Monday, March 8, 2010

Read an Ebook Week

So, this is officially Read an Ebook Week. I'm not sure how the brick-&-mortars feel about it, but I think it's pretty neat. Many indie authors are offering their books for free at Smashwords, or slashing their prices by 50%.

I, on the other hand, just raised my Kindle price to $1.49.

I either just shot myself in the foot or practiced smart pricing. Time will tell.

So why would I do such a thing?
For one thing, it was time. Faking It and Ordinary World have been selling at 99 cents for at least six months now. They sold over 37,000 units for January and February combined. Sales have been slumping for the last few weeks (I thought perhaps this was due to the Olmypics, but I've seen no improvement). As far as I can tell, the sales have plateaued. It's time to raise the price, even if only by 50 cents.

For another thing, the book's value added has increased significantly thanks to the success of the last two months. I still have to wrap my brain around the magificent thing that happened. I may still be an indie author, but I'm no longer an unknown author (at least not to 37,000 readers!). Besides, several reviewers admitted that they would have paid more for my books. When I hear that, I know I've got something of value. Those in business will tell you to give customers what they want. If they're willing to pay more, then charge more. Besides, I always thought they were worth more. I think they're worth more than a buck-forty-nine, but it's a reasonable raise w/out price-gouging.

Third, with Amazon doubling royalty rates in June (provided authors set base prices at 2.99), I'm gradually preparing for that. With my writing partner's approval, I'm planning to charge Why I Love Singlehood 2.99 right out of the gate once it's ready (and can now do so thanks to FI and OW's success). I'm curious to see what other indie authors do come June, and how Kindle readers respond. Will 99-cent books disappear? Will this be a factor as e-reader prices come down? Time will tell.
But Elisa, why not give your book away for free? It's Read an Ebook Week, after all...
I respect authors for being so generous, and if I was going to do such a giveaway, I would do it for one day only, perhaps (I gave away lots of print and e-book copies of FI and OW to lucky winners throughout the blog tour last month). Call me a greedy capitalist (and I know several who will), but I believe in charging money for my books. Yes, I have always maintained that I wanted a readership more than I wanted royalties. But I believe as self-publishers we should also be entreprenuers. That is, we should sell our product for a price. That's just me. Feel free to disagree, and give a boatload of books away this week. I'll still support you.

The hardest part about being a self-publisher is just that: you are no longer just an author engaged in the process for the love of writing. The moment you decide you want to sell your book, your creation becomes "product", and you are the "publisher" (not to mention marketer, distributer, and seller). You have to take the risks that any businessperson will take. You will undoubtedly make mistakes. The smartest businesspeople see mistakes as stepping stones to future successes. The rest see mistakes as failures.

So to indie authors and self-publishers, don't be afraid to take a risk or make mistakes. But, learn as much as you can about the business to minimize your mistakes (or, at the very least, the consequences).

To the rest of you, try an e-book this week! You can go to Smashwords to check out all the free or reduced books this week (including mine), or download Barnes & Noble's e-reader software to your computer for free (you don't need a Nook), and check out their catalog of free ebooks. Finally, don't forget that you can download the Kindle app to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or Black Berry if you don't own a Kindle.

And, as always, a heartfelt thanks to every single reader who purchased and read my books, regardless of what you paid (or didn't pay) for it.

Happy reading!


Larry said...

So I saved myself a buck by buying when I did? Cool!

Elisa said...

Indeed you did!

We'll see how this new price goes. It may tank my sales completely and bump me out of the Top 100. (Although OW seems to have picked up, interestingly enough. I might keep FI at 99 cents and OW at 1.49.)

We'll see. (said the Zen Master...)

Toni said...

I bought your book for .99 a couple of days ago but after reading it, I too would have paid
1.49. I enjoyed it very much.

Elisa said...

Thank you, Toni -- that's comforting, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!