Monday, September 19, 2016

The Value of Time

There's a meme going around that talks about writing as if it was some lofty, sacrosanct thing - giving readers a piece of our souls.  Bleh.  This.  This is part of the crux of the whole 'value of my time' thing.

The other day, I posted about my reasoning for pricing my books low.  A commenter there said something about writers devaluing their time by pricing books low.  Not just that person thinks that way, it's all across the range of authors. But I think they're wrong.

Lemme 'splain.  No, that would take too long.  Lemme sum up.

We don't get to choose how valuable our time is.  The market chooses that.

If I spend 100 hours writing a book, that's on me.  If I spend 200 hours or 400 hours, it's still on me.  It doesn't change the worth of my book to the people who buy it.  (If that was the case, the Game of Thrones books would be astronomically priced. I've heard he takes forever to write one of those.  I wouldn't know. I can't afford to read him anyway.)  If my book is awesome, people will buy it.  If it's gold-plated awesome with sprinkles, they might even be willing to pay more for it.  But that depends on how much they can afford.  Right now, with taxes through the roof and health care costs skyrocketing and grocery prices soaring, people can afford less and less.  Especially for sundry items - like books.

I'd really love to buy all my friends' and beloved authors' traditionally published books.  It makes me sad that I can't.  But thems the breaks.

You know, I would also love to eat nothing but Magnum Gold ice cream bars.  They look awesome.  Gold-plated awesome.  But my budget tells me to walk past them and snag the store-brand ice cream sandwiches instead.  Are Magnum Gold worth the higher price?  I guess so.  I've never tried them.  They're priced out of my range. And they're not a necessity to my existence.  They're sundry.

When choosing reading material, I have to watch my budget like a hawk.  If I only have $10, do I spend it all on one ebook?  Or do I buy 3 ebooks at $2.99?  Or 10 ebooks at 99 cents ea.?  You can guess which way I usually go - a mix of $2.99 and $.99 depending on what looks interesting.  (And when I don't have $10 to blow on books, I hit the thrift store and buy books 4/$1.)

I know not every reader is in the same straits I am.  But I'd be willing to bet there are more on my end of the budgetary scale than on the other end.  I price my books for those people. I want as many people as possible to read my books. And I can price them that way because I am self-published, and no one is standing behind me telling me I have to price them higher.  (Well, maybe there's a whole crowd of people back there, but I don't have to listen to them.)  The only person who has any say besides myself in the pricing is Hubs, and he agrees with me. 

Of course, we also joked early on that all I should price Dying Embers at $1000 and all I need to sell is one copy.  We both had a good laugh about that.

This, of course, is strictly my pricing strategy and my opinion.  Like I said, I have the luxury of being able to price my own books - something no traditional author has.   They might hate people like me.  I can live with that if the readers appreciate what I'm doing.  Then again, those TP authors might wish they could set their own prices, too.  :shrug:

I'm sure somewhere in the industry, people are suggesting that all authors band together and set an across the board minimum price.  Shame on them.  That's called 'price fixing' and it's illegal.  Also, it's a bully tactic and it's force.  Not a big fan of force over here.  And bullies should always get what they deserve - a swift kick in the pants. 

So, that's my two cents.  Disagree if you want to, but understand that no one is going to tell me what my books should or shouldn't be priced at - except the market.  And if you feel like you should've paid more for my books, feel free to send me money. LOL


  1. You know, I have a similar thing with the quilts I make. It's very difficult to add time spent making it to the cost of the fabric & wadding. If I make a quilt for a new baby the fabric is probably about £15 (depending on the quality of the fabric required by the purchaser), the wadding is around £10 (again depending on quality). So just that's £25 minimum. If I added my time at say £5 a hour, you're probably looking at adding at least £20 to the figure, but more likely another £25. People can't to spend £50 on a handmade quilt when they can nip to the local store and pick up a mass produced one for £20. I enjoy the designing, choosing the fabric, making the quilt so I get something out of it, but I have to price it to sell otherwise I end up with a lot of finished quilts. You have to listen to your market, and you do that just fine.

    By the way, I finished Up Wish Creek. When's the next one? I have to know what happens next!

  2. This. What you said. Most of mine are $2.99. A couple are $.99 or $1.99. One or two are $3.99 (gasp!). Those are the self-pubs. The HQs I have no control over. Also, most of mine are in Kindle Unlimited--free reading for the $10 a month subscription fee. I have a subscription and find I read a lot of new-to-me authors with books in KU. I also grab known author's new books in KU, read them, and then buy them. ;)

    I agree. I want to know what happens next in the Djinn world, too! :D

  3. I'm certainly at your end of the scale. I mostly frequent the used book store and its half price deal, which I split with the neighbor who likes cozy mysteries, too.

    All of my fiction is $2.99 (until I get around to pricing 1C at .99). The nonfiction is more, but I rarely sell those on Kindle. Most people want them in paper format.

    Do you have a PayPal account? You can get a link that lets people donate to you!