Mad as Hell! Huge Problem with the Book Pricing Options!

  This is me calling the Createspace Support Representative about my book pricing options.

This is me finding out that I’m going to be making -$2.13 for a book that’s $4.99

This is me afterwards, because now I have to set my paperback book at a higher price! WTF?!

I’m so sorry folks! After yesterday’s very long speech about self-publishing and all that, I thought I was ready to go and order those proofs. I had just received Nicoy’s beautiful drawing! IT IS AMAZING!! I was about to get a free ISBN # from Createspace, but the thought of not having any options of a secondary publisher bothered me a lot.

I wanted my freedom, badly. If my book’s a success and gets picked up, I’d like to be able to go somewhere else. If God forbid, my book gets banned, at least I can go somewhere else and publish it, whether it’s traditional or not. So, I’ve decided to buy my own ISBN #’s and a barcode for $275 dollars at Bowker/Identifier Services.

Now, for the horrible bad news. In order to make any kind of royalty off my book, I have to raise the price of my paperback trade book to $9.99 to get at least $.87 cents in return per book. If I set this book to $4.99 which is what I was trying to go for… to get more people to buy it, I’ll be making -$2.13.  NEGATIVE $2.13 dollars!

How the hell is that possible?! Didn’t Createspace (just read their contract/guidelines) tell me that I can set the price of my books at any time? So, why the hell are they taking about $7.00-$8 dollars out of a $4.99 book?!  Yes, I know they get 20-30% and you as the author get the remaining 70%. I’m so pissed off right now.

I had researched them so much and for so long… this is like a WTF moment. Apparently, I was using the wrong calculator, but seriously folks. Does this make any sense? -$2 dollars… how is that even possible? If I even raised it to $6.99 I could only use my E-Store site and make $.47 per book. Really?!  I can’t sell through Amazon.com unless it’s $9.99 and over. The ebook for Kindle will still remain $2.99 (Thank God!), but if I decide to make it less I’ll have to make another ebook for the ISBN #’s are meant for one price and one book alone, which sucks. Either I just put myself in a wonderful little corner of shame or this is just my worst luck!

Anyway, I apologize for any inconvenience I have caused. It’ll still be awhile until I can order the proofs. I have so much to figure out (my brain is overloading!) and I haven’t eaten all day because of talking to Customer Service for God knows how long. I have no choice but to make this book $9.99… and that’s it!! 😦 This is a disaster. A Nightmare. I’m not budging that price at all.  $9.99 is final!

I will still continue to self-publish, but I’ll be trying to get the kindle version out a lot quicker now for those who want to read it. Kindle price is still $2.99 no matter if the world comes to an end tomorrow, it will remain the same.  It just sucks when I feel cheated by a system that I thought would be perfect to sell my book through. Boy, was I so wrong!

Anyway, thank you for even reading this and I’ll let you know what my progress is. Sorry once again! At least one thing’s for sure is to learn from my mistakes. You guys will just have to wait a bit longer until I can figure out what to do right now.

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16 thoughts on “Mad as Hell! Huge Problem with the Book Pricing Options!

  1. Sorry you’re having such a hassle. I was thinking of lowering my paperback price–need to do something, but this sounds ridiculous. Hope you get it worked out!

    • Yeah, I was kinda surprised too, because I was always wondering why my friends’ books were so expensive and now I know. 😦 Printing costs are kinda steep! Thank God I don’t have a picture/photo book, because color is so expensive! It’s just insane. It’s alright hon. I’ll somehow get through it and manage. Thanks though. 😀

  2. Really appreciate you sharing your experiences. Am considering self-publishing as well, and it’s good to know about real peoples real life experiences with the choices we have out there.

    • No problem! 🙂 If you can learn from my mistakes, then my job is complete. All I ever wanted to do was to show/tell people about my publishing experience, since I never had anyone to show me the ropes before. So, hopefully you and others will know the secret of success and know what it takes to become a self-published author.

  3. Hi! I’m starting out on the self publishing route, too, so I was interested to read your blog. Scary stuff. But I have to say, $9.99 is not a bad price for a book. I think when we work so hard on something, it’s a shame to not at least ask for a decent price that covers the costs of printing and lets us have a little pay when all is said and done…Sheila

    • Thank you for visiting my blog Sheila! 😀

      You’re right though, the $9.99 may not be too bad for some people, but the higher it goes the less likely someone is going to buy it…since this is my first novel and no one knows anything about me, it’s kinda hard to convince people to buy a $10 book from an author they don’t know about. I figured since I see a lot of popular paperbacks for $5 around (mostly 700 pages long), I thought maybe it would be a good deal. Apparently, I was wrong. Printing costs are just so expensive and this is how Createspace/Amazon makes their money… my book is nowhere near 700 pages. It’s just 355.

      • Yeah, I go back and forth about pricing. I haven’t released my little 200 page baby out into the world, but I’m thinking that I agree with something I read the other day that says don’t discount your work out of the gate – if you believe that your work is worth more, charge more. (within reason, obviously not $50 a copy) but average novels in the book store are $17 – $25. So selling for $.99 or even $5 seems like I would be saying, “hey here’s some crap to fill your time, but it’s not a real novel.” On the other hand, yes, I’m completely unknown and may remain so… One general rule I just read about is that publishers set the price at 6 times the actual cost to make the book, so a 4 dollar cost will be sold for $24. I believe this is so everyone gets paid – agent, distributor, publisher, maybe even the author :). I have also read that it might be worthwhile to go to a local printer in your area (make sure they have lots of experience printing books) and ask them for a price quote on x number of copies. It might be a lot cheaper in the long run, but you would probably have to buy in bulk and then ship them out yourself, which is time and money… it’s all so complicated. But keep exploring your options and ya, don’t let yourself get suckerpunched.
        Take care, Sheila

      • So true! I agree with everything you just said. Self-publishing is just so complicated. There’s so many different routes you can take to get your book out there, so there’s really no right or wrong path to take as long as you’re smart about it. It’s also important to be wary of a lot of these companies/sites that take advantage of us poor writers, so we have to be wise about how we use our time and money.

        Luckily, I haven’t published the book yet, so I won’t be making any kind of negative returns. Thank God. I am doing Kindle as well, which looks very promising and if I do my own e-store I could make a little more like a $1 per book compared to Amazon. However, Amazon is just so global, it’s kind of worth it. It ships out to so many countries, which is why I’m still going for Createspace, despite the problems. If I stick to $9.99 it won’t be too bad. Also, I think marketing is a big thing because as writers we don’t have PR people around telling us where to go or what to do, but with self-publishing if you can find a niche market you could make some money off it and unlike traditional publishers your book would never go out of print.

        I think over time you make more with self-publishing if you constantly tell people about your book, wherever you go. Of course, there’s always the stigma, but you never know. Some writers have made a lot of money with self-publishing, because they never gave up. Marketing is another key to success, but it’s still hard to do if you have little or no money though.

        Anyway, I do wish you the best of luck on your self-publishing adventures. You can come by and visit my blog any time hon. Thank you Sheila.

      • Hi… I followed the link to here from Chazz Writes.

        Though you see little in royalties, $9.99 is comparable to store prices. The paranormal romances I pick up are $7.99/8.99 for mass market. The YA, which is usually in trade, are in the $8.99-11.99 range. I don’t purchase PNR in trade, so I can’t compare the price on that level, even though all the books I publish through CS are in the trade size.

        And though you see popular books at the $5 price, I don’t think that’s the norm. There’s a good chance that even though they are popular that most of the books at that price range are older ones. Typically traditional publishers don’t come out with their top selling author books at discount prices.

        I know you’re bummed that your pricing options are rather limited with CS. I will say, the pricing options are a lot better at CS than you’d get at most places. I think the only other place that really competes with royalties versus price is Lightning Source (LSI).

        Since you already own your ISBN, perhaps you can check them out. LSI wasn’t nearly as straightforward as CS when I tried to enroll though. They wanted to waste my time drilling me over books I’d already published through CS rather than working with me toward future books. I might look into LSI again in the future, but the hassle of dealing with a gatekeeper, asking irrelevant questions, wasn’t worth it at that time.

      • Yeah, some people did say the $9.99 price isn’t bad at all, but then others say it’s too much for newbie authors. I’ve just learned to deal with it. It’s just that since this is my first novel and all, not a lot of readers would know much about me besides this blog here. So at first, I didn’t want such a high price range. I also remember I have the Kindle version as well and that’s not too expensive, only $2.99. So if the book is too expensive, they can surely buy the kindle instead. At least they have that option available for them. Thank you for your comments though. They really are informative and helpful.

        I’ve heard about LSI before, but I may just stick to Createspace, for they really did an amazing job on my book cover and interior. My second proof came out better than the first one. Thank you once again for visiting my blog! 😀 I truly appreciate it!

  4. I’m thinking whoever is telling you $9.99 is too high of a price for a debut author hasn’t purchased a novel from a debut author in a LONG time. 🙂

    I’m pretty behind on latest releases and usually only check out YA novels. Here are a few debut authors you might want to check and see how their books are priced.

    Everneath by Brodi Ashton
    Tempest by Julie Cross
    Halflings by Heather Burch

    Those are just a few I’ve heard of. Goodreads has an entire list of debut authors here: http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/11525.2012_Debut_Authors_Young_Adult_Middle_Grade_

    Price isn’t the issue as much as the ability to market a book effectively. I believe that’s the biggest advantage traditional publishers have over indie publishers.

    • So true indeed! Marketing will be my biggest challenge yet, and since we writers are poor… yeah, the publishing companies out do us all the time! They have the PR agents and the means to market the hell out of a book while indie publishers, they can only do what’s in their budget. 😦

      Thank you for the link! I checked it out! I do have a goodreads account, so I’ll keep this in my favorites list from now on. Thanks once again! 🙂

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