Going Flat Out, Just To Stand Still…

I’m having a manic time at the moment.  All good, I hasten to add!  But unfortunately, my being busy is not conducive to producing frequent blog posts…

Like so many writers, I don’t really earn very much from my books and, if I’m honest, earning money is not the primary motivation for what literary work I do.  This is a good job, because the financial return per hour of effort is, let’s just say, very small.

The upshot of all of this is that I have to do other things to keep ‘bread on the table’ and that’s what’s been consuming so much of my time over the last couple of weeks…  You know how it is.  Priorities have to be set.  Hobbies and pastimes sometime have to go on the back-burner…

Hmmm… Writing this has made me think about a conundrum about book pricing that I’ve been meaning to raise on here for a little while.

The conundrum is: if I’m not financially motivated, why do I put a price on my books?  Well, I admit, I’ve wrestled with this choice on a regular basis.  However, one strange thing I noticed when making Firebird available for free, as part of some short Amazon promotions, was that it drew an audience which included some readers who then seemed to treat the work as being of less value than if it had carried an, albeit small, price tag.  Worse: readers were picking up the book because it was free, and not because they were attracted to the premise.  Strange but true…, and with some disappointingly narrow-minded consequences.

So, whilst Firebird’s free promo’s have attracted a raft of new readers, many of whom have enjoyed the story, this activity did come at a cost.  Not least, that writing must remain, at least for the time being, firmly prioritised behind my other forms of income.

Value… what a strange, amorphous, and ultimately abstract concept…!

About anthonybellaleigh

Writing to amuse myself and entertain others. (https://anthonybellaleigh.wordpress.com)

Posted on October 28, 2012, in General, Random, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Interesting question about pricing e-books. It seems to me that offering a story for free has to look like a rare bargain to readers, or they equate a free story with worthless. When my writer friend put her second novel online, she promoted the first one for free for five days and got LOTS of downloads, which led to lots of sells of her second book. Some people bought the second book when they downloaded the first one, before ever reading it. But readers considered that a tease, for a limited time, and it worked for her. I think price still implies value to readers, and it makes it so that an author can offer a bargain to drive sales.


  2. I have to agree with Judith. If you have a sequel to the first, it makes more sense to do the free promo. It used to be that getting free books was a novelty, but with so many people doing it now it isn’t that helpful to authors if they only have one book. Even if you aren’t in it for the money, I’d set a $2.99 price on it until the next one is released. That will ensure only serious buyers pick it up. At least, this is what I’ve learned from all the author blogs I follow. Ultimately, though, you have to make the decision that works best for you.

    Hope work and other things slow down a bit so you can get back to writing. I know it can be frustrating when you’re ready to move on.


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