I feel like this is an extremely timely subject, because just a few weeks ago I was discussing whether self-publishing still has a bad name.
This week, I stumbled across the list of the top-selling ebooks around the world. Guess what? 5 of the 10 best selling ebooks from the end of April were self-published! In fact, 4 of the 5 authors on the list were authors that are completely self-published. One was from a traditional author who “went rogue” and published a book on his own. If you would like the full list and details, you can view the Digital Book World article.
So, what makes an ebook salable? For one thing, most self-publishing authors price their books well below the average price. I never understood this, but many ebook editions sold by traditional publishers are priced at the same price point as the hard copy of the book. Why would I pay $12 for a virtual book that has no pages? I feel like when you buy a hard copy of a book, you are paying for the work that went into creating the physical copy of the book and for the experience of feeling it in your hands in edition to the content of the book. When you remove the work of manufacturing the physical copy, I think the price should be lower.
I’ve paid up to $8 for a single ebook copy of a book (I really wanted it. It was “Messy” by The Fug Girls), but I don’t think I would ever pay more than that, especially for a book or author that I was unfamiliar with. Most self-published authors price their books under $5, as far as I have seen. The cheaper a book, the more likely someone casually browsing is to purchase it. I think with a lower price point, you widen your audience significantly. What some publishers do- and I really like this model- is to price their first book around 99 cents, or even make it free. Then for the other books in the series, the price goes up to $3 or $4.
I also think with self-publishing, authors have a chance to reach a concise audience. While 10 million people might not want to read a story about a crime-fighting monkey, 1 million or several hundred thousand would. This opens a space in self-publishing for niche markets that drive sales.
Those are some of my thoughts. What do you think about the rise in self-publishing sales?