Adventures in Epublishing: Pricing and Marketing Experiment Results

I ended my 99 cent experiment a little soon, after only 17-ish days. It was meant to be a promotion, although I did have grand plans after selling sometimes 7 copies a day that maybe I would leave it at 99 cents. But with a new book (Megg Jensen's Anathema) coming out at my DarkSide Publishing label this next week, we decided it might be good to end the promo and put the price back to $2.99 so that both books would be at the same price. I did think it might last 1 month, but Anathema was ready a little earlier than we thought.

Here is a sales break down from January 21-February 6/7 (Amazon took a little longer to change)

Into the Shadows
Total sold: 96 copies (60 at B&N) averaging 5 copies a day
Total earned: $34.81

The good thing is based on my previous sales (roughly 1 book a day) I didn't technically lose any money. If I sold 17 copies during those same dates, I would have earned about $35.00 in profits as well. But over the last weekend (thanks, Super Bowl), the 99 cent sales dropped off as well, and selling only 1 a day at 99 cents is no good for the bottom line.

The goal of the promotion was to get the word out about DarkSide and Megg's upcoming book. I think it accomplished that with gaining nearly 100 new readers. Like I said before, I did actually consider leaving it at 99 cents longer, my imagination was running away with the idea that I would/could start selling tons of copies, making it more worthwhile.  Only it never really took off at Amazon, Amazon UK, or Smashwords at 99 cents. Withouth Barnes & Noble, the whole thing would have been a bust.

I also happened to read a bunch of discussions regarding pricing on Kindle Boards over the last few days and readjusted my attitude. I came into epubbing to price at least at $2.99, because frankly I think the book is worth it and as much as I'm doing this because I love the writing, it would really make my life better if I could make money doing this, even if it is just a little bit. Some tout the idea of having a loss leader, pricing the first in their series at 99 cents and the others at $2.99. Now I'm actually having the opposite idea, that maybe the best pricing plan would be first book at $2.99 and the second/future books in the series at $3.99. The beauty of this is I can speculate all I want and change my mind later, but I'm thinking that I would like to try that out and see what happens.

So as fun as it was to see steady sales at 99 cents, in the short time it didn't really wow me. I realize I probably need to leave it there for months to really see an impact. It was worth doing it for our promotional purposes, and I did worry that maybe I would lose sales at $2.99, which I haven't yet sold any on Amazon, but I have sold 7 on B&N since Sunday. Not bad. Better than 1 a day prior to the promotion. So I'm hoping that the new visibility plus Megg's *awesome* contest and sales of her new book will keep sales increasing, and I can pay a bill or two with my new earnings this month.

The vast difference between my sales on Amazon and B&N is something I wish I could explain. If I figure out how I'm selling so well over there, I will be sure to pass it on. Right now I can only say maybe it's based on the categories/key words I chose. I also added 'YA paranormal novel' to the title. Maybe that's helping it show up there more as well.

Questions? Comments? Be sure to chime in!


  1. A really interesting experiment. I think you're doing well.

  2. Perhaps this is a dumb question but why is it either 2.99 or .99? Why haven't I seen authors pricing at 1.99? I agree, I think your book is worth more than .99 but I guess I don't understand why there aren't more books priced at 1.99.

  3. I have 3 books out, one is priced at 99 cents, one is $1.99, and one is $2.99. The reasons for those particular prices are that the 99 cent one is very short, the $1.99 one is a novella, and the $2.99 one is novel-length.

    I'm still working on promotion, so I can't really say if the different prices affect the number of sales (which is code for 'I don't have very many sales'). Although my 99 cent book did quite well during the Nov. & Dec., but that's because it's a Christmas story.

    As for Anonymous's question, at Amazon, authors can choose to receive 35% royalty on their books, or 70% royalty. If you choose 70%, you must price your books no lower than $2.99.

  4. Interesting. I published two ebook collections of shoirt stories for 99 cents last May. I did a "push" via social marketing and some other authors and sold maybe 15 copies of each. I've had a handful more sales of each since then. Yesterday I released a thriller novel for $2.99 (still not fully active on kindle) and I've begun submitting it reviewers and starting the promotion process. It will be interesting to see how it pans out. Next month, I've got a thriller about half novel length that I plan to give a try at 99 cents. I honestly have no idea what the best prices will be, so it's great to read posts like yours outlining your experiences

  5. Best of luck guys, let me know how it goes!

  6. I remember a friend said to me that there are two ways to price - you either set a low or mass price and end up generating more sale quantity or you can set it in a higher price yet the sale quantity is less than mass pricing. However, both pricing would lead to somehow an even total income. I think, it is a matter of positioning your book if it is indeed worthy of a 2.99 than the mass price of .99, then go for it. You might have less sales quantity but overall, you can still make a good sale.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts