A word about my book prices.

48488796_mI’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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

~Elizabeth

Posted in Indie Publishing, Irin Chronicles, Self-publishing, Writing and tagged , , , .

47 Comments

  1. Thanks for the fair warning! I’m sure I would have been like “wait, whaaaaaa?” upon seeing the higher price (while still clicking the “buy” button of course!) No worries though – I’m willing to dish out a little more for a bigger book and I’m grateful to have it all at once – don’t get me wrong, separate novellas are great too, but I like getting the whole shebang at once. Can’t wait to see the cover!!

  2. Im a little bias when it comes to your books Elizabeth Hunter because I would pay whatever you put out there, this is because your books are known to me and I love them, so I would pay this price you set. The truth is most the indie authors deserve way more than they are getting and I support that as a reader who loves books. I think in the beginning an author has to get their books out there and become known before some would pay a hefty price, but as their reputation becomes more known and they have built up a fan base I think …..Yes you deserve to be paid for all your hard work. I cant wait for Ben and Tenzins next adventure …….. So exciting!!!!!!!!! Thank you Elizabeth Hunter

  3. I am one of those people who scour the Kindle free section on Amazon almost daily, looking for good books for cheap cheap. That said, I truly believe you often times get what you pay for (not meaning there aren’t good authors offering books for free, but there’s also a lot of poor quality content out there too). I don’t buy many books, but I’ve purchased every single one of yours, and have never regretted spending any money on them. I respect you as one of my favorite authors and the work that goes into producing high quality material. I also don’t mind spending the money because I know I’m supporting you and your son. That said, I completely appreciate your transparency in this post. Had you not said anything about the increase, I would have wondered about it. Now that I understand, I’ll preorder your new book when it’s available without hesitation or thought. 🙂 Thank you for your honesty!

    • Thanks! Free books are a GREAT way to discover new authors. But yes, if everyone was giving everything away for free, then no one would be able to pay the bills. I also believe in hiring good people and paying them a good wage. So I’m not willing to skimp and try to negotiate them down on their prices in order for them to work for me. That’s not fair to anyone. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

      • I think that is the reason I don’t mind paying a higher price for your books. There are a lot of indie authors, some great, some terrible. When I read your work, I can tell you’ve put in the effort and hired people to help so I don’t mind the price. You worked hard, you deserve to be paid.

  4. I’m with Danielle – quality writing like yours is worth every penny. Just re-reading The Scribe for the nth time – just gets better every time!

  5. Thanks for putting your reasoning out there. I know it’s been a difficult decision for you, but hey, that’s still a great price for 4 novellas in one volume. That’s just $1.75 a book. From an author of your caliber, that’s a steal!

  6. You are still delivering great value per dollar. Don’t fret. I add about 250 – 350 books to my Kindle library each year (I’m retired). I know that when an author becomes recognized that their value will increase and so will their books. I am thankful when most of this increase goes to the author rather than the publisher because that is who is doing the most work and should be recognized with more pay. That happens most everywhere in the workforce so why not entertainment like writing. That is business – – see capitalism – – reference TV, movies, paintings, music, plays, concerts, Disneyland, Six Flags, etc.

  7. Elizabeth,
    Those of us who know your work will gladly pay this VERY fair price for a book that is larger and well-edited. I hope that all of your readers feel as I do. Greatly looking forward to the release!
    Happy writing.
    -Melinda

  8. You’re absolutely correct in your reasoning and I think it’s terrible that you have to go through all this angst over what really is more than fair and just compensation for the quality works you create. It’s a sure bet that those of us who are you avid followers would be happy to pay this, and anyone who isn’t willing to pay this price is cutting off her nose to spite her face (or his as the case may be). You have my continued support.

  9. I would definitely pay 3 or 4 times that for your AMAZING work! I re-read every one of your books so many times I have lost count. Cannot wait for the new release!

  10. Anyone who knows your work is aware that you are well with the price increase. We all know that you wouldn’t raise the price if you didn’t have to. Plus all of your faithful readers would gladly pay for the amazing books you publish.

  11. The (free) book, A Hidden Fire, introduced me to the amazing world you have created. I have recommended that book to many people. I have since purchased every book in the series and have read them more than once! At a time when the cost of going to a movie is close to $10, plus $20 at the snack bar, your books are a great value. As long as you keep writing, I will continue to buy your novels.

  12. You write Picasso, so I expect to pay for Picasso. If you wrote print store at the mall, then I would expect to pay print store at the mall prices.

  13. I only found you because A Hidden Fire was on the Kindle free list (best free book download EVER) and have since purchased everything you’ve published. A few extra dollars will not break my streak!

  14. I will pay whatever you charge! Your books are fantastic! And $6.99, that’s a bargain!! I try not to pay more that $11.99 for Kindle books, but sometimes the price of my favorite authors’ books (of which you are in the top 5!) don’t go below $13.99. So, just keep writing ad publishing. You have a legion of fans who will always support you! (I know, too many exclamation points!!!)

  15. Thank you for keep us up to date on your pricing and your reasoning. <3 that it will be a one shot deal for all 4 novellas. No wait for the next one I love that. You can't put a price on an experience of a lifetime and sweetie your books are always an experience of a lifetime…even though I am probably going to reread the crap out of these novellas like I do the rest of your books.

  16. With each book I read, I value the content of your books more and more. You have evolved as a writer (you started out as a great writer and now you’re awesome!), your books are well-edited, and your covers just get more and more incredible; and the cost of everything is going up. Thank you for the warning, but the $6.99 price of your book won’t stop me from buying it, or even make me hesitate for a moment. You always provide at least 150% if not more; your books are a bargain at any price!

  17. Charge more! I’d still pay it. Yes it’s nice to get a bargain but I’ll pay for quality every time. (I want you to travel and eat well and experience new things to write about! )
    Thanks for the explanation but I like to think of you doing well while writing well.

  18. I pay whatever for your books, you have caught me hook, line and sinker! I have started getting the paperbacks as well as the Kindle, that is costing a pretty penny as shipping from USA to NZ is expensive, sometimes more than the books.

  19. Penny says it very well. You only continue to improve! Keep us well supplied and we’ll keep loving you at any price!

  20. It’s okay – it’s 4 novellas after all (at least you’re not paying for 4 separate covers!). The price may scare new(er) fans but they probably shouldn’t be starting with this book. I first learned about you with All the Stars Look Down and then I think Grace Draven mentioned A Hidden Fire was free and the rest, as they say, was history.

  21. You already broke my rule of never pay more than $2 for an electronic book years ago. As soon as I started reading your books, I knew that I would pay more for them….and I did. You are like my naughty pleasure. I don’t mean to make that sound dirty – but all people have certain things they are willing to splurge on that others wouldn’t in a million years. Your books are one of those splurges for me. I have never been disappointed in your writing yet, so I believe you deserve more than the average. I will be purchasing this book.

    Happy writing and thanks for giving readers something to always look forward to!

  22. As DS says, the price is fair for what we’re getting. Generally, I’d probably pause at $10 for an e-book, remember these are US$ prices, so it’s more in A$, but it depends on the writer. Some of the books out there, indie or not, are not worth $1, some (you, Grace) I’d pay double for. For most things in this Iife, I am definitely happy to pay for quality, and that is how I look at your books, quality writing, and damn good stories. Worth every cent.

  23. I started reading your stories when I got my first Kindle and was looking for “free” fantasy or paranormal etc. That was ” A Hidden Fire ” I don’t want to go overboard on this but I do want to let the world know that I was Extremely impressed with your prose in that first story- AND IT WAS FREE- And I have been more than willing to pay for everything else you’ve written, from the Muse to Cambrio Springs and back to all the Elemental stories since. Any author, new or old, who doesn’t understand the significance of putting at least one book out there for free is SO Missing The Boat!!!!!
    Ask any old style merchandiser about the value of a loss leader. No, you can’t make all of them free, and once you become established, you certainly shouldn’t. But given a large web presence and audience, the occasional freebie short and/or serial is totally worthwhile, appreciated by you fans and provides a great way for you the author and us the reading public to stay connected and entice new readers to take a look.
    I am sure you won’t let this go to your head but I do think you are a fantastic writer and more than a cut above many of the current crop.

  24. Elizabeth, thank you for considering us, the readers and letting us know 🙂 I prefer one larger book, than having to keep getting more books in the series actually, so this is great.
    AND, Artists…. creatives – should not have to feel like they must ‘give their labor away’ as if, their hard work and hours of time and energy, are not of value.
    Where, would the world and all our great scientific breakthrough inventions be, if not for creative imaginative people?
    Good for you Elizabeth 🙂 cheers, Debi

  25. You are one of my favourite authors ever! I remember buying The Secret and letting it wait until my little girl was born, and since I wanted to relive the whole Irin experience I started again with The Scribe. I started the trilogy again when I was in my room, after giving birth I woke up one hour later, my tummy was empty and they told me they would bring my baby girl to my room 6 hours later!!! You have no idea how your magic with words distracted me through those endless hours, plus how you helped me stay awake during countless wake-ups in the middle of the night with a newborn. Few people have the power to take you to another place with words. That’s what you do, you weave magic with your stories! I am more than happy to pay a higher price, because in exchange for these magic worlds you give us we give you something that not only contributes to the end-quality of your book, but also puts a roof over your family’s head, food on the table and means for you to travel to inspiring places that you then put back into more books. Thank you <3 You're an awesome writer, Elizabeth. You deserve every penny and more!

  26. I don’t mind paying $6.99 for a e-book, especially coming from an author of your caliber. I’ve paid more happily!

    Happy writing and happy publishing!

  27. Honestly $6.99 is not an issue for a known author from whom I can can expect excellent books. I get more fidgity when the price goes up to $12.99 – that really makes me think twice. But again – for a known fantastic author, I begrudgingly pay it. I personally appreciate the 1st book of a series at $.99 — if I like it, I don’t have a problem paying more for the next books. So Elizabeth – go for it! Make a good living for yourself. We love you and will happily support you. 🙂

  28. I have no problem paying £7.00 in English money which would be about $10.00 , If you have an author who is exceptional at what they do then they deserve to comand a higher price, and as you have said it is a BIG book. You get the pleasure of reading it not only once but as often as you would like. People pay huge sums for a special meal out that lasts a short moment and no one thinks twice about that.
    Realy looking forward to its release.
    Big fan of your work

  29. Good on you! Groceries, gas, clothing, medicine…EVERYTHING has gone up in cost. You have to be able to do more than “break even”. I think free books are a great way to discover new authors, but once you become established, your readers will follow. I will have no problem purchasing The Staff and The Blade for my Kindle, and then ordering the paperback, also. When ya got it, ya got it. You are that good.

  30. Thank you for telling us. I look forward to your books and having your voice in my head. That is certainly not too much to pay for your books because they bring me so much enjoyment.

  31. I can only echo what everyone else has said, I appreciate your honesty and integrity, that you wanted to explain. I might not try a new author at that, but for sure I’ll be buying this on release day.

  32. I’ve paid a lot more for authors who deliver a lot less quality. WAY less quality. You always give us the good stuff, so lay it on us!

  33. Thank you so much for the worlds you have shared. I have read most of your books multiple times… I always start at the beginning of each series when you release a new one. I appreciate your work and the work of your editors and production team. Together you produce books of great quality and worth for which you should be well compensated. I’ve often wondered why your prices are so much lower than the works of other authors. Even at $12 you are still coming in under the cost of a movie ticket, and providing hours more enjoyment. I will happily pay that and thank you for your consideration and concern!

  34. I found out about you only because A Hidden Fire was a free book that I grabbed on a whim (that is a very smart move on your part). I had NO idea that I would become so totally addicted to your characters, but man oh man I am so glad that you are still writing more about them. I buy all your books now because I love your vision and stories. I would happily pay more for your books with no explanation needed, but I do appreciate your transparency about how you price your work. Don’t spend one more minute doubting your choice. Your readers are a loyal bunch because of the quality you give us. We will not let a few dollars get in the way of our reading addiction. 🙂

  35. I got your email and clicked the preorder link. I did notice the price, thought, “Good for you!” and one-clicked. You have earned my respect and devotion and I can’t wait to read the new book.

  36. I have to admit that my first reaction was oh no…another author that has a bit of success and will be charging a lot more for her books. Thank you for posting this blog because you explained why in great detail and I don’t mind paying the higher price for the four novellas…I thought that each novella was going to be 6,99$ each!!! I have all your books and you are one of my early Amazon indie kindle authors and you are one of the better ones out there! Selfishly, I’d rather support a really good intelligent author and have them around longer putting out books for me to read 🙂 Glad that your career is going so well for you! Also it’s with you that last year I won my first ever paperback book and you even very kindly send it to me all the way in France!!!

  37. The reality is you are, without a doubt, one of the best authors I’ve ever read. While of course I have favorites, every book is well thought out, well written, edited well, and quite frankly, captivating. It’s never the same story retooled. The stories may be in the same “world” but they are separate scenarios. I appreciate your heads up on the price but I have no problem paying that price or a bit more. Embarrassingly enough, I am guilty of buying books just to have something to read, even if afterward I regret it. I am now down to about four authors that I can count on. You are definitely at the top of that list. Thanks for the effort and creativity you put into each and every book.

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