don't use when I buy a digital book.

Thanks for the question!

John Biggs said...

Network television is free. Radio is free. The Internet is free--including Facebook. Music downloads are almost free. The first taste of heroin is free--so I'm told. Add all that to the fact that writers are desperate to be read and you've got the perfect recipe for poverty.

I agree with you Bill. Low price implies a secret profit or poor quality.

Tracy Crump said...

Joan made some great points. I also think that much of this low pricing originated with Amanda Hawking who gained attention in 2010 for self publishing and selling 164,000 ebooks for $.99-2.99 (see Jane Friedman even mentioned her at the Arkansas Writers Conference last summer.

Since you are e-publishing with Amazon, you can set your own price, but you might want to read this article about John Locke, one of Amazon's million-Kindle-seller club: It highlights both the good and bad of low pricing.

Lots to think about, Bill. It's good to study the market and know what you're getting into.