Pricing Wars: Do Writers Undersell Themselves With 99c Priced Books?
By Nancy Lynn Jarvis | September 29, 2011 6 Comments
(Yamina’s Note: I love this “fictional”, but very informative exchange between author Nancy Lynn Jarvis and her book’s protagonist, Regan McHenry, about book pricing. It’s certainly a unique way to discuss this hotly debated topic and “Regan” gives writers a lot to consider on the subject of worth and compensation. Enjoy.)
Regan: I’m a real estate agent, Nancy, and I’ve learned not to work for free. (Scrunching up her face). You know, with a 99¢ book, the writer only nets 30¢.
NLJ: 30¢ per book isn’t working for free.
Regan: You’re right. In California that’s about what an inmate gets paid per hour for doing laundry.
NLJ: But, there’s a writer who sold a million copies of his book that way. He earned a lot of money.
Regan: His book was non-fiction, a how-to for writers looking for the secret to amazing success. You bet it sold well — every aspiring best-selling author bought one. But, you write mysteries; Nancy. Who needs to read a mystery?
NLJ: Well…but…everyone says giving away things grows your business. You have to get your name out there.
Regan: You remember how I tried to ingratiate myself to people when I was newly licensed, don’t you? I did free reports and home evaluations for potential clients, gave out little American flags, gave out packets of seeds and happily drove people around, showing them lovely houses. I didn’t ask for anything in return.
NLJ: Yes, I remember. But what does that have to do with book pricing?
Regan: , I did all of that because I hoped they would eventually buy through me. But not many did. When it was time to commit their money, how many of those people actually used another agent to write their contract?
NLJ: A few…ok, most.
Regan: And why didn’t those buyers I had ingratiated myself to expect the other agents, the ones who wrote the offers and got paid, to be the ones spending hours playing chauffeur?
NLJ: Well, because they knew those agents had escrows and listings that needed attention.,
Regan: That’s right. And unfortunately, I hadn’t realized at the time that by being so available I made people think I didn’t have anything better to do. The message I was giving to ‘my clients’ was that my time and expertise wasn’t worth much. No wonder they didn’t want to take a chance on me when it was time to buy.
NLJ: You wouldn’t have had any business if you hadn’t given away your time. Besides, most of those people were nice. They thanked you for your efforts and said they liked you.
Regan: (throwing up her hands) Of course they liked me I was helping them. For free!!! I thought they would at least recommend me to their friends. They didn’t, though. They forgot me.
NLJ: But didn’t showing houses make you feel like you were working?
Regan: I had that illusion for a while, but finally I realized I was working hard and deserved to be paid for my efforts. I worked on improving my skills. Once I knew I had something valuable to offer, my clients started believing it as well. They didn’t mind paying me a reasonable commission for my services. They told their friends I was a good agent, too.
Regan: The point is, Nancy, I think being a writer is a lot like being a Realtor. If your books have value, you deserve reasonable compensation for writing them. Have a little confidence in your readers. They’re smart people. They’ll get it.
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Some notes about the HOST OF YAMINATODAY.COM – A. Yamina Collins
A. Yamina Collins is the author of the fantasy/romance novel The Last King, A modern-day love story about a young woman innocently caught in a war between two age-old nemesis: God, and immortal beings whose ancestors ate from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
The Last King has already been in Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller’s list in Fantasy, Sciencefiction, Women’s Fiction Literature and Christian Women’s Literature.
THE LAST KING BOOK SYNOPSIS:
Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in—she’s six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. But when she is badly injured in a car accident that kills her mother, Emmy does not dream of fantastical worlds anymore—she just wants her shattered life to be normal again.
Unfortunately, normalcy is the last thing in store for her once she meets Lake George’s newest arrival, Dr. Gilead Knightly. Granted immortality from a line of people whose Great Ancestor marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life, Gilead has been alive for centuries and has met everyone from Nubian kings to Napoleon.
But Gilead and his eccentric family are also hunted beings because God considers the Edenites’ possession of immortality to be theft. And for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a “Glitch” —an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen “property” of immortality and kill them off.
When Emmy discovers that she is Gilead’s Glitch, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead’s vengeance: he must get rid of her before she gets rid of him.
Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite’s greatest threat—they’re also their greatest love.