I have thought long and hard for several weeks on this issue: pricing. Do I keep PARALLEL at $0.99 or bump it up. Now, there seems to be a trend when it comes to indie books...price the first in a series at $0.99 and all subsequent books $2.99. For the most part, this method seems to work. The low price for the first book entices readers to read your book. To take a chance on you, so to speak. If they like what they read, they'll certainly be willing to pay more for the second.
It's a great marketing strategy, and again, one that have proven successful, but it is indicative of the book's worth? Not only that, but being a writer is a business. No, this is not to say that we, as writers, are in it for the money. Perhaps some are, but for the most part, indie writers publish books because we love to write and want our stories to be read. But there comes a point where we lose sight of the fact that we are still working.
In my previous job, I was paid roughly $32 an hour. Before taxes, that's about $256 a day, for 8 hours of work. As a published author, I don't make $256 in a month. I roughly make anywhere between $60 - $125. Now, I still have a full-time job, so I am not relying on my book income to support me, but the point is, as a writer, I probably put in around 30-35 hours a week. If I were to apply my hourly rate of $32, I should be earning about $1,000 a week.
Again, this isn't about greed or making money. It's about an author's self-worth.
Now, let's look at the numbers from a business standpoint. Indie authors do not have the financial support of a large (or small) publishing house. Sure, publishing on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, etc. are free. But what about the other aspects of publishing? What about editing! This is a part of publishing that is non-negotiable. We have to hire editors! I know there are many indie authors that use critique groups and trusted friends to edit and that's a personal decision...I'm grateful to have a fabulous editors that is not overly expensive. (FYI: Readers appreciate good grammar.)
Most authors contract out when it comes to cover art. Even if you create your own covers, you still have to purchase cover stock images. And what about formatting? Yes, you can learn how to format for eBooks for free, but personally, I like to contract that out too. My books look nicer and I do not have to worry about possible formatting issues. (FYI: Readers appreciate pretty covers and don't like badly formatted books!)
Then there's promotion. Again, this can all be done for free, but there are many indie authors that provide giveaways. And there's a cost for that.
So while the big chunk of publishing a book boils down to a small investment, you still have to take into consideration the time that is invested in writing a book. And as we all know, time is valuable.
So what, as indie authors, do we do? We can bump our prices and take a chance that our books will be purchased or keep our prices low to encourage new readers. Then again, it takes less books sold to generate more royalties, should we price our books higher. I'm not suggesting raising prices to reflect legacy publishing standards, but is $3-$4 too much? Are we being held to a different standard? That our stories aren't worthy enough, all for the sake of marketing?
There are many other arguments to this issue, one that I have studied and reviewed with great interest. But the bottom line is, what am I willing to spend on a book? Personally, I don't mind paying $2.99 when it comes to indie books. Even if the author is new to me. If it's not great, well, I can think of a lot of traditionally published books that I bought for $7.99 or more that weren't all that either.
What determines your pricing?