When I self-published my first novel, I made the price as low as Amazon would allow me to make it. I did that with all the subsequent ones too. Even though I worked for YEARS on these stories, I felt self-indulgent and maybe even like a charlatan charging to read them. My first thoughts when setting up the pricing structure went like, ‘Who is really going to read this? If I want people to actually buy it, I better make it a throwaway price…pocket change…so no one will really feel like it was a waste of their money, because it’s not that much…’
‘*It’s not worth more than the minimum.*’
See, I’ve always discounted myself. I don’t think anybody is willing to put in ‘retail’ work for me, so I’ve always put myself on the sale rack, and honestly, I usually even get overlooked there. That’s where J found me…on the sale rack. And he’s been working hard for going on 16 years now to convince me he got the bargain of a lifetime. He got the ‘Look, there’s a Van Gogh behind the picture of a clown in this frame I got at the garage sale!’ deal. That’s nice, obviously. I love it and appreciate it that he feels like (and consistently treats me like) I’m the jackpot instead of the second-hand crap you settle for. But I still don’t really believe him.
I hope I don’t embarrass my friend here, but I’m gonna mention her again in this post.
(I feel weird doing this because I don’t like drawing attention to people or making an association with me unless I know they want that. It’s probably just another way I discount myself.)
Anyway, after about my fifth book published, and a couple of online friends had read some new short writing for me (Cropping…the story that’s password protected here because it contains a little adult content), both of them suggested that I wasn’t charging the proper amounts for my work for sale. “I think you could charge more.” J has told me this before too. But…it was different coming from my friends. My ‘stranger-friends.’ One of them will always be a ‘stranger-friend,’ because he disappeared without a trace after telling me this. But A, I now consider my BEST friend. At the time, we were still a new friendship. She’d gotten to know me through the things I wrote, and decided she liked me. And I wrote fiction and some really personally revealing nonfiction prose. She liked me not only ‘anyway,’ but BECAUSE of that. We’d never seen each other in person, even for a few minutes. And because she doesn’t see me every day or live with me to benefit from my increased self-worth, somehow, it stuck more when she said I was worth more. When she would purchase my books at whatever cost I made them, when (at the time) it wasn’t because she was invested in making ME happy, but because she liked them that much. That stuck more than J (I know…but it’s true), because if she thought I was undervaluing my work too…not just J (who clearly LOVES me and wants me to be happy and feel great about myself and is pretty biased in my favor)…maybe I really WAS (am) undervaluing my work. Maybe I do really undervalue MYSELF. Still.
So, I’m actually continually working to not automatically discount myself.
(I raised ebook pricing after this feedback. Not like a SUPER lot. But…they won’t be on the sale rack anymore, unless they’re really on sale for a special occasion.)
I plan to run a promotion on some of my older work when my next piece is ready to publish (the goal for this is the end of this year…I actually think I’m really going to finish a first draft manuscript by the end of November…NaNoWriMo is probably going to WORK!). And some of my older work will be on sale in ebook format over the next few weeks, because Holiday Shopping. (Books DO make good gifts…and I’ve been told MY books make good gifts to *yourself* if you are feeling run down from Holiday Shit).
Thank you, J, and A, and a couple other friends here (who were here and who are always here) for helping me out here, and continuing to help me out with curbing my bad habit of discounting myself. And thank you to everyone who reads and promotes what I write. Please enjoy this Complimentasaurus.