kit (mizkit) wrote,

No Dominion

So jemck posted over on Facebook saying:

Apparently, 20p will become the new default price for ebooks as this is what Sony are doing by way of promotion, and the books featured are gobbling up market share. Can someone remind these nitwits of the old, tried and true saying "Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is reality'?

Oh, wait, maybe this has nothing at all to do with books, readers or writers. Forcing Amazon to price match is costing Amazon millions. That reminds me of another saying. "When two elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers.'

Which made me think about NO DOMINION, which is doing pretty well in its first couple weeks of release. It's been hanging out in the top 50ish of Amazon's contemporary fantasy ratings for a fair amount of its release time. I'm hoping it'll get up to the top 20, because that's where it becomes self-sustaining for a while (if you want to mention it to your readers, the Kindle version is here... O.O), but the top 50 is very good.

Actually, it's excellent when you take into account that I released the book at full price. bryant, who is the person who suggested I try crowdfunding in the first place, said recently that he'd have suggested I set NO DOMINION at a lower, entry-level price to get up in the Amazon ranks. But since he didn't suggest it and I didn't even think of it, I didn't. I just set it at full price. Between Amazon Kindle, the print edition and the Nook edition, it's sold about 700 copies in the two weeks since it was released.

"I," Bryant said, "would have been wrong."

And so are the publishing companies. People will pay for a product as long as they can 1. get it easily*, and 2. believe it'll be worth the price.

I mean, maybe I'm missing out on millions of new readers by doing it this way, but at least I don't feel like I'm undervaluing my work.

And as Bryant also pointed out, pricing it at full price and still having the book in the top 50 or so Amazon rankings for contemporary fantasy means that the writers I'm hanging with--others in the top 50 who are at full price--are the big boys: Jim Butcher. Kim Harrison. Charlaine Harris. Kevin Hearne.

Everybody else in the top 50 right now is priced at under $5, and (without trying to sound self-aggrandizing, and indeed with the awareness that I may just not be Up enough on the latest releases), I don't know any of their names. Obviously this wouldn't be a good strategy if I was new to the field, but with my career so far, this approach seems to be working just fine.

And I really do believe that if the publishing industry wasn't running around in such a panic that there's a lot they could do to strengthen sales and break Amazon's back. (Seriously, it's like Napster happened in a separate universe from them.) They could:

- bundle an e-edition with the purchase of any print book
- release mass market and e-books first, then release the hardback several months later for collectors
- work together to create an alternate storefront to Amazon, followed by
- going in with ANYONE ELSE, Kobo or Nook or Sony whatever, to push that brand of DRM-free e-reader on the storefront
- a major advertising campaign about how books never run out of batteries/etc, featuring the new storefront, followed by
- ceasing to give Amazon deep discounts (which the publishing industry needs to do anyway, not just with Amazon)

They're coming from behind, so it would require a hell of a lot of work, but it's not impossible. And I recognize that speaking and acting as an individual, I can respond a great deal more quickly than the behemoth of the publishing industry...but at the same time, the publishing industry really is following the music industry's mistakes slavishly. Looking toward where the music industry has gone could save them time and trouble.

But wait! What about pricing? Everybody knows that people won't pay more than $.99 for content!

Well, first go up and re-read the first part of this blog about the NO DOMINION sales. Then bear in mind that a song is usually released for in the region of $.99, but if you buy every song on the album for that much, you're paying anywhere from $12-20 for the album in most cases anyway. People *will* pay full price for digital material if they think it's worth it. And I personally believe my stories are worth it, or else why would I even be doing this job in the first place?

Furthermore, it certainly appears readers also think my stories are worth it. As a rule, the only people who don't seem to be sure are the publishing industry, which is just all messed up. There are much better ways for the publishing industry to break Amazon's chokehold than cutting their own throats.

*I need to get it up via Smashwords. *sighs & adds something else to the to-do list...*
Tags: career, garrison reports, industry essays, walker papers

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