I'm not just a writer. I'm a reader too. I think most authors are. The love of reading is what makes us so passionate about writing.
A few years ago, I finally caved and bought my first e-reader. As I was getting acquainted with it, I was astonished to find that many authors were offering their books free. There were just as many that were priced at a paltry 99 cents. For a while, the only books I would buy were those priced at 99 cents, especially if I didn't know the author. I discovered some amazing authors this way including Erin Nicholas, Nicky Charles and Christie Craig. I was also able to rule out those that I didn't enjoy without breaking the bank.
Since the 99 cent price point was working for me as a consumer, it made sense to use it as an author. The idea was that I could reach more readers, including those who loved to read but had a limited budget. Every e-book I've released in the last two years has been priced at only 99 cents. Considering not one of my books is less than 50,000 words, I felt like readers were getting their money's worth. As a reader, nothing irks me more than paying $5.99 for a book that turns out to be less than 100 pages when I download it to my e-reader.
Recently, there's been a shift in people's opinions on the price of books. There's a theory out there that a book that costs 99 cents is poor quality, poorly edited and the author isn't talented. That's true for some books that are 99 cents, but it's also true for some books that are $5.99. In fact, I've seen more mistakes in some of the $5.99 books I've read than some of the free ones. Maybe it's because the authors offering their books for a cheaper price feel like they have to try harder or pay for it in reviews. Who knows?
A recent industry survey also found that the highest selling books are those priced at $3.99. Readers feel the price is reasonable and are confident the quality will be good.
From the release of my first novel, I've been hoping that I'll end up a bestseller and I'm not picky. I'll be happy if I'm an Amazon bestselling author, but I'd also be happy to be a NY Times and/or USA Today best seller. I haven't reached that goal yet and I'm beginning to wonder if the 99 cent price point is costing me new readers. I have a pretty steady following of loyal readers who have read everything I've produced since my Wattpad days. My books are well received by reviewers. Yet I continue to struggle to reach the one big goal on every writer's bucket list; become a bestseller.
With the change in readers' opinions, I think it's time to change with it. I'm not saying I'll become an instant bestseller, but I have to see if this is going to help. Come January, I'll be raising the prices on all of my books while still keeping them reasonably priced. Will it make a difference? Time will tell, but you better believe if I become a bestselling author next year, I will be shouting it for all to hear!