From Dean Wesley Smith:
Myths ignore facts. Myths are often beliefs built from fear or past actions.
In this series, and in the previous series of Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing, I call the myths that control writers “Sacred Cows.”
Writers hold onto myths like lifelines that are keeping them from drowning in a raging river of information. Sometimes sane people in the normal world will follow a publishing myth that makes no sense at all because it has something to do with the publishing business. And they follow the myth without thought.
So this new series is an attempt to help the new world of indie publishing with the growing list of myths that plague it.
And the third biggest myth to hit indie writers is this:
No One Will Pay Good Money for an Unknown Writer’s Work. (So a new writer should make his or her work cheaper because it’s worth less.)
. . . .
Fact: Every writer started off as a new writer. (I know, shock.)
Fact: Every new writer who sold to traditional publishing for the first time in the last hundred years was paid decent, good, or fantastic money. Why? Because the gatekeepers thought they could sell a lot of copies of (you guessed it) an Unknown Writer.
Fact: A 100,000 word mystery from an Unknown Writer, when traditional publishing sells it, is priced EXACTLY at the same price as similar-sized novel from a bestselling writer. Price in old traditional publishing was based on printing and shipping costs and the size of the book and how many would fit in a sales and a bunch of other factors, including shipping cartons.
Fact: Not once in the last one hundred years did any traditional publisher price a new writer’s book lower because the writer was unknown. (Nope, they priced it because of printing costs.)
Fact: All writers are insecure.
. . . .
While traditional publishers were fighting and breaking laws to not allow Amazon to lower e-book prices to $9.99 because it was shockingly too low, new indie writers were pricing their brand new novels at 99 cents because it couldn’t be any good since they were new writers.
And thus this myth got started.
A bunch of us were fighting the trend and getting kicked for it by shouting to indie publishing writers to not cheapen their own books, just price slightly less than traditional.
And since a lot of us saw electronic books replacing mass market paperbacks, our suggestions were to price novels and collections in the same price range as mass market paperbacks. $4.99 to $7.99. Far under what New York traditional publishers thought was too low (back then and still in most cases).
But insecure writers (given price control) just won’t believe that anyone will pay a decent amount of money for their book. So the novels they spent a long time writing go into the 99 cent discount bin, the perma-free bin, or the $2.99 price.
. . . .
Since my wife has some open pen names, I’m going to mention her name here. She writes romance under the names Kristine Grayson and Kris DeLake. She writes mystery under Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Kris Rusch, and Kris Nelscott. All her science fiction is under Kristine Kathryn Rusch. With me, she wrote five media novels under Sandy Schofield. With me, she did a bunch of movie tie-in novels under the name Kathryn Wesley. And there are others.
All of those pen names won or were nominated for awards and sold thousands and thousands of copies per book.
So she was a new writer with all those names at one point or another.
AND NOT ONE OF THOSE BOOKS WAS DISCOUNTED OR SOLD CHEAPLY BECAUSE SHE WAS A NEW WRITER WITH A NAME NO ONE RECOGNIZED. Yet, she was exactly that because no one knew her pen name.
She sold all those books and started all those brand new names because she’s a great storyteller and liked to write across genres.
Link to the rest at Dean Wesley Smith and thanks to Eric for the tip.