I’m not going to name any names here – it’s not really fair, because these were just convenient examples. These two things are unfortunately more common among small presses than the larger ones.
Problem one: There’s a small press who has a lot of authors I like. Over the last six months, they’ve touted several “Huge Sales Events (be there be there be there…)”. These huge sale events are always the same two or three titles (they have more than those titles), and they’re essentially the same discounts each time. I know they’re trying to attract new customers, but it makes me question how well they’re doing financially. Either the work is overpriced to begin with, or they’re having to cut margins. That sucks enough as a reader, but as an author, that really makes me skittish. Be aware that too many sales events makes you look like you’re in financial trouble.
Problem two: Readers read more than your books – and don’t care how much it costs to make them. There’s one obvious exception – value-added editions (with material that’s not available in the others) can charge a premium, but readers do compare apples to… well, books. For example:
Here are two anthologies that came out in the last six months. They both carry a $14.99 pricetag for the paper edition – but they’re visibly different amounts of material. As a reader, I’d be saying “WTF?”.
Strangely, the digital editions of these books are priced roughly equivalent to the amount of content they have. I’m not sure why, but I’m presuming that it’s due to the physical production process. Those of us who are proceeding full apace into the digital age (and the smaller anthology counts here) are definitely looking at a price point that’s much more competetive than paper. The smaller anthology, Mike Stackpole’s digital only (and quite good) novel “In Hero Years I’m Dead”, and the upcoming Crimson Pact anthology I’m producing are all going to have price points roughly the same as a big fancy coffee drink.
Given a choice between a $5 anthology to read on my eReader or either of the $15 ones, I know what I’d choose.