No More 99cent Books! Decent Pay for Decent Work!

05 Jul


Gail Gentry wrote a great blog about ebook prices – I fully agree what she writes. If ALL authors would value their books – and their work – more, would band together and prize all their works at least to the level of a cappuccino… and get rid of these 99cent books.
Gail wrote: “I’ve watched the trends and read articles about how new indie authors must price their books at 99 cents. Get the sales out there – get your name recognized. Great! I can do that. Sell 100 books, make $100, right, or well, hey, close to it, right? RIGHT? My bubble is then burst when I’m told the percentage tier for sale prices on Amazon. For every book you list and sell at 99 cents, you get 35%. Wait, what? For every book I sell at 99 cents I get 35 cents? So for my brand spanking new book I only get a mere 8 cents more than a book, an old book, a used, worn book, a dated book, that I would sell as a yard sale item for a quarter?

Now, I work a full-time job and in addition I have a part-time job where I freelance as a typist for a small company. I only have to work about one minute in my part-timer to get paid 35cents. I don’t even want to do the math and add up the hours I’m spending writing my book, dreaming about my book, editing and revising; and, this doesn’t even take into account what it’s going to take to have cover art designed, or pay CreateSpace for hardbound copies, in addition to advertising. How about the countless hours of sleep I’ve lost – some nights I’m lucky to get 3 or 4 hours before I turn around and go to my day job. I figure, it’s okay. I love writing. It’s my passion, my heart.

HOWEVER, it’s not okay to get 35 cents for every book I sell. Sorry but I’m not going to accept that. It’s not even okay to sell my book for 99 cents. I look around and see not only good authors but GREAT authors selling their books for 99 cents. And, it’s not okay with them to sell their books either for 99cents but they’re having to do it to stay competitive.

I say BULL….SHIT. When did it become the norm to throw all the books written by Indie authors into the marked-down bin? Now I know I’ll probably get the comments that “if you’re a true writer, you’re not in it for the money, you’re in it for the passion.” To that I say DOUBLE BULL….SHIT.  If I wanted to just plain write, then I wouldn’t revise, I wouldn’t edit, I wouldn’t hire a cover artist, I wouldn’t have hardbound copies made, etc., etc.  Anyone who wants to tell me that they would, then go for it. Prove it. Send me your book for free, and I hope it’s okay if I in turn send you over a mailing list to all of my friends – I’ll even tweet my 6600 followers on Twitter and let them know you’re giving your books away for free from here to eternity just because it makes you happy to have your writing in someone else’s hands and you’re not looking for anything in return. No reviews, no “Likes”, no recognition, no money to cover your out-of-pocket costs.

After you send me your book just keep in mind, I didn’t say I would read your book. Change your mind? Yup, thought so. If you don’t value your work any more than that, why should I? Free books are what I get with my library card. At least I know the authors sitting on the shelves in the library believed in themselves enough to have made an investment in their writing.

My good friend, R. S. Guthrie, has said it and I agree with him 100% that it’s up to authors – both seasoned and green – to move the price market. I’m an unknown author, I have yet to prove my worth – I might even suck. Still, when I release my book this year I will be debuting it at $2.99, maybe even $4.99.

I will leave it up to the promotions to reduce the price or do a give-away. I can tell you there are just as many authors out there selling their books at $2.99 or above that I have not heard of as there are selling them at 99 cents. So what’s the difference. On my Amazon site, I plan on having an excerpt from the book or perhaps the first chapter – something for the public to read in order to be able to make an informed choice on whether or not it’s a book they would like to delve into. I believe it’s not so much the price of the book that will get me my readers but how I market my book and the quality of my book.

Shall I say that again? I believe it’s not so much the price of the book that will get me my readers but how I market my book and the quality of my book.”

Read the article in full length here: and let me know what YOU think about e-book prices from independent authors. Should they stay at the free or 99cent – level or should authors receive decent pay for their work?

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5 responses to “No More 99cent Books! Decent Pay for Decent Work!

  1. Dina Santorelli

    July 7, 2012 at 8:35 am

    My debut novel, BABY GRAND, is selling at $2.99. I ran a promotion when I first published of $1.99, and may do more promotions down the road at the price, but I have no desire to sell at 99 cents. I also can’t fathom offering my book for free on Amazon, even as a promotion. Of course, I have no problem doing a giveaway here or there, but to offer it for free en masse — I just don’t see the benefits. I think readers tend to stockpile free books, and that’s not really valuable to authors. I’m with you. I’d love to see the end of 99 cent books. For a new author, though, I think $2.99 is the magic price point — I won’t even pay more than $4.99 for an eBook from a best-selling author. Would love to hear what others think!

    • ebooksinternational

      July 7, 2012 at 10:49 am

      Dina, free or extremely cheap books that are not even read, will not get any reviews either.

      99cent books degrade the word of an author. When I see a book for 99cents, I assume the author doesn’t value his/her own work. A reader who wants a certain book – in order to actually read it – will spend the amount of a cappuccino! A cappuccino gives you joy for 5 minutes, a book for years.

      And speaking of Starbucks: They could easily sell it for 99cents and make a profit. But that would degrade the brand!


  2. The Hook

    August 25, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I couldn’t agree more! My book, The Bellman Chronicles, is $4.99 and it took me a LONG time to arrive at that price, let me tell you…

  3. dangerousann

    February 18, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Thanks for this! I am about to publish and so am struggling with these decisions. It’s so frustrating that writers these days are paid so minimally. A friend just started an online magazine, and her content is good enough that it was picked up by a major news outfit. Zero pay. How is it that her content is providing traffic for their advertisers, and she’s just supposed to feel grateful and honoured to have been “chosen?” Writers in many forms of media need to take control.

    • ebooksinternational

      March 25, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      Ann, you are so right!
      Unfortunately some try to make a short cut and spoil the prices for everyone else.
      Lack of ego?

      Cheers, Doris


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