December 21, 2011

Sale or Clearance Values: ROW 80 Check In

I'll be the first to admit it . . . my to-be-read pile grows at an alarming rate when I see 99 cent eBook prices. My heart skips a beat, but my brain pauses. Wait, why is it 99 cents?

I love red tags and clearance. My kids constantly moan when I say I'm not buying something because it's full price. I'll wait for an item to go on sale and will rarely buy something at regular price. Sometimes the waiting makes me appreciate it more.

But there's a difference between sale and clearance. Don't get me wrong, the occasional amazing product marked down beyond all reason will produce an embarrassing squeal of delight from me. More often than not, however, I wonder why an item is on clearance. Is it defective? Unpopular? Not selling well?

As an author, I know the time and energy that goes into a novel or short story or even an article. A piece of me is in every work I produce, a little blood, sweat, and tears if you will. How do I assign a value to that? I'm also an avid reader, and I want to purchase as many books as I can.

Mom and I originally had a small press publishing our novel, Depression Cookies. The owner was a lovely man who encouraged us and was our editor. He helped shape our novel. Unfortunately, he passed away suddenly as we were nearing publication. We panicked. We didn't know where to turn. We turned the wrong way, to Xlibris Corporation. I would self-publish again, and have met an amazing community of independently published novelists, but I would never go through a company like this. However, those rantings are for another post.

Xlibris set our price. $23.99 for a paperback and $9.99 for Kindle. Highway robbery if you ask me. But they didn't. Mom and I sold 600 of our own books (which we purchased for $10+ a piece) for $15. Much more reasonable for a paperback. I didn't know about Smashwords for a long time, and then was completely daunted by it for a while longer, so I didn't think I had any control over my Kindle price.

We are happy to announce that we are in the process of uploading to Smashwords and will be promoting our book there soon.

But, back to pricing. What's a fair price but also shows value and worth? I don't want to turn off a reader, but I also don't want them to question the worth of the product. The reader should be thinking sale, not clearance.

What eBook price screams clearance/less value, and what price seems like a bargain/good value?


My Last ROW80 update for 2011:

I value my ROW80 buds and hope you will offer some guidance on the subject above, although I know many of you struggle with this question.

I've been hard on myself this round about not meeting goals, but I must say I've accomplished more writing this holiday season than I have in years past. Normally, I'd use the holidays as an excuse. Not this year. And I have all of you to thank.

I wish all of you the best of the holiday season and many words (and other blessings) in 2012. I'll see you in Round 1 2012!

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O'Brien

Thanks for encouraging my passion through support and shared knowledge. It's a gift I've appreciated receiving.


Natalie Hartford said...

Not having published (YET), I can't speak much to what I price my books at but as a buyer, I can share my thoughts on a couple of things.
A few author peeps I know have had their books on for .99 cents as part of holiday blowouts or reader appreciation and because I know them or follow their blogs, I was thrilled and ran, not walked, to order their books. Although let's be clear, I would have paid full price happily to support them.
For those authors that I come across just browsing Amazon, I am not sure I'd buy their book or look more closely at it if it was priced at .99 cents. Not sure?!?!??!
$9.99 for an author I know and LOVE and read every book they put out, ok....but for someone I've never read before - no way.
I think mostly my feeling is an ebook should be anywhere between $2.99 and $6.99 ish. High enough to capture my attention as an author who obviously values their work but low enough to make it worth taking a chance on someone I had never read before....
Hope that helps!
GREAT job on the ROW80 goals. It doesn't sound like you have any reason to be upset with yourself having written more than usual this time of year...yeahhh...celebrate!! I will definitely see you around the 2012 ROW! :-)
Happy holidays to you and yours and all the best for 2012!!

Natalie Hartford said...

Blogjacking here. LOL!
Not sure if you saw this amazing article (and it links back to a previous one) but it might be of interest to you:

Nicole Basaraba said...

Cool story about publishing. I didn't know. Did you read On Writing? What did you think?

I did terribly this round. Just dreadful. I'm going to make a mean schedule for next round. See you there!

Anonymous said...

There has been a great deal of chatter on this subject across the blogsphere in recent days. From what I gather, and what I think as well, $0.99 is a bargain sure, but no guarantee of a good read. Most agree on a $2.99 price point but the key is allowing potential readers/buyers to "Look Inside" and decide if it is worth it for them to buy. As Bob Mayer is fond of pointing out, nothing beats a quality product and people are willing to pay for quality.

All the best with this. Enjoy the holidays and see you in 2012 :)

Tia Bach said...

Natalie, Thanks for the wonderful advice and link (will get to that after commenting). I think we'll do $3.99 for our regular Smashwords price and occasionally put it on an incredible, must have now, 99 cent sale!

Nicole, December slapped me around a bit for sure. I'm hoping to get back on track out of the 2012 gate! Halfway through On Writing... I hope to have some reading time over the holidays. But I will have three kids at home, so who knows.

Gene, I totally agree about quality, and that's why we don't want our books looking clearanced.

Thanks so much for stopping by and for all the lovely ROW80 support. You guys rock.

Happy Holidays!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I know what you mean, Tia. When I see .99, I think the same thoughts you did.

I see some e-books for 5.99, 3.99, etc. Some are 9.99, and I'll pay that price for a well-known author, but not for someone who is unknown.

Which might seem strange coming from me, since my publisher set the price of my one Kindle book at 9.99.

But it is a very LONG book in print.

I used Book Surge (which is now Create Space). I'll be eager to see what they do with my new books. Much shorter books, around 90,000 - 100,000 words.

Thanks for visiting my blog, and congrats on your progress. Good luck in your quest.

Tia Bach said...

Laurel-Rain, I so agree with you. Our novel is 176,000 words, so a higher price doesn't seem awful, but we have to compete.

Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

Thanks for stopping by. The writing community is such a blessing for me!