What Is Your Writing Worth?

Yesterday, although with my current sleeping pattern it may be more honest to say this morning, I had something of an epiphany. You see, I was desperately searching for something to read while I’m waiting for my order of Nog and Into The Labyrinth to arrive, so I found myself browsing through David Gemmel novels, in the vain hope that there would be one I hadn’t read in my childhood.

In the recommended section, there was a link to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, which I’ve temporarily stopped reading, simply because I don’t have the time to get so invested in a narrative. I remember reading a while ago that one of Martin’s novels has around 200,000 words in it. I could pick an eBook of said novel for a little over £4. That roughly translates as 500 words for a penny. A penny!

I am well aware of course, that not even that little amount will go into Martin’s pocket, with the hands of both Amazon and his publisher taking their share. But even if we ignore that, can you imagine a content writer working for so little as 1p every 500 words? And then, as is inevitable in my narcissism, I came to consider my own writing. I was charging almost £2 for 25, 922 words. I was asking for almost half of what Martin is asking, for a little over a tenth of the content. Obviously, because I like to think I have a decent sense of morality, that demand seemed obscene.

So, despite the fact that is has sold reasonably well, at least, better than I ever thought it would, I have decided to lower the price vastly. From here on out, Adjective Narcissism will approximately 99p, and I apologise to anyone who bought it when it was ‘full-priced’.

Whilst I am slightly ashamed at this new train of thought, it then got me on to self-published novels and novellas I have seen. Some of the word/penny ratio is astonishing. There are novels being advertised with little less than a hundred pages (of a similar length to my novella, in fact), and they are attempting to charge the reader a similar price to Martin’s novels!

Obviously, I’m not saying that every writer should instantly lower the price of their work, I just think that what you believe the content you re providing is worth should probably be considered before even approaching Amazon’s 70/35% system.

Pricing is, perhaps, where the writer is required to be most honest with themselves, (unless your novel turns out to be some form of meta-fiction), and you should value the effort you have put into your work. But, honestly, can you say that your writing is worth more than Martin’s, or Pratchett’s, or Cornwell’s?

So, anyway, things to take away from this.

• Adjective Narcissism is now cheaper.
• You should value your work honestly.
• Ask yourself if you’re a better writer than anyone you have ever read.

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