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Authorial Stickiness and Self Publishing

honey stick

Honey stick by suzyq212 at

I’ve been buying and reading a number of self published books of late, primarily because of the price point of $.99.  I find that the $.99 price point overcomes a lot of reservations I might have about a book.  One thing I did notice, as I was going through my purchases, is that I don’t have a lot of repetitive authors I’ve purchased at $.99.

I wondered what other readers were doing and what kind of stickiness these self published authors were having for readers.  The $.99 price point is a “try me” price point and none of the $.99 self published books I’ve read, except from established writers, have encouraged me to go back and buy more of their books.  I find myself more curious about other books at $.99.

This is not the usual behavior for me. If I find an author I like, I’ll go and buy their entire backlist.  In the past, that has sent me to used bookstores both brick and mortar and online.  If you read my “reading lists” you can see that I’m often reading two or three books of an author in any given two week period.  In July, I was reading the extensive backlist of Cindy Gerard and Laura Giffen.  Two weeks ago, I was reading three Jill Shalvis books.  I read Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews (due out in December and definitely a recommended read) and it spurred me to re-read the first two in the series.

I think romance readers are serious students of the glom.  They like author’s websites to have a complete backlist because they want to know what other books this magical creature called AUTHOR has created.

In thinking of the issue of author stickiness and self published authors, I have distilled some assumptions but I would love to hear what others think:

1)  Many have been short and while entertaining, they aren’t fulfilling so I’m not anxious to read another one of those books.

2)  Many of have been okay, but not great.

3)  Many don’t have extensive backlists.

4)  Those that have backlists often have only one in a specific genre. I.e., it seems like there are a lot of different areas of interest that the writer has and I just want to read a book similar to the one I’ve just finished. I.e., if I am reading a contemporary then I’m not really sure I want to read the author’s paranormal story.  (which is why, I’m sure, that author’s have pennames)

5)  The $.99 price is somehow encouraging me to experiment rather than glom.

What about you readers? Have you been buying self published books by authors who have had no previous publishing experience (as far as you know?)  Have you glommed on to a self published author? What book started the glom?  Do you feel the $.99 price point is introductory or standard for certain books? Are self published books too short?  What are your thoughts about author stickiness, length of books, price points?  Do any of those things go together?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


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