Tag Archives: John Grisham

Reader Response to Indie Publishing Prices.

Hey folks,
I just read this post on GoodReads on ‘gouging’ my readers. I was initially offended, but I took the time to write a thoughtful response, I think. Both the initial note and my response are below.

Any thoughts? Should I not have responded? Is $6.99 too high a price for a new release like STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS [Will be on sale for $4.99 November 22-30]? I released ALL IS SILENCE at $5.99 and dropped it to $4.99 [Currently on sale for $2.99 this month.] when it had been out a year. Both books are approximately 90,000 words. That’s nearly 300 pages in the Trade paperback 6×9 inch format. It would be close to 400 pages in a traditional 4.25×6.75 mass-market paperback format. That’s a thick book in my mind. Please, let me know your thoughts. If you buy e-books with any regularity, what are you willing/interested to pay? What price makes you think, “Ah, this is an amateur?” 😉

Anyway here are the note and my response.

“Well, I was planning on reading the sequel, but $6.99 for a kindle book is just crazy. The publisher is the authors company, so this is self published. Self published authors make almost 15 times more than a normal published author, which is why their books normally sell for more reasonable prices and why I buy them. As much as I read, I cannot afford published author prices and no need to with so many great and reasonably priced books out there. This author asking that much for his book is crazy and he will find his sales drastically reduced at those kinds of prices. I would have been a faithful reader and read everything he has out, but I got no use for an author that gouges his readers.”

My response:

“Dear Reader,
I’m sorry you feel that way. Thank you for letting me know that you think my prices are too high. I will take that into consideration.

Please consider the following before judging me so harshly. I gave away my first book for free. It’s also just come out and will be on sale at the end of the month for a short time. When book three comes out it will also drop in price permanently. Putting out a professional level book with cover art cost me about $2500 not counting my time to write it. It took me 2 years to cover those costs.

Gouging seems a particularly harsh word choice and I am sorry I have lost your readership. In the days when movies cost $10 and a cup of coffee is $3, I think $5-7 is a reasonable price for a work that will take several hours or more to read, hopefully taking the reader into a world other than this one.

Thank you for the positive comments on All Is Silence.

Sincerely,
Rob”

After getting caught up in this I did some checking around. Cool authors who are still relatively new like my Path to Publishing buddy, Marshall Ryan Maresca are selling ebooks for $7.99. Well-known in the genre writers like Seanan MacGuire are $7.99-9.99 and more famous folks like Jim Butcher are at $9.99. Though Andy Weir‘s The Martian $8.99, but he’s only got one book. 

So, tell me your thoughts. Thanks. If $6.99 is a gouge, please buy my books this month while they’re on SALE! 😉

~ Rob

P.S. After writing this I went to the Amazon Kindle bestsellers pages for the first time. John Grisham’s new one with a really crappy cover is selling as an ebook for $14.99! Now that feels like a gouge.