As a writer do you ever visit the Amazon “forum?” In addition to wasting time “chatting about writing” (instead of writing) many of the comments are about pricing the author’s work on Amazon. One person said, and I am paraphrasing here, “I’m new and my work is not as good as best-selling authors so I have to price my book at $0.99.” That may be one of the most naive statements I have ever read.
Here’s the news, dummy. If you work is NOT GOOD, don’t publish it. Instead, spend your time improving your craft. Writing is hard work. As I have said before, writing GOOD fiction is very hard. If you publish a lousy piece of work, even at $0.99, you are only going to make the buyer mad that you sold them trash. Concentrate on making your work as good as best-selling authors. All I can tell you is that the secret to good writing is: REWRITING! If you have a plausible plot with potentially interesting characters, all it takes to make that book into a good book is to keep rewriting and improving it continually until it is really good. Then you can price it at what it is worth to the reader, and that would be a reasonable price for a comparable printed book.
If you start selling your work for $0.99, you have set a standard that buyers will expect and if your next entry in the eBook market is priced at $4.99 or whatever, people are going to be skeptical and not take a chance on you again.
I have just excerpted three stories from my compilation of 15 stories called “Cloudy McCoy and Other Stories” and have them on Amazon as “Three Christmas Stories” for $0.99. So am I contradicting myself? Not at all. They are good stories totaling a little over 10,000 words, and well worth the pittance people will pay for them. BUT, the purpose of pricing this way is to get new buyers, in the Christmas spirit, to read some of my work. And in this three-story book there is a strong promotion for “Cloudy McCoy” and for my full-length adventure/mystery novels, “Tropical Knights” and “Tropical Daze.”
I could offer this little book “free” but I am solidly against giving my work away. I work hard as a writer and it has taken me many years to reach this point. People don’t expect “free” gas at the filling station, or “free” food at the grocery store. I saw a good article somewhere that said Starbucks is selling you a cup of coffee for $5.00. They have convinced you that coffee that is not any better than you will find at the convenience store is worth five bucks. If a cup of coffee can command a five dollar price, why would a good book be worth less?
If you want to offer your book free under Amazon’s promotional scheme for a five day period, that makes sense. But to sell on a regular basis at $0.99 isn’t worth your time or your effort. There is a reason that Amazon has over 100 million titles in their eBook library, but only about 100,000 of them are selling. That’s how many are good, and people who read a good book will look for more from that same author. Turn out good consistent fiction, price it reasonably, and give it time. You can be a best seller too.