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Listen up! I’m asking you a question to which I already know the answer. That question is – indies when will you learn? ‘Indies’ in question are indie authors.

I’m not at all sorry for being so abrupt. I’ll tell you why – you are dumb. You are like lemmings off the cliff or sheep playing follow my leader. Get it? I hope so, because you are doing yourself and all other indie authors, including me,  a great disservice by selling your books too cheaply, and even worse, giving them away for free.

I’m tired of it! Time to speak up, and I’m not the only one. One of the authors I interviewed here a while back, Jack Kregas, is constantly telling authors the same thing.

Only recently I read this article on the ALLi blog, written by James Seeley – Opinion: Indie Authors – Why You Need to Experiment to Get Your Ebook Prices Right.

He writes:

One of the many advantages of being an indie author is that with access to your own dashboard on the book distribution sites (KDP, Kobo, iBooks, etc), you can set your own prices for your books, in whatever format you’re self-publishing them, and change them until you hit a sweet spot for profitability.

While there are no absolute rights and wrongs, because there are so many variables involved (pricing conventions for your genre, size of the book, whether it’s standalone or in a series, etc), ALLi Professional member Seeley James‘s findings on what’s worked for him will help you review and revise the prices of your books too.

He adds:

My careful pricing tests over the past year have shown me that we indies sell our books too cheap. (FWIW, YMMV, Insert any other caveat you can think of here.)

I agree with him one hundred percent.

You should read his article in full if you want a reasoned, sane exposition why you are selling too cheaply. Stay here if you want an ‘ear-bashing’ because I am not going to be as polite as James.

You, yes YOU, are letting the side down!

Do you really think by setting your book prices so low readers will flock towards you and make you rich and famous beyond your dreams? Right! Get a life!

Am I angry? Yes, I am. You cheapskates are in a way taking money out of my pocket. You are filling up Amazon with cheap, nasty stuff that nobody ever reviews because it is … sorry, dreadful.

It’s either badly written, full of typos and formatting errors, in need of a thorough edit, or all three. The trouble with that kind of book is that Amazon has become the “vanity publisher” of choice because it is free to upload any old dross on there.

Now, if you are still there, and you don’t fall into the dross category, please still listen up! Read what James has to say and read this – I too have experimented with price. You know what? Price is not the deciding factor in your book’s sales success.

I have, for example, priced my memoir in paperback as low as £9.99. It now sells more at £15.99. Go figure! Same with the eBook version. I have experimented with £3.99, £4.99, and £7.99. It now sells steadily at £5.99.

Readers want a good read, a good story, a good experience. They want quality, not quantity.

Further proof of all this is my own experiences with Kindle Unlimited. I know it isn’t free but it feels like it when you treat it like a lending library. My point? Free never, never results in reviews. My reviews always come from readers who PAY for the book.

Those of you who object to what I say, are kidding yourselves. For those who agree, take heart. Do not be frightened by price. You will thank me for it, and in return, I and thousands of others will thank you for seeing sense.

Here are the (almost) last words on the subject from James Seeley:

Conclusions about Reader Perception
(What readers perceive when they see your price)
It’s just like the other 12,000 books that I’ve collected on my Kindle but never read.
Easy-reading, rapid-release author, professionally produced running about 150-300 pages
Mid-market, exciting read, unique, professional produced running about 270-450 pages
Very unique, exceptionally produced, epic series, running from 350-550 pages
$7.99 and up
Epic or immersive world, multi-plot (Gabaldon, GRR Martin, Rowling), extremely well produced and completely unique, not a knock-off, running 350-800 pages

In self-publishing, as in life, there are grey areas. I do offer one of my books here for free, but only to encourage subscribers to my newsletter. It is permanently priced on Amazon as a Kindle at £0.99 and the same price at other online bookstores.

It is deliberately priced low to attract new readers to Book 1 in the series. I don’t like it and I will increase the price if there is a sea-change in pricing attitudes from the rest of the industry.

But, no way, will I reduce price on the “flag ship” of my books – my memoir

Okay, I’ve had my say. What do you say?.

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