Stop Selling Yourself Short, Creatives!

This year I decided I was going to raise the prices on my books and ebooks.

I started selling books in 2011, offering my ebooks for $2.99, the literal lowest price Amazon offered their 70% royalty rate at. I was new, I figured, and I want people to take a chance on what I have to offer. Some titles I offered at 99 cents — the absolute lowest price — as loss leaders to bring people into a series. For longer novels I’d add a dollar, selling them for $3.99, and the collected editions were a bit more expensive.

Now, seven years and nine novels, several role playing games, and various audiodrama in, and I am seriously considering raising my prices a dollar.

And I have to justify that to myself. Not because prices have risen through the economy — they have — but because I need to convince myself that my labor is worth more money. I have to tell myself that, seven years on, I’m a better writer. That my work has value. That maybe it had more value all along.

That maybe people will still pay for my work even if I don’t charge the least that I can.

Unlearning and Relearning the Business

Publishing is a business and in a business you can’t afford to be precious. That’s something that commercial artists have to learn early; the value of what we’re selling has little to do with how much time and effort we put into it, but is rather exactly what someone will pay for it.

It’s one lesson among hundreds we learn — about the fact that ideas without implementation are worthless, that value and meaning are a collaboration with your audience, that the starving artist is a fate to avoid, not a stereotype to embody.

But so often we adopt self-deprecating stances to avoid the sin of “having pride in our accomplishments” that we don’t drop it when we shift from the creative artist mindset to that of the analytical publisher.

Our business selves need to advocate for our artist nature.

We need to charge what we’re worth. We need to give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves in so many ways, and this, for creative professionals, is a big one.

So do it.

Hell, I give you permission, if you need it. Raise your prices. Demand fair recompense for your mental and emotional labor. You don’t need to target the bargain hunters alone, your target market can and should be “people who appreciate what you do enough to pay a little more.”

Because, Christ, if I can’t sell a novel for five lousy bucks, what am I doing with my life?

Appreciate this message and want to support me? Buy some of my books before I get around to raising my prices. Or just join my patreon for free copies of whatever I’m producing.

Don’t read and don’t want the commitment of $1 a month? You can alternatively show your appreciation by buying me a coffee.