It’s almost a year ago since the last NINC conference, which inspired me to get my books back into print. I’d gotten the rights back, but I’d done nothing with the books, other than to let them sit on the ‘out of print’ shelf. Last November I brought the first out into the digital age. Getting all eight Regency romances into print took longer than I anticipated–I wanted all done by the first of 2011, but it was more like July of 2011 when the last rolled into the digital world. Covers took longer to have done–I paid for professional covers, all of which I love. I also had edits and some revisions to do to update the books. And I move to New Mexico during that time, so that was a distraction.
I also went from just using a clean (very clean) formatted Word document to using MobiCreator to convert a Word document that’s been saved as “Web Filtered” and add my covers and metadata there to produce better formatted ebooks.
And I learned about pricing.
Initially, I priced all my books at 2.99. That seemed reasonable. They’d been priced at 4.95 in print editions, but the electronic copies didn’t have paper, ink, or warehouse costs to defray. Sales were good, but not great, so I started experimenting.
I also noticed my own Kindle-buying habits. With the move and everything, books at .99 on Amazon started catching my eye. They were easy buys–more like the old days when you could pick up a paperback for just a couple of bucks, and so there was no worry about an investment of money (and time). For .99 I could take reading risks. And so I started pricing some of my books at .99.
They sold well. Very well.
So I put all of my Regency romances up at .99. And now I have one book (A Proper Mistress) that’s in the Amazon Top 100 (top 50 actually, and #1 Regency). All eight are in the top 50 Regency romance best sellers.
Now, maybe they would have made it to best sellers without the .99 price. On the other hand, I have to figure that in this economy lots of other folks are being careful with money. And why not sell for .99? Publishing houses may have overhead–and maybe they’re worried that if ebooks are so affordable folks will stop buying the print editions, where a publishing house can make a better profit margin. They’re right to worry. Particularly since mid-list authors can now actually make better money with ebooks than with print editions (I haven’t yet out-earned what I made with print editions, but I’m on my way there).
And, finally, the bottom line is that if I’m looking for those .99 bargains, why not participate and offer them up as well. I believe in walking the talk–and the talk is that digital is not just the future, it’s a reasonable one where good books can again find their way into reader’s hands.
I’m going again to the NINC conference this year — what’s not to love about white beaches, blue ocean, other writers, and tons of great ideas.
And NINC has adjusted its membership requirements–if you’re earning money (good money) with a book you’ve brought out online, you can be a NINC member. This not only seems wise to be for the organization, but it’s supportive of authors–it’s about supporting money into the author’s hands so that you can both write and eat (and not have to eat canned soup).
Will book prices ever go up? Maybe. I can see bringing out a new book at 2.99, or 1.99 — or maybe even free. But I love the flexibility–and the ability as the author to have more input into my own books.
It’s funny since I write about the Regency era–an era when authors often participated financially in their own book production costs, an era when an author had a great deal of say about publishing. Technology is taking us back again to those days.