Let me tell you a short story. My next work, currently being formatted, is a short story of 5000 words. I’m going to ask $2.99 for that as well. You can read it in probably twenty minutes. But I think it's worth three bucks. It has depth and significance. I’m asking about half the cost of a value meal. You know the number four with fries and a Dr. Pepper that you’ll gladly hand over seven bucks for. You’ll scarf it down in ten minutes. And you’ll be hungry again later. But you’ll pay it, happily so. My thoughts are worth more than a value meal aren’t they?
I also have a novelette that will drop soon. It’s about 15K. For me, that’s an epic. And I think it is pretty damn epic, actually. I’m going to ask $4.99 for it. Yup, a whole Abe Lincoln for something I’ve been working on for months now, pouring my heart, soul, and energy into. The value meal is still more expensive.
Some of you will say, “That’s crazy, I can get a whole novel for that price!” Okay, then go ahead. If I ever write a novel, I’ll be asking what the big boys ask for it. Eight or nine bucks. A small fortune, I know.
“I won’t buy something that short for that much money.”
I understand that best pun. A lot of people won’t, easily the majority of people. But I’m taking a chance that some people will. Hopefully the readers I’ve invited into my mind for a dollar will agree. And I don’t need that many. At a royalty of $2.08 compared to $0.35, I only need one willing reader for every six at the lower price point to break even. And perhaps some readers will see my books among the myriad of ninety-nine-centers or http://jokesfan.com/best-puns.html and think, hmm… that might be something there. Prestige pricing, you may call it. I think of it as asking what my stuff is worth. If people disagree I’m sure they’ll let me know via an assault of low-star reviews and play on words jokes. We’ll see.
“But Rachel, e-books aren't valuing meals, you can’t compare the two.”
I know. A book has the ability to make people think, to consider bold, new ideas. It has the ability to affect them on a deeply personal level. It can entertain them by transporting them to brand new worlds, amazing places where the possibilities are limited only by the human imagination. You can get a side of honey mustard sauce with the value meal. If you ask for it.
So I am really being so crazy to assign these the values I have?
But still, I am hesitant. I’m bucking the system, following a mad messiah known as Dean Wesley Smith. I’m taking part in an uprising, a revolution. It does indeed make me nervous. Will I be rejected for my audacity? Will people stop buying my books because of my over-inflated sense of self-importance?
That’s why I am putting my thoughts to virtual-paper and sharing them with you– so that I don’t waver. So I don’t allow doubt and uncertainty to reenter my psyche and reverse my course of action. So I don’t chicken out. Once I’ve committed to pushing the “send” button on this e-mail, my thoughts are real are out there. They become “real”. I can’t take them back.
And if you’re a self-published writer, maybe some of you will agree with DWS and me and the other self-pubbed writers who have reached this conclusion before I have. And perhaps you’ll find you haven’t been giving your work the value it warrants, either.