I think it’s a good policy to read a lot if you are a writer. In my opinion, it’s especially important to read what’s in your genre so you best know what is selling, what is popular, which agents are representing these authors, and what audiences are buying. Although The Mill River Recluse is not in any of the genres I’m writing in, it was one of the best selling digital books for Kindle last year, so I thought I would have a read. At .99 (or, just over 3.5 QAR in my local currency) , the price was definitely right. The reviews on Amazon ranged from good to great.
Always happy for a new book, I settled in to read the book on my Kindle.
As I read, I understood why an agent wouldn’t necessarily want to represent the author (in interviews, the author, Darcie Chan*, lists she was rejected repeatedly – a tale any author knows too well!). The novel doesn’t specifically fit into one genre. It has more than one protagonist. While the story is good and original, it’s not particularly legendary or memorable. While I might recommend it to my mom or grandmother, I don’t think any of my friends would particularly enjoy it. The pacing is okay, but the ending doesn’t pay off for me. I wasn’t affected like many other readers who repeatedly mentioned, “keep tissues handy.” I would rate the book as mediocre.
However, for what I paid, I feel I was adequately rewarded for my investment. I don’t feel the author took my money or that I paid for something I did not get some value from.
So, is that the secret?
Does being successful = charging more for your books?
One thing I’ve always enjoyed about being self published is the ability to set the price. Personally, I don’t think my books are worth much more than the $1.99 – $2.99 they are currently priced at. I cannot bring the price of the paperback versions of them down, but if I could, I would price them at $4.99 or $5.99. Why? That’s what I feel comfortable charging people. I think they get $1.99 amount of entertainment from my writing.
So, it’s the never ending dilemma of being a self published author. Without the market to decide or professionals to tell you, do you go in undervalued? With my current projects, I’d like to think I could go as a high as $5.99 per book, but at the beginning, do I want quantity over quality? In Darcie’s case, she did well (financially and critically) and continues to hold on to the under dollar pricing.
Subjects to consider in the following months.
*While I might not place her book as one of my favorites, props to Darcie Chan for helping bring the ‘legitimacy’ of self-publishing forward. I think she (along with others like Amanda Hocking and John Locke) help set and raise the bar for self-pubbed authors.