Tuesday, 11 October 2011

What price writing?

Along with all the technical stuff I need to consider once the book’s finished (ISBN, formatting, title, cover artwork etc) there is a question that’s quite tricky to answer: what price tag would be appropriate?

It’s going to be an e-book, probably 100-115,000 words in length (possibly more, certainly not less). I read an article a few weeks ago suggesting that, counter-intuitively, lower prices are better. Using my Sherlock Holmes-like sleuthing power (checking the Amazon Kindle bestsellers) I was slightly surprised to see that the advice seems sensible. Most of the top 20 are below £3 in price, and many are less than £1.

E-readers have prompted a rise in reading for many, and the purchase of books is quicker and more convenient than ever before. Authors can also benefit from a higher percentage return per book as it’s rather easier to self-publish an e-book.

A lower price would, one would hope, yield a higher number of sales. On the other hand, I would like to make some money, which pushes me towards a higher price (in relative terms; this would be something like £1.50-£2.99).

I do ultimately want to get as much as possible from writing, and whilst this will be largely down to the quality of what I’ve written the price will also play a factor. There are tons of cheap or free e-books jostling for attention and downloads, and whacking a £7.99 price tag on book 1 would probably be a good way to scare off most potential readers.

Right now I’m thinking of something like £1.99, but it’s just a pencilled-in figure at the moment. As indicated above, I’ve got quite a lot of other finickity technical thingummyjigs to consider before I get to seriously consider the vulgar matter of the price tag.

On writing the new bits: progress has slowed lately due to a minor but irksome malady. On the plus side, I had actually written more than I’d imagined (I think I guessed it was about 5,000 words but it was actually just a little under 10,000). Before fitting in the new bits I’ll read through and redraft (the Kindle is handy for this), and then do a final redraft of the whole book (partly to make sure the new bits don’t jar with what went before or feel out of place).



  1. On pricing, I offer one bit of advice go for a figure ending in 7 and preferably not 97. £n.67, where n is the value you are after, is good. Strange but it works.

    P.S. Still trying to find that music article. Memo to self backing up on to disc is fine but have a bloody index.

  2. That is weird, but I do appreciate it.

    One thing I learnt at university was that if you're posting things that are optional to return and put the stamp on at a slight angle you get many more replies than if it's straight.

    Disc? No flashdrives in Castle Llama?

  3. Flashdrives? Not then I have one or two now, somewhere...

    I have literally dozens of CDs and DVDs containing back-ups of old work. None of which are properly labelled or indexed. So the only way to find a document is to load each disc and have a look. The process is complicated by the fact that I am not awfully consistent at naming documents - they may be named by subject or by the project I was working on at the time and it took me a fair while to realise I wasn't limited to eight chracters as per DOS.

    Never mind if the worst comes to the worst I may even re-write the whole thing from scratch. Actually that could be a useful exercise.