Unfortunately, art of any type is still not seen as being “a real job”, despite how much time and energy goes into it. With publishing, many readers just aren’t aware of just how much work goes into a story. Maybe it’s time to change that.
Personally, I have been asked more than once by acquaintances what they’d need to do to publish a book and each time recieved shocked replied when I went sent off a basic list. A basic list. Not comprehensive. And all these things contribute to the cost set for an ebook.
For those who are interested, some of the basics of writing (and publishing) a book are:
- Research, usually quite comprehensive, about a wide range of things. Only a small percentage actually makes it into the book in an obvious way
- Plotting, whether general or specific
- First draft (just sitting down to write)
- Revision, which can result enormous changes to the story
- Beta reader(s), usually each with specific knowledge bases
- Revision (again)
- Beta readers(s)
- Revision (again)
- Hiring an editor (or two), preferably the editing process will include body/content editing (for continuity, characters, and pacing), line editing (grammar, word use, punctuation), and copy editing (proof reading and examination of other two processes). Edits often mean multiple rounds.
- Finding a cover artist whose work will best reflect the story, discussing ideas, and paying them.
- Formatting, not only epub, mobi, and pdf, but also print, whether you do it yourself or hire someone else.
- Obtaining an ISBN
- Releasing the book and placing on distributor sites
- Publicity, which can include contests, blog hops, social media, physical book stores, interviews (generally in person, over the phone, or in writing)
- Answering fan mail (which most authors love to do because they love to hear what you think, but it is time consuming)
There you go. And I’m pretty sure that’s not even all of it; I know it doesn’t go into the complexities of every step, (if you can think of any other steps, please let me know in the comments).
So, please, before you complain about the price of any time of art, whether literature or otherwise, stop and think about exactly what goes into it first. (And yes, I am well aware there are people out there who put barely any effort in and then sell it, but most are not that way.)
And remember, if you think a book’s too expensive, either don’t read it or borrow it from the library. It’s your choice. Goodness knows I’ve not read/bought books that looked interesting but felt were too expensive considering their word count and likely quality. Of course, the flip side is that I have paid a little more for those books I knew would be high quality.