Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thoughts on Story Pricing: Trying to Care

I've been experimenting with the pricing of my Kindle stories this past month. My book of short stories (Trying to Care) is currently for sale through the Kindle Publishing Direct system. The collection is written for people interested in questions of marital fidelity, mature love, and caring for family members at many stages of life. The title story is about a guy who watches his mother on closed-circuit video instead of visiting her at her senior housing complex. There's a story about a husband who thinks his wife murdered the family pet; another about weirdness taking care of the neighbor's house; and then others about love and quitting cigarettes, visiting a mom in high rise housing, and a Pakistani father and son working at a gas station on 9/11.

Each of the six stories can be purchased separately for $0.99 just like a basic song on iTunes. Originally, I'd intended to make just four stories available separately. If you wanted all six you could by the book for $2.99. That's a decent deal. However, I have been paying careful attention to pricing scales that other more seasoned indie writers recommend. A collection of short stories like mine is more reasonably priced at $4.99 - $5.99. I chose to price it at $4.99. I also ended up posting all six of the stories at $0.99. You can find everything at my author page by clicking here.

All of this is experimental. A lot of folks on Kindle aren't posting short stories to the extent that I am. Not a lot of writers seem to see the $0.99 option as a meaningful pricing model. Makes total sense to me, though, so I'm keeping it for the moment (even though a lot of iTunes songs are now $1.29). In fact, I'd say that one of the amazing advantages of this new digital publishing world is that writers can in fact publish short singles (fiction or non-fiction) at a very modest price. We don't get much by way of royalties this way, but the idea, obviously, is depending on volume.

Today, in the interest of further experimentation, I've now dropped the price of Trying to Care the book, to $3.99. The logic is that at $4.99 you only save about a dollar off of buying all six stories. So, if you bought one story as a single and then decided you wanted the entire collection, you wouldn't save anything at all. At $3.99 you save two bucks and hopefully would buy the collection after reading a single knowing that you still save money. I probably should just publish four stories and keep things at $4.99, but we'll see what happens with a $3.99 set for the next few months.

If you're interested in reading good, non-linear fiction with attention to character, emotions, and the meaning of relationships (and the confusion of being a real person in the world), you should check out these stories. They're not your run-of-the-mill anything...and I've made sure they are well-edited.

While a Kindle or iPad is highly recommended, you can also download Amazon's computer reading software for either Windows or Macintosh. They've got smartphone apps too...Go here for all the apps that's fit to download.

Whether you buy my stuff or other indie writers work, know that you are supporting committed and thoughtful writers working hard to provide readers with quality stories. Any feedback you may have, please send it my way.

Happy reading...

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