I just read that Amazon now has 100 million publications in their Kindle library. Admittedly, I expect 90 million of them are one-offs or single short stories or an essay that someone published just for the sake of saying, “Hey, I’m a published author!” Even so, 10 million viable books is remarkable. And ePublishing has given good writers an open door to the public. If they don’t like your work they can return it. If they do like it, they will look for your next effort.
What I want to emphasize is this: Most of those 90 million are not serious writers. They spend their time on the “writer’s forums” or on Facebook or Twitter talking about writing but doing very little of it. Like many of you, I thought that the social media would be an avenue to publicize my work – but I have dropped that idea as a waste of time and I will explain why. On the urging of another author I joined Facebook and because I still have longevity in the minds of people in the south (I was on TV several times a day for thirty-three years) I rapidly accumulated 200 “friends.” So, instead of writing I was spending most of my day answering Friends or deleting emails. But to put the value of FB to the test, I took Amazon’s option to offer one of my books “FREE” for a five day period. I did that and I used FB to promote the free offer. In that five day period 100 Americans and 24 Europeans downloaded my book at no cost. All I asked of them was: If you read anything you like in the book please leave a short review of it on Amazon.
How many reviews do you guess I got out of 124 free give-aways? If you guessed ZERO you would be correct. Don’t waste your hard work by giving away your books. This brings up another topic that those “forums” are loaded with. “How much to charge for my book?” My suggestion to you is that you price your book at what YOU would pay to read the material. Nobody better than the author knows how much work went into producing a book. If you are honest with yourself, you know if it is good enough to command a decent price. Whatever you do, DO NOT give your book away. People judge value by what the producer charges for something. You’ve all heard the saying, “You get what you pay for.” These days you are lucky if you DO get what you pay for. There is one popular author who sells tons of books for 99 cents and he brags that he can write a book in eight weeks. That is six and a half books a year. I write everyday and it takes me a year of rewrites to turn out one novel that I am satisfied with and proud to release to the public. I have, out of curiosity, read one of that author’s books and it is overpriced at 99 cents. If you have worked hard for a long period to make a worthwhile read for people you deserve to get something for your talent and your effort. I would rather sell four or five of my books a month at $4.99 than twenty at 0.99. Your book will be judged by the quality of writing and the enjoyment it brings the reader – not by the number of books sold.