Friday, January 21, 2011

Adventures in Epublishing: Pricing and Marketing Experiment

As you may have read on here recently, I've started my own epublishing label with fellow author, Megg Jensen, called DarkSide Publishing. Her first novel, a YA fantasy called Anathema, will be out in the next month and I was trying to think of ways to help boost DarkSide's visibility in order to give her a better open than I had. Not that mine wasn't great, it's just you'd like to see each new book do better than the first. Our goal (along with publishing quality ebooks) with DarkSide Publishing is to encourage readers to read other titles we offer; the idea being if I sell a book, Megg will sell a book as well and vice versa. I've been wracking my brain on ways to bring in more readers before her book is released.

I've recently been reading a lot of KindleBoards posts regarding pricing and what the appropriate price for a new, unknown ebook author should be. I agree with many of the posters that $2.99 is a great price. It's inexpensive enough to bring in new readers, and still earns me about $2.00 a book. And while I've been pretty steady at a book a day at $2.99, if I'm trying to spread the word about DarkSide, my book, and Megg's book, a book a day isn't going to get our names out there to the masses as much as we'd like. I've observed some authors in a similar situation to mine (1 book, unknown author) selling extremely well with a lower price. Some are selling thousands. And while I'd love to make $2 a book and sell thousands, I'm not currently. I'm selling in the low tens, which I'm still quite proud of at only the third month in.

So I've had to weigh my options.  Down the road, I'd already planned to drop the price on Into the Shadows when the sequel comes out, but we're a ways off from that day.  But if I drop the price now, and sell in the hundreds at least, moving up in rankings and making my book, DarkSide, and hopefully Megg's book more visible, perhaps that's what is best in the long run.  I will try out selling the book at $0.99 here in the US and under 1 GBP in the UK (I picked the 0.75 GBP option, but not sure what it comes to with the VAT tax).  I plan on leaving it at the lower price at least through February and seeing what effects it has.  Royalty-wise, I need to sell 6 ebooks at $0.99 to equal the royalties from 1 ebook at $2.99.  I'd need to sell 172 copies in a month to equal the same money I make selling an ebook a day or 30 copies.  But that 172 will also make DarkSide and Megg more visible.  And what if I sell more than that?  Then I'd be making more money than I was averaging at the more expensive price.

And just remember, if we were all traditionally pubbed, we'd be making about 30-35 cents per paperback.  At $0.99, I'll be making 35 cents per book.  So in the whole scheme of things, perhaps not so bad.

There are also some negatives to selling for $0.99, people buy, but don't ever read the book, they think the book might be lower quality, etc.  I have listed on the sale pages why it's been lowered (as an intro to DarkSide) so perhaps that will keep it out of negative thoughts. 

What about you? Have you experimented with pricing? What were your results? I'd love to see if $0.99 made you more money/rankings/readers, or if you're having just as much luck at $2.99?


If you're interested in picking up a copy of Into the Shadows at $0.99/under 1GBP, check out Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. 

6 comments:

  1. We just dropped Promise to $2.99. It started at $5.99, then $4.99. The first day I posted it around the interwebz, sales spiked a bit. Since then, no real change. It hasn't been nearly long enough to know for sure. However, I have heard that many find that below $2.99 (and for some, even $2.99) is TOO low, that they lose sales. I think every book is different and we have to play around until we find the right sweet spot for each particular book. I'm excited to see what results you and I both get.

    BTW, your Google Ads has an ad for publishamerica on it right now. :-P

    And another, much better, more important BTW - Ang'dora Productions is getting ready to gear up with some exciting opportunities for indies. Can't wait to share!

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  2. I've been discussing this very topic with my publisher (Seven Realms, a small, independent publisher) about my book, which is my first. We actually had a discussion about whether or not to RAISE the price above $2.99. There's a theory that people will look at something that is inexpensive and decide it is "cheap" or not worthwhile. There's some interesting psychology in that, I think...

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  3. Oh, I agree completely with the lower price being bad as well. But some are selling, I figured it's worth trying, and I can always move it back end of February. That's the initial plan, anyways. It will be interesting to see the results.

    Kristie...I just took the Google ads off. I don't make any money off them and I don't want to be advertising for PublishAmerica! Ew! Also can't wait to hear about Ang'dora and what it has up its sleeve!

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  4. I think that number of reviews and book cover, description etc have more to do with how well something sells than price. There are tons of books priced at .99 that don't sell any copies at all... And plenty of books priced at 3.99 and above that sell plenty.

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  5. This is such an interesting discussion and I'm glad you posted about it. I'm not too knowledgeable about the financial aspect of ebook pubbing, so thanks!

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  6. I agree Annie. And very true. I have some great reviews, but not a ton. Just thought maybe this would give a little boost. It's going to be awhile though. If I was smart, I would check the stupid numbers every time I got on the computer!

    Lydia, glad to help!

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