Gabrielle Bisset

Monday, December 10, 2012

Why I'm Fine With A Buck Sometimes

Until recently, I hadn't considered writing any short stories. As an indie, I have a lot of freedom to do unique things with my stories, but for me, fair pricing is always an issue and I'm not a big fan of the .99 price range.

I think it's time we indies begin to see that the .99 price range for a novella of 30K or worse, for a novel 50K or above is degrading what we do. I know everyone wants to sell books, but I want you to imagine that somewhere like McDonald's began to sell some of their meals for .99.  You may think you were getting a great deal if it were a sale, but if the restaurant kept the price that low, wouldn't you wonder why those meals were so cheap compared to other meals priced up to 7x higher? Wouldn't you begin to think that they must be offering an inferior meal for such a cheap price?

Even as the economy struggles today, people know what cheap means, and it isn't just about price. As indies, do we want readers to believe that a story an author spent months writing and then spent money for professional editing and cover design is only worth .99? I'm sure some feel that way, but I don't. I am a professional who expects to be treated as such, and as a result, I won't charge less than a buck for a novel, no matter how many I want to sell. And I won't buy them either.

Short stories are different, however. While I do have them professionally edited and hire a cover designer, my short stories are around 6K words, so I feel .99 is a fair price for them. Did they take months to write? No. See, for me, that's the line of demarcation. I always pay for the services associated with my books. What changes with shorter stories is the length of time I work on them. While there are challenges associated with writing shorts (especially making sure that the stories have a beginning, middle, and end and they make sense to the series they are found in), they aren't as labor intensive to create, so I don't charge as much.

I will have two short stories out by later this week--Longing and The Deepest Cut--and both will be priced at .99. For readers who have come to know my Sons of Navarus series, the stories revolve around a growing love triangle between Sasa and two of the Sons, her sire Vasilije and Thane, her friend who has long harbored unrequited feelings for her. Those same readers can be sure that the level of writing is the same as in my novels. Nothing will be different but the length.

In some respect, I want to charge merely .99 for these not only because they're short but also because they're really for fans of the series. Reading these two shorts without knowing what occurred in the series so far will mean nothing if the reader hasn't gotten to know the Sons series, but for fans, it's a little more for them about the characters as they wait for the release of Blood Prophecy (the 4th book in the series) early next year.

So I'm okay with a buck sometimes, but I will continue to fight against the bottom basement pricing for indie work. I work too hard on my books to give readers the impression they aren't worth more. Readers want an entertaining story that's well crafted, and that's what they get in my novellas and novels. That's worth more than .99.