Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Being In Control

Turns out, I really am a control freak.
How about that.

As a writer, I am really enjoying this "going indie" caper. I control what I write, and I set the deadlines. (Which is fine because I'm self-driven and am good at setting goals ... and meeting them.)
I'm in control of the stories and the covers.

But the biggest thing I'm in control of is setting the cover price.

I'm also in control of the advertising budget and where that advertising is going.

It's incredibly liberating. Sure, it's hideously frightening too, because I don't know if anyone is going to be interested in parting with their money for my books. But then, when I'm with a publisher, I'm not in control of the deadlines, the promotions or the prices.

That's not to say I've turned my back on traditional publishing. I still think all writers should aspire to traditional publishing. For me, being offered a contract by a publisher means I've passed several tests of quality and potential profitability from their point of view.

So much has changed since I signed my first contract waaaaaay back in 2008. Five years ago, there simply weren't the options for writers that there are now. My original contract didn't even mention digital books. (I signed an amendment for that a year or so later.) I'm sure these days, every publishing contract would have a digital/ebook clause.

In hindsight, I shouldn't have signed that ebook clause. Because I can't control the prices for the UK and Commonwealth sales. At the moment my novels are listed for £4.12 on kindleUK , which is about $6.25 Australian (or about $6.40 US).

$6.25 is too much for a 60,000 word ebook. Especially when you can get the paperback for only a pound more in the UK or a couple more dollars in Australia/US with free worldwide delivery.

Do you know what I'm getting from those digital books? 25% of 'net'. The net, dear readers, is not the amount the reader pays for it ($6.25) but the amount the publisher gets from the retailer. Which could be as little as $3 per book. In other words, maybe 75 cents per sale.

And the sales are ... let me choose my words carefully .... UTTER CRAP, which I partly blame on the price point.

The 'sweet spot' for ebook purchases - for an author to attract readers while still being able to make a living - is between $2.99 and $5.99.

If I'd held on to those digital rights instead of signing them away FOR NOTHING, I could have been be selling the ebooks myself, for $2.99 and taking home 70% of the sale price, which would be $2.10 per sale.

So, I only have control of the US digital release, (and Japan and ... wow, Moldova!) because I didn't sign that right away. Thank goodness.

And I have full control of the next two books in the series. I'll be setting the price in the sweet spot.

I'll be in control.

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