You’ve written a book.
There’s your first marketing mistake!
As anyone in marketing will tell you, first gauge what your market wants; then design your product around the customer’s needs!
So, all authors start at the wrong end. They first design a product, then try to “find” its market. Mind you, so do all artists… and all songwriters, composers etc. And this is why you can’t compare marketing books with, e.g., marketing running shoes or houses.
Ark pointed me to a link: Mathew Lyons discusses “what’s a book worth”.
And he (Lyons, not Ark) hammers Amazon, and even traditional publishers, for “devaluing” books and making them cheap commodities.
If we all had to pay for a book what we pay for a painting by an estabished artist (R35000, with ease), most of us would not be able to read at all. Books would be reserved for the privileged. Books are, and always have been, a luxury; an outgrowth of our culture. As is music, and art.
So, does that mean I agree with Amazon’s practices of making KDP-s books available for “free” to subscribers of the KU program? Or with the pirate sites that feel that all books ought to be free?
It’s complex. You could regard a library as a “subscription service”. (How do you as author feel about libraries?) And once a book is out of copyright (70 years after the death of the author), it legally becomes creative commons – at which point it should be available for free, at least as an ebook (paper books have physical printing cost, this is obvious). So the Gutenberg Project (and IMSLP on the music side) has done a lot to boost culture. And therefore, to help build the “market”, the readers.
Of course, readers, LOL, you’re not really getting all those reads for free! You’re paying subscription, month after month. It’s the equivalent of going to the shop every month to buy books to the value of $9.99. The “free” is an illusion. And for places like Amazon and Scribd, it’s a pocketed sale – $9.99 worth of sale monthly that they don’t have to worry about. It will come in anyway, regardless which books you pick. (Nearly $120 per year, if you look at the big pic.) If you want genuine free reads, go visit & support your local library.
But there is a conceptual problem with a subscription service for reading new books, by new authors. It is this: Fail to feed the artist and there will be no more art. These programs throttle the market, instead of boosting it. By killing the source.
So let’s investigate Lyons’ question: What is a book actually worth?
A good book can change your outlook entirely. It may change your life. Good books have nearly god-like power over people; because people create their environment (and therefore, collectively, the world we live in) through their actions, which are directed by their thinking habits – which books have the power to overthrow entirely. Think of Ayn Rand’s books, and the cult of that arose around her. She is said to have had the critical impact on America’s top bankers, politicians, billionaires. That is the power of Book.
For another example consider the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud. Or, closer to home for some, the “Writer’s Guide”. (Any one of them!) And then, think of the way ‘Harry Potter’ has shaped a whole generation’s thinking. Are you a muggle? How about, ‘The Secret’? Making us all magical beings that can create (‘manifest’) whatever we want in our lives? (Namaste! – or should I say: cheers!)
So, what is the value of a book?
Because writers start with the product, instead of with the consumer, this question can only be answered by the market. The monetary value of a book is whatever it will sell for. Ditto, the value of a painting, or a photograph, or a composition. Until medical aids can be persuaded to add books to their list of items for curing ADHD and other learning difficulties, writers (and publishers) have to put up with receiving whatever the consumer is willing to pay – which is always less than we would like.
To quote Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes : “A good compromise leaves everybody mad.”
Having mentioned Ark, let’s mention here too that he is a writer, specializing in humour.
Excerpt from Review by R. Luke Lively, on Amazon:
Pearce gives us a new perspective–and an uproarious journey. Between the spirit world and the world we all know as “real”, Pearce has sliced out a memorable group of characters, settings and story that transcends the living and the dead to remind us of our own humanity—while keeping us laughing all the way.