Pricing ~ RJ Scott: Outside the Margins

Join us as RJ Scott goes Outside the Margins.

Thank you to Prism for hosting me today! Hugs, RJ XXXRJ Scott OTM

Today I am approaching, with some trepidation, the thorny subject of e-book pricing. As an author published with publishers I have my issues with how much my books sell for. As the owner of Love Lane Books (LLB) I have the same issues, only this time I am considering other people’s books as well as my own.

I am sure there will be controversy, but in light of EC saying that their sales are down** with Amazon, I can see why a publisher ends up putting prices up as a desperate measure. But, it’s just a knee jerk reaction that low sales can to be countered by finding income in another way.

LLB don’t have a set price per word. Because that is ridiculous. A book by a new author may need to be competitively priced to attract a new reader. Existing authors however, can be priced in a different way. It’s quite complicated.

But what is a reasonable price for a book from a publisher, versus a book that is self-published? What would you as a reader pay? Do you view self-published books as different to those with a publisher? I have seen books at $7.99 for 60,000 words and that struck me as too much. For several reasons.

I think there is a natural ceiling for book prices. I only have one book for sale that is over $5. The Heart Of Texas is 80,000+ BUT my instincts would still have it published at $4.99 much to the horror of the LLB finance director. HoT still sells at $5.49 so there must be something about that book, be it the fact it is my longest book, or that people like the idea of it, but somehow that book seems to be at a price that sells.

Then there are my short stories, the Love Is books, YA and my very first published books. The first one is 99c, the second and third are only $2.99, but they are short books. It is my intention to merge them all and write a book four, but that will be a while, meanwhile they sit there at a larger price than I would like and this is the part where I hit the problem with Amazon pricing.

Amazon have this whole $2.99 lower limit. Under that and you only earn 35% on the books you sell. Hence there are a whole slew of books out there from all publishers that may only be 15000 words long but have an artificially high price of $2.99.

So, what is a fair price for a book?

I bought a book a while back, it was bigger than Heart Of Texas and it was $8. But I wanted it SO BAD… I’d read the rest in the series and I WANTED it. It didn’t matter what it cost me, and I think the publishers knew that! ROFL…

Is $8 too much? How much is a coffee? People often use that analogy. The book is less than the price of a coffee… or equal to two coffees… Does that make things easier or worse?

I have three levels of buying:

  • Autobuy authors: I don’t generally look at word count for my must read authors. I just buy everything they release. I’m easy like that.
  • For authors I don’t know, I look at word count if the price seems extraordinarily high. To me this is anything over $5, because that is my comfortable price point. ROFL.
  • I tend every so often to buy the top ten on Amazon. This is research! Of course this can sometimes be hampered when a book is too expensive… or oddly enough when a book is too cheap.

Having said that, is anyone else suspicious of 99c books if you don’t know the author? Or is that just me? And I’m not talking about publishers who put out first in a series for 99c, but new authors who release books at 99c in the hope their books impacts Amazon? Do you buy them as 99c isn’t that much and you’re willing to take a try on a new author? Or do you feel 99c devalues a book?

Do you have a price limit? Do you have autobuys? What is your perfect price point? Do you buy self-published books, or are you a publisher only type of buyer? So many questions so little time!

** this article was written 15 September


A Reason To Stay

Sometimes the wars you need to fight are the ones you left at home…

When SEAL, Viktor Zavodny, left small town America for the Navy he made sure he never had a reason to return for anything other than visiting family. He wanted to see the world and fight for his country and nothing, or no one, was getting in his way. He fights hard, and plays harder, and a succession of men and women share his bed.

But a phone call from his sister has him using his thirty day down time to go home instead of enjoying his usual thirty nights of random sex and sleep.

What he finds is a mystery on the Green Mountains and the only man attempting to make sense of seemingly unrelated deaths. His childhood friend and first love… Lieutenant Aiden Coleman, Sheriff.

There were reasons Viktor left his home. Not least Aiden Coleman with his small town innocence and his dreams of forever. Now Adam and Viktor need to work together to save lives and prove there is a hero in all of us.

When it’s done, if they make it out alive, can Aiden persuade Viktor that he has a reason to stay? Maybe forever?

Buy Links, Reviews, and more information here:

The Sequel, Last Marine Standing, will be out 8 October 2014.


One last try, he feinted left, then used his body weight to plow his assailant into the snow. The loud retort of a gun smashed into the air and the burning in Aiden’s arm had him realizing immediately that he had stopped a bullet with his body. Pain radiated from the wound and he gasped as it spread. Still, he struggled to get the upper hand, but the other guy was laughing, pushing him away. Finally when Aiden was done, the other man dragged him to stand.

“Who you with?” he spat.

“N-no one,” Aiden stuttered in the cold, his coat staining with blood. “Ex-ext—reme,” he added.

“Yeah, right. Then why did I see two sets of prints?” He pulled Aiden to just in front of the storage containers and Aiden struggled to stand. He’d never been shot before and it felt like his arm was on fire. He didn’t argue when the man forced Aiden to his knees in the snow. “Hands behind your head.” Aiden complied as much as he could. His left arm wouldn’t move on its own and he had to use his right hand to secure the position demanded of him.

The man backed up to the door into the concrete structure and opened it. “Micky, Ellis, get your asses out here, bring guns.”

Aiden watched, distracted by the pain, as one man walked out, shrugging on a jacket with a rifle in his hand.

“What the fuck, Parsons?” he groused before he stumbled to his knees and lay face first in the snow, blood fanning out from his head. Aiden couldn’t make out what had happened, just that one of the ones inside, Micky or Ellis, was now dead. Damn, but then he heard Parsons, with the gun pressed at Aiden’s temple, chuckle again.

“Seems we have an impasse,” he said carefully. Viktor walked out of the bunker with his own gun at the head of another man.

“Let him go,” Viktor said calmly. “And I won’t shoot your man here.”

“My man? I don’t give a shit about a disposable Ellis, shoot him, and I’ll shoot this one here to even the playing field.”

Aiden shook his head imperceptibly. To give away the upper hand was to lose the whole game. He wasn’t going to shoot Aiden. He stared at Viktor, but Viktor wouldn’t meet his gaze, his own fixed firmly on Parsons.

“Shoot him,” Aiden called, although even to his own ears his voice sounded choked.


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Connect with RJ Scott

RJ Scott has been writing since age six, when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies. She was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader herself, she can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, her first real true love will always be the world of romance where she takes cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and writes dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men.
With over sixty titles to her name and counting, she is the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway.  She is also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

Her goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

Always thrilled to hear from her readership, please contact via the following links below :-

Library Thing:
Full list of books and WIPs:
List of all print books:
Reviews for RJ’s books:

~ RJ Scott

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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22 thoughts on “Pricing ~ RJ Scott: Outside the Margins

  1. It depends on the book. I have seen 65 page books for over $5.00 and will not buy that. But generally if it is an author I love I will buy book.

  2. A thorny issue. I’m soon going to be self-pubbing two books – one erotic, one not and they’re both LONG – I have little idea about pricing but I was told – start low for a few days at least then put the price up. I had no idea about the $2.99 thing for Amazon. I was thinking of 3.99 or 4.99 but not more. I think more is a lot for an ebook – but like you, if it’s a book I want, an author I love, I will pay more.

  3. I too have auto buy authors, and like discounted pricing for a new author or series but when it comes to overall pricing, I pay anywhere from $18-$25 for paperbacks (in Canada) and so a $6.99 EBook is a steal of a deal to me. I do appreciate it when authors like yourself and Cardeno C lower prices to help new and existing fans but since writing is a business and you need to make money in order to keep writing, the balance you are talking about become just what you said at the beginning, a can of worms.

  4. I buy depending on blurb. I rarely focus too much on the price, though a few times I have paid a price I would consider to be for a novel length story only to find it is very much a short story.

    Thankfully I don’t have to make the decision on prices since I don’t self publish.

  5. I always check the price. And I’ve seen books with 7-9K that cost $9.99. Maybe it’s a good (but very short) reading but there’s no way I’m speinding that much in so little.

  6. Its interesting because I have always had an issue about the price of e-books. To me, they should be cheaper than paperbacks! And yet, most of the new books coming out, when I download from B&N are the same price! Its ridiculous! You aren’t paying for publishing with ink and paper anymore so why are they the same price they used to be???
    I do have auto buy books from authors where it doesn’t matter the price but others where if I don’t know the author I hesitate unless I have a fabulous suggestion from a friend.
    I suggested a book to my friend, It was my favorite book so I gushed about it, and she went to buy it. It was 8.99!!!!! Are you kidding me? Grant you it was long but for an e-book? It’s the 1st in a series so why so high? You would think you would want to suck them in so they would buy the rest. Not put them off 1st thing?
    I also had another instance of sorts. With Nook they have a lend me program. Another series had 10 books, you could lend ALL of them except the 1st one. Same thing. Wouldn’t you want to lend the 1st one to get them sucked in? Didn’t make sense. Backward advertising.

  7. Price is a factor for me. I make my coffee at home, if that tells you anything ;-). I do have some auto-buys, fortunately, their ebooks so far have all been priced reasonably. I will buy books that are self-published just as easily as not. Just as important as price is my time, so I do rely on reviews a lot to choose books, especially by new-to-me-authors. I also buy a lot when there is a sale and check ebooks out from the public library. That was an interesting fact about Amazon and the $2.99 price point. I generally prefer longer books and won’t pay that much for something short unless it is an absolute must-have for me.

    Thanks for the great post!

  8. I have several formerly “auto-buy” authors that started pricing @ 7.99 & up. To me, that is too high. Most of these books can be read in a day. I can go to B&N & get a 600-700 page book for this price. Somewhere between 4.99 & 5.99 is OK if I really want it. I’ll usually wait for a sale if it’s too expensive. I could go on & on…..:-)

  9. I do have a limit on how much I will pay for an ebook. For example, there is a series that I have enjoyed over the years. However, the price on the ebooks have gone up and up as each new book comes out. Consequently, I have not purchased the last two books in the series. I will just have to wait for a sale and see what else is out there for less.

  10. I have found some very good authors with .99 books. I buy a lot of books and I have a lot of auto buy authors. With them I don’t usually pay any attention to the price. But for a new author I like the prices to be lower. As far as publishers….. I never even look at who publishes a book.

  11. I’ll happily pay $7 for a novel, I don’t read that many short stories, but I’m OK with a novella to $4-5

    Pricier books are usually bought via ARe’s buy 10 get a freebie program or not at all

    I’m from Denmark so for me this is cheap, I can get two ARe bought novels and a novella for the price of 1 paperback novel bought in a local bookstore. I never buy through Amazon, unless it’s a freebie, they charge Danish VAT, which is 25%

    If a book is cheaper than that I won’t complain though 😉

  12. I hope this rafflecopter gizmo works ok, I’ve had trouble with it and the iPad lately! I will pay ( rarely) a max of $8 for a book from a favourite author with a series I’m invested in. However like RJ $5 is my preferred max for an average length book. I would seriously have to think about paying $2.99 for a short story, it would need to be exceptional. As to the $.99 books I’ve had some fantastic reads from new to me authors in this range. I got AlphaTrine by Lexi Ander this way and it’s one of my absolute favourites.

  13. I generally don’t worry about word count or price if it is an auto-buy author. For new to me authors or for those I’ve not had much experience with I always check out reviews, word count and prices before buying. I often buy the .99 books from Amazon if I want to check out a new author or like the blurb and it has some good reviews. Reviews are important to me when buying a book and then price – I usually don’t buy over $5.00 unless on sale.

  14. I buy lots of books. Some self-published and some directly from the publisher. I also buy a lot of books from Amazon and ARe. I will pay higher prices for books from authors that I really love, especially when they’re part of a series. I don’t like to complain too much about pricing when it comes to self-published books. I know authors are trying to make a living and I find most of the prices very reasonable. Things seem to balance out because sometimes I find books for .99 that I think should be priced higher. There are publishers that have really great sales too. You can also find free books if you search hard enough. Authors have great giveaways too. 🙂

  15. I read all the answers above before starting my own reply and thought I had it all figured out when I decided to check how much it costs to buy digital music (no, I have never done that yet). So I went to Amazon looked for U2 songs and discovered they vary in price from 69 cent to $1,29, and that is for about four minutes of music. No matter how short a novella is, you will get far more than 4 minutes of enjoyment out of it, even without ever rereading it. So maybe $2.99 for 15k words isn’t that mad from that perspective.

    If I really want a book I pay little to no attention to price. If I want to try out a new to me author I usually look for their cheapest books and pick one of those to get a taste of their writing. I’ve read terrible full priced (over $5) books and great.99 books and have often thought there appears to be little to no rhyme or reason to pricing. But price is rarely the deciding factor when I buy a book. Either I want to read it, in which case I’ll cough up the money, or I don’t or not badly enough, in which case I don’t.

  16. i have a word count buy for everyone but my top authors. though i have reservations on some one them, lol, but I generally wont be a new to me author who writes a 6K book and prices it at over $2.

    saying this, as an author and one that’s taking on self-publishing a bit, I have a two year pricing plan that’s a word count type and that is sitting at what I see as good deal pricings, but to be honest they are a little higher than I would have planned, for my first couple of years, because I’m going with the fact that no one takes .99 books to seriously. including me. yeah i buy them, but I don’t expect much and they are generally to get a feel for the author rather than the ideal of the story I’m about to read.

  17. I do set myself at a limit, if I don’t I’ll just buy myself out of house and home. I also price check with all ebook retailers. If a ebook is $8+ I probably won’t buy it and will either look for a site that has coupon discounts (like kobo) and buy it like that or just want for it to go on sale (in some cases I’ll just go to a site like ARe and get it for free from the buy 10 get 1 free). In some cases if I really like the author I’ll just splurge and get the paperback copy, at least this way I can use it in multiple ways.

  18. I’m on a tight budget so the cost of the book always matters by if it’s a auto buy I will go up to $7.99 but otherwise I wait until a sale, also use coupons and enter contests to win books or GC’s.

  19. This is an awesome conversation and one I have with myself all the time. As a voracious reader, my 1-Click addiction might be out of control, but I do have a set of things I look for. Blurb first, then word count and finally price. If the blurb grabs me then it’s a combination of the other two that determines if it’s gets 1-clicked immediately or if it gets added to my GR “want to read” list. $0.99 doesn’t freak me out if I’m waiting for that book to go on sale or if it’s a novella. If it’s a novel size book coming out of the gate at $0.99 then I’m looking at the reviews to make my determination. I will rarely ever buy an ebook over $5.99 and I really really have to want it from an author I love and trust.

    As an author, with a second release out yesterday, I had a few people thank me for keeping my price point at $3.99 and others tell me I was selling myself short. So what’s the right answer? My second book is doing amazing, so have I reached the point where I could justify asking people to spend $4.99 for the book? Am I getting greedy?

    There seems to be no guideline for this, the prices are all over the place. Trust me, I’ve done comparison of my favorite self published authors, some stick below $5, some hover at the $5.99 and $6.99 – and some I’ve seen purposefully price their book at say $11.99 then put it “on sale” for $5.99 to show the huge discount. A handy marketing trick, but who would be $11.99 for an ebook to begin with?

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