When I meet people, and they buy my books in person, I charge them the price that’s on my site, which is $22-25 for novels (that includes the higher-quality printed book plus the kiss and the time to kiss, and the personalized message).
Recently a few lovely ladies whom I sold the books discovered that on Amazon my books were within the $7.99-9.99 range and got very upset with me. Hell, I'd be upset too. How could they know I print my paperbacks for a little more money so they look prettier? How would they know I spend the time on kissing them and writing a custom message? And wrapping them in beautiful paper? And adding bookmarks inside which also have to be printed? It isn't clearly spelled out anywhere.
For the longest time I priced my books as low as I possibly could thinking I did a service to my readers and not realizing that not only was I doing a disservice to my readers by devaluing my work, I was doing a huge disservice to myself as an artist. I was making nearly nothing on my paperbacks and was absorbing the cost of time it took me to sign them and the cost of shipping.
So I went on Amazon and changed my book prices to $12.99-15.99 (have to change them again to $12-15 because I woke up this morning and thought, "I don't like the whole 0.99 trick, so why did I do 0.99 prices? Habit."). This is why prices on my site don't have that extra 0.99 at the end—the prices my team has calculated: $22-25 for books with the whole shebang (kiss, message, better printed copies, bookmark, wrapping, packaging) and $12-15 for the books without the kiss and without the message and without my autograph and without the bookmark.
Then the next day I got up at the crack of dawn and drove to the office where the ladies work, and bought cookies and chocolate, and have talked to them and apologized and explained and refunded the money to one of them, and to another will be sending the rest of my books as a gift. (And they were delighted, and trust was restored.)
But the story isn't over yet.
After sleeping on it, the next day I woke up with a firm idea of changing my face-to-face strategy of selling my books. I thought, "I’ll simply be giving them for free and telling readers they can later donate what they want. And I’ll be explaining they can get them cheaper on Amazon." I felt awful thinking about how many more people got upset in these last few months since I raised prices. What a bad, bad mistake on my part.
Then I listened to that voice in my head again. That was the survivor talking. That was the fraud police talking. "You're an impostor," it said. "Your books are worth nothing. All this effort you're putting in them is nothing. Your time is worth nothing." And on and on and on. That sounded frighteningly familiar, that was the voice that kept me from turning my business around all these years. So I had to look into its ugly face and say, "SHUT UP."
My books are worth it. The time and the value I'm putting into them is worth this price. Period.
Let's ponder this question. How do we approach this dilemma of "Yes, my art is worth it" and "No, my art isn't worth shit" from now on? There is also the dilemma of book prices, but this dilemma is bigger. One way I found helps me is realizing we're all impostors. But that awful fraud police still whispers nasty things in my head.
So you see, I'm still learning.
HOW DO WE BATTLE IT?
Tell me your wisdom.