Friday, September 28, 2012

Changing E book Pricing

A time for a change 
I always wondered from the day I set my first book to 99 cents, should I ever change it to 2.99 to see what would happen.  I have my novels on Amazon and Smashwords so  I assumed all I would need to do, would be go to Amazon and Smashwords and change my prices.  As I've said in the last post, boy was I wrong.

Amazon Price Matching
Amazon was easy to change, I just switched it to 2.99 and went on my way, but what I quickly learned was that they price match. Street Justice Charlie's Angel was still coming up as 99 cents.  I had no idea why because I'd changed my prices on Smashwords and Amazon.  Well Smashwords had not contacted all of their retailers and it seemed like they were taking a long time to do so.  I decided after a few weeks to start contacting them myself.  

Red Tape
I emailed Smashwords about four times over about a two month period.  I even contacted several of their retailers, some of them changed the price for me and others said no.  They told me that although that was my book on their shelf, they couldn't change it until they'd heard from Smashwords. I don't recall who told me what, but it was not a happy experience.

Finally 2.99
I know it took them some time, but finally one of my emails to the fine folks at Smashwords hit it's mark and my book magically appeared on line at all Smashword retailers and it then appeared on Amazon for 2.99.  I'm not saying that the folks at Smash did anything wrong, it's just a tedious process and I'm sure they have lots of people wanting their prices changed. I'm just saying be careful when you set a price anywhere. Think long and hard about what you want your book to be sold for, because if you change your mind it may take you a while to get the price to change.

The new price
After all of my hard work at getting Street Justice Charlie's Angel up to the price of 2.99 I'm more than likely going to lower it back down to .99 cents.  It is my first novel, and I really consider it a giveaway to get noticed, and to be found among all of the authors that are out there.  

Sales did drop in half
Though I am making the same amount of money that I was while I kept the book at 99 cents, I am not gaining the same amount of readers.  I think at this early stage in my career, it is best to gain more readers, than it is to worry about revenue. 

What has been your experience in sales?  Feel free to comment and share your experience.

Samantha Fury
Author of the Street Justice Series


Brad Francis said...

I suppose I'm one of those who thinks that a $.99 price point is just too low and devalues your work as an author for a full novel. I think that $2.99 is perfectly reasonable for an indie author for a well-written novel, with the inherent value that provides the reader. In my experience, I've been selling more of my paperback book at $9.99 than I have of my Kindle book at $2.99! That's given me a bit of pause, let me assure you. Whatever you decide to do, good luck!

Samantha Fury said...

I really agree with you too, but that doesn't change the fact that at this moment I'm losing potential fans by leaving it at 2.99.

I am also going to do a cover change, so I might just wait until after that change before I lower the price. I do agree with you and I also have never done the KDP thing because I have that same feeling about free books.

Thanks for your comments.

Darlene Shortridge said...


I have had several KDP giveaways and am reaping the benefits from gaining the exposure. My e-books retail at 2.99 and 3.99 and sales are pretty good. After everything you went through, it seems a shame to have to lower the price. I'd be dreading that! :)

Samantha Fury said...

Thanks Darlene. I can see how getting the exposure of being out there in the top for a few days.

I just know how I am with free books, and most of the time not always they don't get read quickly.

I've always said some day I would give it a try. I just might have to with this third book and see how and if it helps sales.

Thanks much for dropping by, and yes I all but hate LOL! to change it back, and I will NOT change it on smashwords ever. LOL!


Sandy Nathan said...

Hi, Samantha & Brad, Anyone discussing pricing should read Cheryl Kaye Tardif's book, How I Made $42K in One Month Selling my eBooks. (See Amazon) Whatever results in $42K profit is hard to argue with. Cheryl made $30K the next month and averages about $20K/mo. She's also signed with one of the majors as a result and has a Waa-hoo of a contract. She did using Amazon's KDP program; it's all spelled out in her book. That's pretty cool.

I tried to emulate Cheryl's results with a couple of sets of KDP days in August. Here's a link to my write up of the results of my first set of KDP days, including screen shots of my book ranked #1 in Sci Fi Adventure (free) right up next to George RR Martin. The main between us difference is: he got paid. My book stayed #1 for a whole day.

I repeated the KDP promotion a couple weeks later with another book, which hit #3 in the same category.

After the books reverted to not being free, result was an increase in sales in ALL of my books, some by 10X. I would have NEVER seen that if I hadn't done the give away: My work was buried in the lower reaches of Amazon rankings where no one would see it.

Do I mind giving my work away? Not all all. A book given away yields the same profit as one not sold. I'd rather get new readers than have my work sit in Amazon's computers.

The KDP glow didn't last, so I'm planning on repeating it a couple of times in the next 2 months. Is it work? Oh, yeah. Here's my article about what I did to prepare:
Doing the prep work I did was fairly awful, but I got that great screen shot out of it.

On pricing. I used to sell my books at .99. I know they're worth way more, but they SOLD at .99.

I have a friend who was (she died) a major, major seller on Kindle. (She also ended up signing with one of the big 6 publishers.) She had one of her new books marked at $2.99 and it wasn't selling.

She fretted about knocking it down to .99. She'd have to sell six times as many books to make the same profit. She finally dropped the price, and sold 16 TIMES the number of books, making way more than she had been, even at a much lower margin. Amazing what hitting the right price point will do.

A while back,I had my books at .99, based on the fact that they sold at that price. One of the industry experts told me, "Those are the junk books. You need to get out of that. Your books are better than that." That's true, all of them are better and I deserve to make more.

I raised everything to $2.99 and above, except for one kids' book. Result? My sales plummeted. Fell through the floor. They're selling again, and I'm making more than I did previously, but the sales aren't vigorous.

I look at pricing in terms of profit maximization, not "how much my books are worth" or "how much I'm worth." Our books worth a lot and so are we. We deserve to make a great deal on them. But what's the worth of a book that doesn't sell? Nothing.

I like what Cheryl Tardif says and how she uses KDP. So, I'm off to get them free days rollin'again. Bye!

Samantha Fury said...

Thanks Sandy that's an amazing story. Thanks for sharing that and I meant to buy that book months ago and just forgot.

Thanks for the reminder, and the link to your blog.


TraciB said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, Samantha. I'll be lowering my price on Chantal's Call when I release Brigitte's Battle in a couple of weeks, and I appreciate the heads-up that it won't be as quick and easy as I might have thought.

Sandy, thanks for sharing your story too. I haven't done the KDP Select thing either, because I knew people with Nooks and I wanted them to read my book too. However, most of my sales are on Amazon, so I'll probably give Amazon exclusivity on Brigitte's Battle. The experiences chronicled in your comment are influencing me that direction.

Sandy Nathan said...

Thanks, Samantha! It's always a pleasure to read your work.