I know most readers don’t give a whit about who published a given book. We want to read what we want to read. However, most of us do care about price and availability, and those things have a strong connection to publishers.
Which means a lot of you may find this article about a romance author “going rogue” interesting.
Over in the main Kindle forum you see thread after thread complaining about the price of ebooks. How can the Kindle version of this book cost more than the paperback? The same as the hardback? How can this 20-year-old book that’s available for $5 in paperback cost $15 for the ebook? Etc., etc., until there are almost as many threads saying Enough Already as there are price threads. Well, folks, the fact is publishers set prices, and a year ago the biggest publishers teamed up with Apple and forced Amazon to agree to contracts that made it stop discounting their ebooks. When you see that new romance you wanted to read on your Kindle or Nook priced at $12.99 and it’s only 200 pages . . . . That’s not the author, and that’s not Amazon. The publisher is the idiot that set that price.
More and more authors who have reacquired rights to backlist books are putting them out as ebooks for reasonable prices. Alexis Harrington stands out in my mind, probably because I like her books. An author who does this gets to price reasonably and we ebookers tend to appreciate that and reward with purchases. (I don’t know about anyone else, but with that $12.99 Kindle book, I do read it in paper – from the library.)
So while authors republishing backlist books for Kindle has been a growing phenomenon, established authors putting out NEW work themselves straight to Kindle has been exclusive to a few brave souls. This week, however, it’s been all over author blogs how thriller writer Barry Eisler turned down a $500,000 deal for 2 books with St. Martin’s to go indie with those books himself. That’s been the headline news, but all of a sudden there are others here and there and today these two romance writers.
As you read the article you will notice that’s it’s not just the money, maybe not even mainly money, although I’m sure these authors are going to do the smart thing and set reasonable prices and see more sales because of it. Connie also talks about having wanted to write certain books that her editors just wouldn’t hear about for a long time and now that’s what she’s doing. My guess is these people are going to find themselves making more money and having more fun writing than they ever did in their entire traditional careers.
A writer in one of the comments on that article reveals she made about $5,000 for two traditionally published romances and says that most romance authors make less than $10,000 per book. Eyes, a romance in the supposedly dead western historical subgenre, will be one year old on April 10. It’s sold over 7,000 copies for Kindle alone as of this minute. Amazon pays a 70% royalty on my $2.99 price. Do the math, and welcome Connie and Marsha to the indie world.