Last year, I whined in a blog post about my publisher’s decision to lower the ebook price of At The Walls Of Galbrieth to 99 cents. It was done last year to promote the release of Ashbar – Wycaan Master Book 3, and will be repeated before the release of Book 4. Next week there will be a cover launch and I am as stoked as ever by the talent of William Kenney, our cover artist (and in awe of his patience with me). Check out his work here. This is a rewrite of the blog post.
Every year before going on our annual vacation, my family sit around the kitchen table for some intense negotiating as we decide which songs from the past year will find their place on the 201x family vacation playlist. The songs with the highest consensus are the first. This year’s number one choice was Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s hilarious and anti-consumerism song – Thrift Shop – it was 99 cents! (the version below is the clean one with lyrics – thank you to Jadey Wadey – if you don’t mind the language, the official video is hilarious).
If I’m honest, I’m one of those people who visits the 99 cents store to buy 2-3 items and spends $15. In my humble defense, I rarely make such a trip.
So the concept of 99 cents shouldn’t faze me. But with Sacrificial Flame – Wycaan Master Book 4 due out in the summer, the powers that be have decided to offer the kindle ebook version of At The Walls Of Galbrieth for 99 cents for the next month or so. I objected: the book is already only $2.99 – less than a coffee at Starbucks (or most coffee shops). It took me a year to write and rewrite. I invested in a professional editor, cover artist, and many hours of blood, sweat and tears.
I gave birth to it, sat up all night with it when it got a fever, and saw it take its first steps on Amazon.com. At some point, eyes were rolled. They might have been relieved that I was portraying the necessary signals to become famous – I was acting the cultural prima donna. I changed tracks: it is an award-winning novel, I whined. The response was brutal: it’s all about the sales. And I was reminded that writing for my kids in the ancient Northern California Redwoods is one thing, making a living is quite another.
I do have a question: when you see a book for 99 cents – do you have lower expectations about its contents? Please leave your comments below or on @elfwriter.
And so: for at least the next month, At The Walls Of Galbrieth will be available in Kindle format for 99 cents. Oh well, it worked for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Have a good week, everyone.
Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of Galbrieth, The First Decree, and Ashbar – Wycaan Master Book 3 – all released by Tourmaline Books. Shalev is also the author of three social justice-themed novels including Unwanted Heroes. He swears there is a connection. More at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter). Hang out with Alon on Google+
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Writing is important. Readers are important. Price variations are, well, a marketing tactic. It need not keep you awake at night – if the publishers think ninety nine cents will gain you readers, let them try.
Thanks Timothy. I’m sure you’re right.
No, I don’t have lower expectations! I’ve found a lot of new authors that I follow now because I tried their book for 99 cents or free. I love getting a great book for a bargain price – it’s like getting an early birthday present. Plenty of people like me review the free and 99cent book lists all the time looking for those lovely surprises. Your book was one, and I’ve purchased the others because of that initial bargain.
Thank you, Bridget. Glad to hear that you feel this way about the price and that you read the series. Hope you enjoy Book 4 when it comes out later this summer.
I discovered your book either on a Kindle freebie site or at 99 cents. It is what gained my readership because I rarely purchase much from new authors these days. My list of favourite authors is long enough that I can read a couple new fiction releases just about every month and that fills up most of my available reading time. I really enjoyed your books… the first one won me over and I have been happy to pay for all the following books so that I can find out what happens next.
I also read quite a bit of blogs or articles from authors and almost every time they discuss analytics it turns out that a freebie or 99 cent run for one of their books produced not only an uptick in ‘sales’ but often 3 months of a revenue upswing as well.
Thank you, JL, I appreciate the response. I am sure this is the reason that Tourmaline Books reduced the price. So glad you are enjoying the series.
We are self-published and our one year anniversary is May 15th so we will be offering the ebook for free for a few days. I’ve learned that this helps to get your story out there to the masses and hopefully your story catches on. I think as long as you announce it as celebration for your new book coming out people will not think of it as lower standards. Next time we do an offer it will be for 99 cents instead, probably when the next book comes out. The one thing that’s nice is it doesn’t cost anything for people to download your book, what costs is when you have to have it printed so your really not out anything and hopefully gain new fans for the rest of your books! 😉
[…] reduce all three e-books for the first trilogy to 99 cents each for this celebratory week. I have previously written what I think of such a move when they do this for one book, but three! So until October 4. they […]
[…] As a way to encourage readers to finish the previous five novels (and the surprising number who began reading from the fourth – Sacrificial Flame), each novel is being offered in ebook form for just 99 cents each. For my past views on such moves, feel free to check here. […]