This is an archive of my 05/10/2021 thread on how authors undervalue their work. The thread can be viewed here.
(this thread is scheduled, but important)
Authors (especially indie ones) tend to undervalue our work. There’s no question to it. A full poetry collection is worth more than $0.99. A full novel is worth more than $2.99.
All the sweat, tears, personal bits, and time we put into writing, editing, formatting, and promotion our work is worth so much more than $0.99-$2.99. In my opinion, no book should be less than $5.
But, we price our work the way we do because most of us don’t care about money, because a) we want our writing to get to as many people as possible and b) we know that the only way to make writing a career to live off of is to be picked up by one of the Big Five.
From an indie author standpoint on KDP, here’s a breakdown of how our fees get dispersed on a book that’s $2.99/copy:
30%: $1.05 total
70%: $2.99 – “delivery fee” (random amount determined by how big your manuscript is) = royalty
It takes 3-6 months for each payment.
Most of us don’t take home that amount, as we have commissioned artists for covers, editors, and a whole lot more based on royalty.
I say all this to say two things, to both readers and authors:
To readers, know that the list price is NOT how much the author takes home, and it is often far less than that. Pay the $5-$10 per book; it helps ensure your favorite author gets the credit and cash they deserve.
To the authors in this thread: Know your worth. Know your royalty rates and any strings attached. Find a price that creates a royalty that values the effort you throw into each book. It may not be enough to live on, but make your royalty reflect the work you put in.
I still struggle with undervaluing my work because I’m a young person in the field. Once people know my age, they’re less likely to pay “top dollar” for my work. I price at $2.99 and hope people like my stuff. You can check out my work at https://derekschmitz.com/author/.
Thanks for reading! Authors, price your worth! Readers, pay your authors their worth!