How much is too much?

I do the Industry News column for the RWA-WF group, and Dear Author is one of the sites I check for their publishing news links. I was there earlier this week, and somehow I ended up reading a review of Not That Kind of Girl by Susan Donovan. It was a good review. I’m already a Susan Donovan fan, so I probably would buy it even without the review. Since I was at the site, I started reading the comments. (Hmm, I’m beginning to see the reason my time management isn’t working. But, hey, it gave me a blog topic.)

The first comment was about the cost. After reading the review, the commenter went to buy the book. But she saw the e-version was $7.99, the same price as the paper version, and she desisted. From then on, most of the comments were about the price, pretty much everyone agreeing with the first commenter (including me). One reason is that this book is DRM (Digital Rights Management) protected, which means you can’t share it with another reading device that you own or with a friend.

Susan Donovan popped in and after thanking the reviewer, she said:

“I do want to say one thing about the cost of Kindle and e-books. Please understand that most authors are no longer profiting from the sale of their work in mass-market paperback format. Paper sales are down across-the-board. Because of the industry transition to e-format, e-books can account for as more than a quarter of an author’s sales. (That’s what I heard in September — it’s probably much bigger by now!) In essence, buying a novel at cover price via Kindle or other e-format version is the same process as going to a store and buying a paperback book in its physical form. By paying cover price, you are allowing the author to make a living.”

Dear Author reviewer Robin/Janet replied much better than I can. Here’s just part of what she said:

“Unfortunately, with DRM, I cannot sell, give away, lend, or otherwise share my ebooks, and in many cases, I can’t even do that between my own devices. I have lost DRMd ebooks that my current devices can no longer read, and when the (not)agency model went into effect, I was in the process of buying digital books I could not get fulfillment on.

So from your perspective, you want to get paid more, and from mine, I want the same rights for my digital books as for paper. Should we make each other responsible for those things? Obviously not. The publisher stands in the middle, coordinating all of this. As an author, you negotiate your contract for digital royalties, and as a reader, I have basically no recourse to protest IMO inflated ebook prices coming from traditional publishers except refusing to purchase (because traditional publishers do not view readers as their customers). Contrary to what some publishers seem to think, many of us will not buy paper when ebooks are too expensive. In fact, I offered my paper ARC of Not That Kind of Girl to no fewer than five people who were interested in the book, and all refused. For more and more readers, it’s digital or nothing. And with limited reader rights, we believe the price should reflect that.”

One thing that wasn’t mentioned in the comments is that prices are made up. The publisher charges what he/she/the marketing dept./whatever thinks people will pay. What the market will bear. As evidenced by the Dear Author comments, most readers won’t pay the same price for digital as paper. The market is NOT bearing it. Some publishers already recognize this. Others are refusing to see it. Eventually, I’m sure they will, but until then, it’s going to cost their authors money.

I thought I’d note that most self-published writers I know (including myself) do not have their books DRM protected. Every online retailer offers this, but we refuse for a reason. Readers hate it, and we want to sell books. Isn’t that what publishers want too? And if they think that the DRM protects books from being pirated, they’re sadly mistaken. But that’s another topic.

Where do you stand on this?

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49 Responses to How much is too much?

  1. Speaking personally, as the publisher in my department in charge of pricing, I didn’t make the prices up. I had to factor in typesetting and other production costs, printing, distribution, booksellers’ discounts, author royalties and warehousing, advertising, PR, review copies, returns and then on top of that, a profit margin that would not have set potential investors on fire with enthusiasm, but which we could live with if the book did well (which there was a chance it wouldn’t!).

    Sure, with ebooks, some of that doesn’t apply, but let me ask one thing. If there WASN’T a paper book available, in other words, the reader couldn’t see the paper book price, would they still have baulked at the price? Is it worth $7.99 to them, if there is nothing to compare that price too? $7.99 for an instant copy of a book you want to read doesn’t sound unreasonable to me.

  2. Edie Ramer says:

    Michelle, interesting question. I think that $5.99 is a reasonable price a mass market e-book. I will pay more for favorite authors, but I won’t like it. It’s the authors who aren’t favorites and aren’t getting a lot of buzz who won’t do as well.

  3. Because I don’t yet have an ereader, I may be judging this from a paper perspective. It costs me around $8 for a paperback, and I have to wait a good week or more to get it. I have to go to my post office to pick it up. Getting it right away, with no fuss, would be an added benefit for me. Not having to store it anywhere, likewise. So if I was going to pay $8 for the paperback and have the added hassle of getting my hands on it, I’d definitely pay $8 to have it immediately.

    Whether that is the norm, or not, I’m sure I’ll find out when I have an ereader. And obviously, I’d be more inclined to take a chance on a new author at $5 or $6 than at $8. But having been involved in pricing at a publishing house, I think you struck a nerve with the ‘prices are made up’ comment. Maybe they are in this case, but from my own experience, that isn’t so at all.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Setting aside the “prices are made up” part (which I read on a blog by someone in the business recently, but I can’t remember who), when I buy a paperback and I love it, I can give it to a friend to read or donate it to a library. (If it’s paranormal, Liz gets first dibs.) I can’t do that with a digital book. Even if something isn’t DRM, I wouldn’t share with anyone. And if I love it, I make room for it on my bookshelves. If it’s DRM protected and I get a new digital reading toy–which will likely happen before I move–I can’t do that.

      When I buy at the store, I see that a salesperson is ringing up the sales. Maybe another one stocked it or helped me find it. There is a string of people involved who get a cut of that money. Plus, the publisher often pays for favorite placement. All prices saved, along with warehousing and printing costs.

      I do buy print books from Amazon, too, which Amazon usually discounts. But for the mass market print books that aren’t discounted (like Susan Donovan’s), I normally get them at Target or a similar store, and I think they’re 25% discounted. I’m sure I’ll buy the Susan Donovan book at one of those places. The publisher should take that into account for their digital prices.

  4. Carrie Lofty says:

    I’m really in the middle ground here, in that I don’t have the print clout to make contract demands and I’m not self-published. This sort of price haggling will ease off in time, just as it has for downloaded songs and movies. I think the romance community is so tight and well-informed that these discussions pop up with more thought and regularity here than in most forums. I have non-industry Facebook friends who don’t even know what e-readers are. We have a little ways to go before the bugs are all worked out and people accept e-books as easily as, say, MP3s.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Carrie, my friend was lounging around a backyard pond with her adult daughter and niece. They’re all readers and my friend was reading a print book, but her daughter and niece were reading from e-readers. The tipping point is coming, and fast.

      I know the author doesn’t have a say in the digital pricing, but they’re the ones who lose money because of this.

  5. I refuse to pay paperback prices for an ebook. Period.

    Oh, I know some of the publisher overhead is needed to pay for professional models, editors, typesetters, etc., BUT there is no paper costs, no printing costs, no ink costs, NO returned books and NO warehouse or distributing costs. The publisher is simply raking in more profit per sale than with standard publishing costs, because they low-balled the author with digital royalties. I’m not against the publisher making a cut of the profit, but who is it ultimately costing?

    The author.

    In the current economic climate, I think the big business greed of the publishers is reprehensible. Many people can’t affort $8 for a book, paper or ebook, and the only way they get the chance to read is second-hand, whether from used book sales or friends. True, the author doesn’t see any of the monies from a used book–but they ultimately do gain in the process. They gain new readers. They gain name recognition.

    If I were published, I would try my darnedest to find a way of pricing electronic book sales a couple of bucks cheaper than a paperback. But I’m not published, so this is JMHO.

    Margaret

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Margaret, I agree with you on everything except for the last bit. Right now authors don’t have the clout to make the publishers charge less for digital books. Maybe discussions like this will bring it to their attention.

  6. I was desperate to read a YA a few weeks back and needed an ebook. I paid 9 bucks for one. Can’t remember how much the printed version was, I think only a dollar more. But I’m so mad for paying that much. First, it wasn’t that much cheaper than the print, and two, not even comparing e to print, 9 bucks is a lot to pay for a ya and it wasn’t that good. So annoyed! Another reason to buy Indie :)

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Lori, I so agree. I bought a favorite author’s book digitally at the mass market print price. I didn’t know when I’d get to a store to buy it. I did like it a lot, but I still feel cheated.

      The only other book I bought at equal price to print was a friend’s book. Oddly, that doesn’t bother me at all. But I’m sure the price stopped other readers from buying her books, and that sucks.

  7. Mary Jo says:

    Edie,

    Once again you choose a topic about which commenters definitely have their opinions.

    I’m in the middle I guess as I’ve run out of space for any more paper books in this house and can’t move, so my Kindle is the only way to go and I must have books. If I want a book, I’ll buy it, not matter the cost and I hope my readers will feel the same about my future books.

  8. Annemarie says:

    I completely agree with Margaret. The publisher has much lesser costs in e-publishing than for printed books. Thus also less risks and less investments. Even if he shares part of the surplus (does he?? indeed??), it’s not justified to ask the same price.

    Already Kurt Tucholsky , nearly a hundred years ago, asked his publisher to make books cheaper.
    Tecnically, now this is possible: E-publishing could be a win-win-situation for all the three parties; reader, author and publisher.

    Annemarie

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Tecnically, now this is possible: E-publishing could be a win-win-situation for all the three parties; reader, author and publisher.

      Annemarie, absolutely! It’s too bad the publishers are balking. As an reader who buys digital books, it feels as if they’re trying to gouge me. I don’t like that.

  9. I have to say first that my security word is “broad” as in…Old Broad…as in Old Broad with an attitude! :)

    Now, I’m not in the middle at all. I firmly feel that publishers are trying to make themselves as money as possible by charging the same thing for digital as for print. If the author were getting a larger (significantly larger) piece of the money pie for e-books (since the publisher has less overhead with no paper, no returns, no storage, etc), then you MIGHT (and I mean MIGHT) talk me into paying the same rate as paper, but even then, I’d probably balk.

    My husband brought home a ColorNook for me for Christmas. He did not want to. He does not like the idea of my paying full price for books that I can’t loan out, or trade in at a used bookstore or (and this is what I usually do), donate to the public library.

    I think the publishing structure today for print books is WAY out of date. It’s broken. It doesn’t work. But the 5 Agency who account for the agency pricing model refuses to acknowledge that. They don’t want to change how things are done because if they do, they (the publishers) would/could lose control of the industry…a fate worse than death! But change is coming and coming like a locomotive down the tracks…full-steam ahead (okay, how odd is it that I use a old-timey metaphor for new technology! hee hee)

    I think the price for e-books should be in the $3 to $3.50 range, with authors getting large percentage of the take.

  10. LaDonna says:

    Wow, love the debate! As a newbie in this e-reader zone, have it on my Christmas list, I’ve been checking out all the books I want to buy. And like all new things, prices seem higher with new trends. I know I’m late to this party, having read in nothing but physical books my whole life, but I gotta say one thing I love is the convenience of e-reads; saves a trip to the store, and it’s immediate.

    With all things going digital one way or another, I guess the publishers felt they still needed to make a profit regardless if it was in cyberspace or not. I guess it boils down to a great story is a great story, whether you read it off the back of a cereal box, a bound hardback, paperback, or e-reader downloaded in less than a minute, you’re paying for the creative experience. Sure, I love those e-reads for $5 or less, but the reality is that I’d pay for much more in a brick and mortar and eventually have to find a spot for it on my shelf.

    I’m still in love with books and bookstores, but making room for the new e-books in my life too. Since I’m not an expert either way, these are only first musings… I’m sure at some point, when all reveals itself, I’ll have a firmer grasp of the behind the scenes going ons. I was also thinking of how prices are rising for everything these days. At what point will it stop and start to slide back into normal…or have we lost that?

    • Edie Ramer says:

      I was also thinking of how prices are rising for everything these days. At what point will it stop and start to slide back into normal…or have we lost that?

      LaD, with so many people NOT buying e-books because of the price, I’d think that sooner of later publishers would get that they need to lower them. I hope it’s sooner.

  11. Misty Evans says:

    I had this recently with a Linda Castillo series. I read the first book in print (won it in a contest) and went to buy the second on my Kindle, found it was priced at $9.99 and didn’t buy it. Not that I don’t want Linda to get her chunk of change, but I can’t buy $10 books at this juncture. And there are tons of books out there I want to read, so if I can get one of those at $2.99 or even $5, I’ll be more likely to snag one of those, and buy hers later in paperback or get it at the library.

    I hate to be that way, but the times demand I keep careful control over my book budget.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Misty, I opened my credit card bill yesterday, and this was my reaction at all my Amazon purchases: :shock: And that’s with me being restrained. So I know I need to be a bit more careful. Unless the writer is a friend, I won’t buy an ebook that’s the same as a print. For a friend, though, I’ll happily buy.

  12. Liz Kreger says:

    I guess I have to say that I’m also middle of the road with this debate. I love the instant gratification when buying an ebook but really dislike the price the publisher is charging. No, I cannot sell, trade or give away the ebook as I would a paperback, but I’m saving on space and the fact that hubby will never again know how much I spend on books. :wink:

    I do object to the fact that I’m charged $7.99 for an ebook when the overhead isn’t the same as that of a paperback. At the very least, they should slash off a couple of bucks. The other thing I’d like to know … is the percentage to the author the same for an ebook as it is for a paperback? I know with my books, my percentage for the ebook version was higher than it was for the paperback.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Liz, the percentage is higher. I think (but not sure) that in most places it’s 20%. It should be much higher. Maybe this happened after you left the party on Saturday, but the published author who was our hostess (not sure if she wants her name mentioned) said that the publisher was charging too much for the backlist books, and they weren’t selling well. She and other authors were glad when the rights revert to them, they can sell it themselves for a reasonable price that will sell better, and they’ll get the higher royalty for themselves.

  13. Liz Kreger says:

    Oh, by the way … great subject matter, Edie. And I love the cat reading the book. :cool:

  14. *coming out of deeeeep lurkdom*

    Ebooks are cheaper because they don’t have prints runs and the only warehousing they have to worry about is space in the server for about 10 different formats. So from a reader’s point of view, if it’s cheaper to make ebooks, the prices should reflect that.

    Now, I also get what Michelle is saying. Publishers are providing an instant service. Think of it like Fedex versus regular mail. If you want it sooner, it’ll cost you more. The “sooner” in this case translates to convenience. History has dictated that the consumer is always going to pay more for it.

    I can see both sides, but I have to go with the readers on this one. If it’s cheaper to make an ebook, then why should I have to eat the extra costs? They don’t pay any extra overhead for me to get my book sooner, so why should I have to pay more for that? At least with Fedex, I know my overhead is covering gas costs and jet fuel to make sure I get product the next day. Not to mention, extra hands on my package to make it all happen. I’m not trying to line the pockets of a publisher when I can barely keep the thread in mine. And if the ebook were the only thing offered by the publisher, I’d still be hesitant to buy it when I know there are other fantastic books out there that can quench my reading thirst at cheaper prices. That’s how a publisher with unfair pricing loses a sale.

  15. Edie Ramer says:

    And if the ebook were the only thing offered by the publisher, I’d still be hesitant to buy it when I know there are other fantastic books out there that can quench my reading thirst at cheaper prices. That’s how a publisher with unfair pricing loses a sale.

    Marcia, absolutely. And the one getting hurt by people not buying her book because the price is deemed too high is the author. That sucks.

  16. Edie, this is an excellent and well-needed post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I’m still so unsure of what to think on this issue because I don’t have an ereader myself, but I often loan out or give away books I’ve read… I can see why, if that’s not something possible to do with many of these e-books, it would be frustrating to readers to pay the same price as a paper copy. Sigh. I have a lot to learn about this situation, though…I’d better get to studying it! ;)

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Marilyn, it was tough for me to write because I didn’t want to offend any of my writer friends. But I’m guessing they heard it before and it’s one more thing they have to worry about. It’s too they’re the ones squeezed in the middle over a choice they have no say about.

  17. Zoe Winters says:

    I usually won’t pay over $5 for an ebook. There just is no reason to. Too many great books at affordable prices.

    I will RARELY pay over that, but I’ve never paid more than $9.99 for a Kindle book. I recently paid $8.96 for a Kindle version of Cynthia Eden’s new book. But Cindy is special. :) If Cindy wasn’t Cindy, I wouldn’t have paid that.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Zoe, I bought Eternal Flame last night, too! I started reading it last night, and it’s so good! If I’d felt better sooner, I would’ve bought it a few days ago. Darn cold.

  18. Tamara Hogan says:

    I agree 100% about the pricing of ebooks vs. physical books – I won’t pay as much for an electronic book as a physical book, and also, with a physical book, my ownership is crystal clear and not tethered to a device or a vendor. But as a former software developer, one thing I have to mention is that electronic data conversion isn’t free. True, there may be no physical book for the publisher to produce or to distribute, but in order to publish electronically, the publisher needs to incur the cost of developing multiple conversion programs. These programs need to be analyzed, coded, tested, executed and maintained by someone – usually multiple, expensive someones – for the duration, and every time a new device, or a new version of a device, comes down the pike, the analysis begins again. A publisher may reach a point where they run enough books through the electronic data conversion process to recoup their investment, but there IS an upfront and continuing investment, and it isn’t cheap.

    As an author who’d someday like to make a living at this, ;-) thanks for your thoughts on this topic.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Tamara, I’m self-published, and through Smashwords I’ve tested my books in about 6 different versions (plus, I have my own Kindle). A few weeks ago, I uploaded a book and a short story on Smashwords, B&N, and Kindle. It took longer than it should, just because I’m kind of anal about things like that (plus, I ran through it for other errors). But once you get it, it’s not that hard. (With the exception of one coding think for Kindle that I didn’t get.)

      If it were someone’s job, I think this person would start zipping through it after just a few books. You’re right, though, that there are other e-reading devices that I’m not going to worry. And a publisher would have to pay someone to do this. But in the end, I still think the cost to put it out there would be a lot less than the cost of a physical book that goes through the hands of many, many people before reaching the reader.

  19. Elle J Rossi says:

    Edie,

    Actually it doesn’t matter to me what the price is. If I like the author, I’ll be ahppy to spend the same money on an ebook that I would print. She or he spent just as much time writing it! Two cents and all!

  20. Aimee Jessop says:

    I do have an ereader and I love it. But if I find that an ebook is at the same price or more than a hardcopy, then I opt for the hardcopy. I don’t understand the pricing and I won’t pretend to, but if I think an ebook is too pricey for my liking, then I opt for the real thing. I still love real books. I still want the author to make money and I know that charging too low will hurt the one who slaved over the novel. The only thing that makes me scratch my head is when the ebook is more than the book itself.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Aimee, I read a review this morning that made me want to buy a book. I went to Amazon and with the discount they gave the print book, it was 5 cents cheaper than the e-book. That’s insane! There was no way I would buy that.

      • Aimee Jessop says:

        That doesn’t make much sense to me. I am not expecting the price to be cut in half for an ebook, but I’m willing to wait a week for a book to be delivered for prices like that. I’d rather have the paper copy if I’m shelling out that kind of money.

  21. Full disclosure: I don’t have an e-reader, nor am I thinking of getting one anytime in the near future, but because my CP is e-pubbed, I do read a good deal on my computer. That said…

    We’re talking about paperback prices here– but what about the people who squawk at the idea of not paying one red cent more than $5.99 or $6.99 or whatever for a brand new release that is only out in hardcover?

    You’re paying a premium to be able to get that book at such an early juncture. And to receive it instantly rather than waiting for a delivery or going to the bookstore and incurring either shipping or gasoline costs.

    Everything has its costs that add up. Ultimately, it’s the author who suffers the most– readers accusing the author of gouging the reader or giving them one-star reviews on bookseller sites because they don’t agree with the e-version price and refusing to buy the book. If they’re angry enough, they obtain it illegally, feeling justified in doing so, because, in their opinion, the price is unreasonably jacked up. That results in fewer sales for the author. Which results in a smaller sell-through and in this economic climate where publishers are being careful and advances are becoming smaller and smaller, this means the likelihood that that author will receive another contract any time soon is lessened to a great degree.

    I understand not wanting to “reward” the publishers, but when the end result punishes the author?

    And one has to take into account Amazon’s role in all of this. The simple fact of the matter is that it was Jeff Bezos who established an unrealistic expectation for the price of e-books and anyone who’s not familiar with the history of Amazon and its stranglehold on the world of e-books should probably read this article: Books After Amazon. A lot of the way that publishers are currently behaving with respect to e-book pricing is as a direct result of Bezos’ contrary and secretive manner of business practice. He’s successful, but to put it bluntly, he doesn’t give a shit about books or publishing. Yet he’s set so much of the bar of how the current model of e-book pricing is being executed.

    We’re in a time of massive flux in publishing. I’m not saying anyone should act contrary to their conscience or in a way that’s not in the best interests of their financial means, but whatever you choose to do as a reader and consumer, I beg you to keep in mind how it affects the person with literally, the least amount of control and the most to lose: the author.

    *steps off soapbox*

    • Zoe Winters says:

      We’re also in a crappy economy. Most people who won’t pay a certain amount for an ebook don’t because they read a lot and it’s too expensive. They can’t afford it.

      Further, there are many people who up until ebooks were just getting books from the library, which really doesn’t help the author that much because a book stays in circulation with a library through quite a few hundred lendings usually before it gets replaced. Whereas with cheaper e-reads a lot of people who only went to libraries because books were to expensive to support their reading habit are now buying. And so suddenly authors who never would have seen a dime from these readers, are benefiting.

      So there are multiple ways to look at it. I hate to see authors lose out, but authors can choose to hold onto their erights and digitally publish independently where they can give readers a bargain AND make good money.

      With the Amazon royalty rate, I make $2 off a $2.99 ebook, and that’s the same or more than I’d make off royalties on any print format from a publisher.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Barb, I wasn’t talking about hardcover prices. This was a paperback book that was the same price as an ebook. And you mentioned one article. I can show you plenty more that have the opposite opinion. But in the end, it matters what the readers feel. Go to the Dear Author review that I linked to, and look at the comments there. The readers aren’t happy paying the same price for print books as e-books.

      I certainly don’t blame the authors. Two of my published author friends are thrilled that they’ve got the rights to their backlist books so they can put it up and price it reasonably so it will sell. You might want to read J.A. Konrath’s blogs. He’s very open about how much money he makes from his lower priced books versus his published, higher priced books.

      • The dif with Joe Konrath is that going in, he already had a far bigger established audience than a lot of authors–

        And yeah, it was only one article and I know there are two sides to every story– but that article I linked to supported the argument I’d been hearing from a lot of other quarters.

        I don’t know– there’s just so many aspects to this, it’s why I tend to hesitate to get involved in discussions about it, usually just sitting back and reading and listening and trying to get a handle on things.

        Then, as soon as I think I have some idea what’s going on, a new wrinkle presents itself. Go figure. :roll:

        • Zoe Winters says:

          Barbara,

          I don’t feel the “but Joe had…” argument holds weight. I’m an indie author, never had a publisher, started this 2 years ago with zero platform, and now I’m making a strong living. I guarantee I’m making more than a LOT of NY pubbed authors. I don’t say that to brag but simply to point out that Joe Konrath isn’t doing well “because he’s Joe Konrath” there is plenty of room in this game for others and platform is built one satisfied reader at a time.

          I think Joe’s biggest advantage going in wasn’t his previous audience/fan base, but was the fact that he had several books to put out at once, but this is also true for many NY pubbed authors who have a lot of backlist that has gone out of print.

        • Zoe Winters says:

          And Amanda Hocking is another indie who didn’t have a NY pub, and she’s only been doing this 6 or 7 months. She’s making even more than I am. She didn’t start with a big audience either. She had several books she published at once and has been working to build backlist.

          There are many other success stories like this. I think authors have to stop making excuses about why things can’t work for them and TRY something. Publishing is changing and there is a lot of success potential for those willing to take risks.

          • Edie Ramer says:

            Barb, I was going to say pretty much what Zoe did. You should read some of Konrath’s blogs. He does talk about previously unpubbed writers who are doing very well with ebooks.

          • *shrug*

            I’m not looking to make excuses for myself– I don’t need to and my measure of success may differ greatly from someone else’s.

            However, one can’t deny that Joe did have a bigger audience and a strong backlist. (Sorry about forgetting that.)

            But I also understand certain things about myself– one, I don’t tend to write the kinds of books that lend themselves to drawing strong e-reader audiences. Maybe that comes across as an excuse, but I see it as a certain truism. I’ve considered e-pubbing some of my works and each time I weighed the pros and cons, decided against it, because it doesn’t work for me and my work. That may change in the future. It may not.

            Second, and more importantly, I don’t have the energy to give to the kind of promotion that would make an author successful as a self-published or e-pubbed author. I’ve just finished nearly a month of promotion for my latest release and I’m exhausted. It’s just simply not my forte. I enjoy it to a point, but then I’m ready to be done with it and get back to writing. I can’t really do both effectively at the same time and again, it’s something I understand about myself. One thing I admire about Joe is he’s a self-promo beast. He’s got what it takes to make it work. And good for him. What he does, isn’t a viable option for me at this time.

      • Oh, and I’m a member of a writing group/site with Joe Konrath– believe me, I’ve heard his views on this a lot. ;-) He’s pretty eloquent and passionate about the subject.

        • Edie Ramer says:

          Barb, I understand exactly what you mean about self-promo. I’d rather work on my next book, too.

        • Zoe Winters says:

          Not trying to disrespect your publishing path or say “my way is the way”. If you don’t want to do something it’s perfectly valid. Just don’t do it. That’s your choice. My issue was merely that you spoke as if Joe Konrath is an exception because of having a previous big audience, and that’s just not something you “have” to have to succeed at this.

          Going indie isn’t right for everyone, but I do truly believe that’s where most of the money is going to be for any author who isn’t already famous. It’s why I jumped into it two years ago, to start building a name for myself and take advantage of this opportunity.

          In 5-10 years some people are going to be saying: “Man, I wish I’d jumped into that ebook thing back before it got so crowded and hard to compete”.

          But again, I respect that your publishing path is different from mine and if you don’t want to do it, you don’t want to do it.

          Incidentally though, Amanda Hocking didn’t do a giant amount of self-promo and to my understanding neither did Karen McQuestion. If you use good keywords and categories and good description and a good cover and good book, people find you. If they like you, they tell others, you sell more, then Amazon and B&N start recommending you more… and you sale more… and etc.

          On my next release I don’t intend on doing any major marketing, just a twitter mention, facebook mention, blog mention, and my newsletter. I really did about that little when I released two of my novellas and it didn’t seem to hurt me any on sales. I, too, am tired of marketing and I’m about to seriously streamline that and focus my attention on growing backlist.

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