The Business End of This

I was banging with a gang of instrumentals
Got the pens and pencils, got down to business; but sometimes
The business end of this shit can turn your friends against you. – Dr. Dre, What’s the Difference?

I was raised with the classic etiquette that discussing money is impolite conversation (as well as religion and politics unless asked). However, given the fact that this blog does point visitors to my amazon pages for the two independently published works I’ve finished, I think there’s some value in breaking that principle this once to talk money matters as an indie author.

I don’t self promote incessantly, or harangue friends to buy my work, or post with myriad hashtags to sell/pressure/guilt my way into more peoples’ hands. I could (and maybe should) write another post altogether about the noise chamber that is indie author self-promotion  (I alluded to it a bit in this post on focus and where my priorities of my time at the desk are directed).

For now, I want to talk about the price points for my books, and my thinking therein:

Beneath the Wood was my first foray: I put the Kindle edition up first in October 2016 because at the time I thought the Kindle version was the only version I would publish. Because Amazon wouldn’t let me make it free (except for Kindle Unlimited subscribers), I priced it as low as I could at 99 cents. When I published the paperback edition the following January, Amazon specified the lowest I could price it due to printing costs at $8.63. Just for aesthetics, I put it at $8.99. I make somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter whenever someone buys either copy, I think. I could care less about the profit, because the truth is, I care about people reading and enjoying it, and getting it into potential readers’ hands as easily as possible.

Five Talents was, thanks to my experience with Beneath the Wood before it, planned from the get go for simultaneous Kindle and Paperback publishing when no agents bit. You might notice that Five Talents’ Kindle edition is priced at $2.99, whereas the paperback is $7.99. While the Paperback is more expensive, I make less money when someone buys it. I make $2+ on each Kindle edition purchased. This is because in my position, I see it as an invisible negotiation with potential consumers: I’ve made the paperback edition as cheap as possible to encourage you buying it because I believe people are more likely to share/lend out physical copies of books they like than Kindle editions (did you even know you can share ebooks via Kindle? A lot of my avid Kindle reading friends don’t). However, if you really want to save a few bucks, the Kindle edition is cheaper, but I’m taking a better profit to make up for the lack of that likelihood of sharing.

That above is some mental chess I’m playing: I’m thinking of what a reader who enjoys the work and what they do with it when they’re done. What if a reader doesn’t like it though? Well, that’s fair, I don’t expect everyone to like either or both of the books above, but I do think it’s very likely readers will or I wouldn’t have put them up for sale. Beneath the Wood is a patient, dramatic exploration of grief and trauma amidst coming of age farewells, Five Talents is fun romp with some truths and wisdom I wove in straight from my heart. I’m proud of both and confident readers can find something to enjoy in them.

And that they’re well worth the money and sharing the love if you enjoy it even half as much as I hope any of you do. To quote Ledger’s Joker: It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message.”

Stay at your grind folks.

Author: Y. Balloo

Amateur novelist / Work in progress.

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