Kill me, but I don't remember why I have priced my paperbacks a particular way a while ago. I think I thought of offering paperbacks like an expensive souvenir since I give ebooks away for free, following Seth Godin's idea and the blue ocean strategy. Or maybe I read some article somewhere at some point, or copied the prices of other books. I can't remember exactly. I even wrote this post about pricing books recently, but today something shifted in my brain. Not sure why.
I'm sitting here reading Fablehaven by Brandon Mull—which I recommend to all of you—and the similarity to Rosehead struck me like a hammer. Not so much the story as the elements like an arrival at a mysterious house surrounded by a mysterious property, a mysterious grandfather, a sister and a brother (like Lilith and Panther) discovering hidden magical things about the place and those living in it. It was eerie. Then I glanced at the back of the book. $7.99. And the writing is superb, so much cleaner and better than mine.
So I scratched my head. Rosehead is right now at $11.99 for the paperback. And all of a sudden I didn't feel like charging this much for it. The quality of it simply doesn't compare to Fablehaven, partially because it's an indie book and my language is still a bit awkward and riddled with slavisms and the book itself is not perfect because the printing is not perfect through CreateSpace and many more little things that when I compare this book with the one traditionally published, as a product it simply doesn't cut it. The Badlings in that regard is much better as I have learned a lot, and also Stuart got used to my shenanigans in terms of particular formatting I wanted, but still...it's not the same.
Okay, I thought. Why didn't I see this before? I guess it wasn't time. I was comfortably cushioned by my ghostwriting money. Now I'm uncomfortable because I'm out of money and I need to kick up my book sales. The universe, apparently, wanted to deliver this message to me precisely now.
When I was uploading The Badlings to Wattpad, I went to look at other author's books to see how they described them, and I looked at Amanda Hocking's books. Sure enough, when I looked up her paperbacks, they're all about $8.99-$9.99. Bam! I got curious and started looking at Hugh Howey's books, and at Victoria's Schwab's books, and at Chuck Wendig's books, and all their paperbacks are under $10 (well, most). Apparently I have somehow missed it. I also noticed that their ebooks are higher in price, closer to $5.99 or even higher, so that the price of the ebook is very close to that of the paperback.
Here is my dilemma.
To change prices on Ingram, I will have to generate a new barcode ($10) and slap it on the cover and submit a new cover ($25) and then wait for it to change. Multiply that by Rosehead, Irkadura, and The Badlings, and it's almost $100. I don't know what will happen if I change CreateSpace price first and then Ingram price weeks later (because CreateSpace change is almost instant and costs nothing). Will bookstore clerks and librarians refuse to order the more expensive editions if you asked for them? No idea.
Here is another dilemma.
I don't have time to research it. This Sunday I have decided to finally start on the second draft of TUBE. On Saturday Royce is taking me to a big combined birthday party for his kids at their mom's house, so I can't start until that is over. I hate being interrupted. And Peter is coming back home tomorrow after a road trip with his dad, and I'd love to spend time with him.
So, I'm turning to you for help. Before Sunday I will drop the prices on all of my paperbacks. I will multiply the stock price I pay CreateSpace by 2, according to the old formula I learned from running my startup to make at least 50% profit. Then the prices will run like this:
- Blue Sparrow - $5.10
- Blue Sparrow 2 - $5.24
- I Chose to Die (Siren Suicides, Book 1) - $8.08
- My Sisters in Death (Siren Suicides, Book 2) - $7.84
- The Afterlife (Siren Suicides, Book 3) - $9.22 (more pages, so more expensive)
- Rosehead - $9.32 (more pages, so more expensive)
- Irkadura - $7.98
- The Badlings - $8.12
To get this to the usual 99 cents at the end pricing, Blue Sparrows would be at $4.99 each, and because it's probably weird to price books in a series of a trilogy at different prices, I'll offer all Siren Suicides books at $7.99. Then maybe Rosehead would be $8.99?
Here is where you come in. I have a few days to do this before I leave the world for about 2 months to write TUBE. What are you willing to pay for my paperbacks? How do you think I should price them? Let me know. I no longer think they qualify as "expensive souvenirs." Whatever gave me that idea. I want you to afford them like you can afford other paperbacks. And I also want to make bloody sales.
My apologies to those of you who have bought my books at higher prices. I didn't know any better! Ahhhh!!! But rest assured, your money went to a good cause. I bought myself a wheelbarrow of socks. And tutus.
So. What do you think? Blue Sparrows at $4.99, most novels at $7.99, and Rosehead at $8.99? Or all of them at $7.99? Or all of them at $8.99? Chime in, please. Thank you! XOXO