Land of the 99 cent novels

I keep reading different articles from different writers on the subject of ebook pricing, particularly for the newer, relatively unknown writer. One camp with voices like Dean Wesley Smith and J.A. Marlow advocates a higher priced book, depending on length. For 80,000 words or more, they say about $6.99 or $7.99.  Then of course there is J. Konrath and all his $0.99 books. I also repeatedly see new writers beating the drum and saying in a loud voice that in order to gain readers they need to price low to draw them in.

Yet one has to wonder what the reader thinks. Does a reader look at that $0.99 price tag and immediately think of the bargain bin with the all time worst movies of all time? What kind of an expectation does $0.99 set up, as opposed to $7.99?

When I shop in my Kindle or on Amazon, that $0.99 immediately screams indie author (and probably a new, untried indie author). It makes me wonder about the quality of the writing and whether I’ll enjoy the book.  That being said, this doesn’t guarantee that a $7.99 book is going to be fantastic.  But it looks more professional. The writer either has a publishing house who values their writing, or the writer values their own writing and has the confidence to ask for a higher price.

Confidence in the writer breeds confidence in the reader.

Now naturally it had better be a great product, with a great story, great cover, and well edited. I imagine that the consumer who spends $7.99 for a book full of grammar mistakes is going to leave a nasty review, probably far more often than someone who drops $0.99 on it and doesn’t have high expectations to begin with.

So again, quality product = higher price.

To all other writers out there, please, PLEASE get as much feedback as you can on your fledgling novel. Get it from strangers who aren’t going to baby you. Know your tools–grammar, punctuation, spelling, writing conventions. Be professional.

Otherwise you may be stuck in bargain basement land.

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