I’m feeling nervous prior to the cover reveal of The Staff and the Blade tomorrow. Not because of the cover. I love the cover. But because I am releasing my most expensive book ever.
Now, to those of you who are accustomed to traditionally published books, $6.99 (USD) will probably not seem that high to you. That’s on the low end for a new release, as a matter fact. But for those in indie world like myself, that’s a pretty hefty price tag.
When I started out publishing, the standard novel-length book price for self-publishers was $2.99. That was what I listed A Hidden Fire at. But lots of people said that 99 cents was the only way to sell books. Or just give it all away! You just want reviews and to get your name out, right?
I didn’t buy into that and thought that if people could spend 4-5 dollars on coffee, they would probably be happy to spend three bucks on a good book. And my readers are awesome, so they totally did.
Over the years, prices have creeped up as production costs like editing and covers and formatting have gone up. That’s what happens as an industry matures. The freelance editor who was just starting out charges very little compared to the editor with five years of freelance experience and dozens of books under her belt. That’s the way it SHOULD be. People who are great at their jobs should get compensated for their work.
But there’s still a lot of debate. Some writers think .99 is still the way to go and you just have to move a lot of volume if you want to make a living. Some people charge way higher thinking that if *INSERT RANDOM NEW YORK PUBLISHER HERE* can charge 14.99 for a new release, then by-golly they should too! Some writers and industry watchers think I’m the anti-Christ for giving one of my books away for free *GASP* because I’m making things harder for everyone and driving down prices. (That’s another post.)
But most of us fall somewhere in the middle.
What I’d like to say about the $6.99 price tag for The Staff and the Blade is that I didn’t come up with this number in a vacuum. Last year, my editing costs AND my cover costs both went up significantly. I hired a developmental editor to stretch myself so I keep getting better as a writer. And I gave everyone a heads up that prices would be going up this year to $5.99. But The Staff and the Blade is more than that.
Well, that’s because this is a big book. It’s going to be around 120K. Maybe more. (Don’t tell my editors the “maybe more” part.) Honestly, if I were to release all these novellas separately, I’d sell them each for 2.99. There are four of them. Which means that, released separately, they’d actually be more in the $12 range than the $7 dollar range. So, I’m probably losing money on this, but I felt like it was better for readers to release them all at once. (And selfishly, I don’t want to do promo for FOUR books when I can just do one.)
BUT IT STILL LOOKS LIKE A REALLY BIG NUMBER! So I’m nervous. I hope you guys understand I’m not trying to gouge you or taking advantage of reader excitement. With a lot of consideration, this simply seemed like the fairest price for the book. And I’m working my tush off to finish it. The third of the four novellas is with my developmental editor right now and I’m busting tail on the fourth, which is going to be really exciting and move the Irin world forward in a very cool way.
I can’t wait to show you the cover for this book tomorrow. I know you’re going to love it.