Price Cut Reflects Desire to Reach More People

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In a rapidly-evolving environment, change is constant. In the book publishing industry, that change continues to occur at warp speed. Or at least, it feels that way.
Ever since Sister of Silence was first released in February, I’ve debated with myself, with colleagues, with other authors and especially readers, over the paperback book’s price. That decision was compounded when the e-book was recently released.
The way I figure, if the major publishing houses can’t get a grip on what’s happening well in advance, or at least in time to proactively make decisions that will benefit their companies, then how should I be able to make the best decision for my pricing model?
That’s why I asked for input from the people around me. The problem was, the numbers were all over the place: from $7.99 to $19.99 for the paperback (317 pages) version, and from $2.99 to $9.99 for the e-book. Some folks warned me not to set it too low, for fear prospective buyers would somehow translate that to mean an inferior product. (Which it isn’t, in my humble opinion.) Other people urged me to err on the opposite end: they didn’t want me to set it too high and price myself out of the market entirely.
So I made an executive decision, setting the prices at $14.99 (discounted from the retail $18.99 ticket) and $9.99, respectively.
But in the meantime, some things have happened to make me rethink the pricing structure for my books. First and foremost, the Penn State tragedy—which has become a veritable Pandora’s Box involving one of the biggest child sex abuse scandals in this country—has victims speaking out for the first time. Victims who were emboldened by this case, and by the reprisals that are occurring in this wake of this case.
And many people are actually having a dialogue about what it means to be a responsible parent, and talk to children about sex and abuse—long before and so those children don’t have to become victims, too. The opinions about how to do this are pretty similar, but my guess is that parents are still going to be squeamish when it comes to discussing anything about sex with their children.
So they need all the help they can get, right? What better way to do that, than to provide what some people are calling a “groundbreaking tool” that can be used for just that purpose, at a price more people can afford? We’re talking about saving not just children, but families and society, for wounded children become wounded adults—and we’ve all seen what wounded adults can do when they lash out at others. It isn’t pretty and the carnage is often deadly.
Second, and while this is less important than the first reason, it must be given equal consideration: If The Glass Castle (which is one of the books my customers buy) is selling for less than $10 on Amazon, why should I expect my book (written by an unknown author) to be priced any higher? Personally, I don’t believe I should, and I don’t. Thus the SOS paperback price has been reduced to $9.99.
When it comes to the e-book, I’m going back to the feelings I had at the outset: making, selling and distributing an electronic book costs next to nothing—especially in comparison to the costs involving in the same process for a book printed on paper. J. A. Konrath said it best in The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing Book, and I should have listened to him before: e-book prices have been set too high. So, if your price is too high, people who want your book badly enough will pirate it, which is lost profit. But if the price is set low enough, people who don’t know you will take a chance on your book–because they don’t have much to lose. (He and other self-published authors, like M. J. Rose and Amanda Hocking, have certainly found this to be true.)
The book industry is going to continue to evolve, as more e-readers and e-books roll out, and paper books will continue to find less favor among readers. For now, at least. In the meantime, it makes sense to offer the SOS e-book for $2.99, because it doesn’t cost nearly that much to produce it. And in the long run, if the lower price results in more sales, then that just means that more people can be helped by reading it.
Editor’s note: Nellie Bly Books now offers the reduced price for the printed book, but the new e-book prices may not show up at Amazon or Barnes and Noble for 24-hours.
If you are a parent and want to protect your children, or if you’re a victim who has survived child sexual abuse, please go to Amazon and read the foreword of my book. The foreword alone is well worth your time. If, after reading that, you want to purchase SOS, you have several options: paperback or e-book, direct from Nellie Bly Books (where you can also find links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble), or even in many bookstores and libraries around the country. (That number is growing by the day. If you can’t find it in a bookstore or library near you, just ask them to order it. Libraries, especially, are finding they have a long waiting list for the book, if they only have one copy in distribution.)


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