The battles are still raging between traditionally published novels and self-published novels. I still experience (though not often) snide comments when persons realize I am self published and not traditionally published. The belief that I self-published because obviously my work wasn’t good enough to be traditionally published always hangs in the air like a foul odor. I no longer explain to persons that it is unfeasible to traditionally publish with my career. I don’t tell them that to do so would ensure a frustrated editor and a ticked off publishing house. Meeting editing deadlines will never be as important as preparing submissions or starting a case – that is the way it will be until I retire (quit or have a mental break down 🙂 ).
Recently there has been a upsurge of debate as to whether self published authors are actually reinforcing the presumption that we are peddling crappy work rejected by the traditional publishing houses. This time the debate doesn’t revolve around plots, editing or book covers. This time it is all about pricing. When self-publishing blew up on Amazon around 2010 / 2011, the hook was that readers were able to get novels a lot cheaper than they would if they went for a published author. Most books debuted on the Amazon Kindle page at $ 0.99 USD and $ 2.99 USD. I’ve recently bought several Nora Roberts eBooks. The process reminded me that the disparity between traditionally published and self-published prices could be very, very steep. There is also the underlying belief that traditionally published authors’ works are inherently more deserving of a higher price tag.
My novella, Sail With Me, is currently priced at $0.99 USD or the equivalent in stores with a foreign currency. When persons purchase the book from the Caribbean they pay $2.99 USD, something I’ve been trying to figure out since I started buying books for my Kindle four years ago. My book is only 30 000 words as I’m following the Cosmo Red Hot Reads / Harlequin Kiss format for romance novels. I say this to say that my work is probably more closely valued at $1.99 / $2.99 than let’s say – $5.00 -$7.00. In fact, I think most Cosmo Red Hot Reads book retail for $3.29 AT MOST. Until I start writing longer novels, I’m not sure that the $. 0.99 – $ 1.99 price range will bother me because I see them to be in comparison to the genre I have chosen to stick to for at least the next seven books. However, when I see a self-published author offering an 80 000 to 120 000 word novel for $ 0.99 – $ 2.99, I wonder how much the self-published vs traditional published debate contributed to the list price. I do know that there are other things to be considered such as the following of the particular author and the reputation they may have earned. However, I think it would be naïve to disregard the fact that the perceived “worth” of self-published novels plays a roll.
What do you think?
Will we ever see a day when books are judged by what is on the inside and not the cover or the method of publishing?