Some of you may have noticed me on Twitter or FaceBook, or even on this Blog, advertising "experimental pricing" on Kindle versions of several of my novels. My goal was to test the price waters (again . . . I did this last fall, and again this winter, as well). I wanted to find the best price point for my books.
Following are my observations:
If you write paranormal romance novellas, I can safely say that the folks who have had the most success with selling these eBooks are pricing them at $.99 each. I didn't find this out through my own empirical study. I sampled other blogs. I looked on Amazon to see how much the popular books in this genre are selling for. And of course, there's the famous case of Kindle millionaire, Amanda Hocking. (If you haven't heard her story, Google her. You'll find out plenty.)
Although my pricing study didn't include novellas of any kind, I feel pretty comfortable going with the prevailing opinion on this one. $.99 is your price point.
If you write popular fiction, I have some actual results from my unscientific studies (both last fall and recently) to offer.
For the past several months, or more, all of my novels on Kindle have been priced at $8.99. Sales have been surprisingly steady -- I said steady, not high. But the steadiness gave me a nice comparison point for my price study.
For a period of several days this March I lowered the price on my most popular novel from $8.99 to $2.99. I advertised the price drop like crazy, everywhere I could. The first day, I sold triple the number of that book compared to the average daily number I had been selling. After the first day, sales dropped below my normal sales numbers and remained there for three days, at which time I returned the price to $8.99. Sales of this book have now returned to their pre-experiment level. And they did so almost immediately.
My conclusion, based on this admittedly scant, but entirely accurate, data, $8.99 was a better price for the book than $2.99. Even though I did sell more books the very first day, I suspect that those purchases were made by folks who planned to buy the book anyway and simply took advantage of the price drop to do so. (I actually contacted two buyers who had notified me of their purchases. I asked if the price was a factor for them. Both said that it wasn't.)
In the battle between the $8.99 and the $2.99 price points for popular novels, the unscientific winner is: $8.99. Not only do I get paid three times as much per book sold, I actually sell more books at that price level.
If you write religious or other niche fiction, I can offer you some information on pricing in this area as well. Before my price study, I was selling my full-length religious novel at $8.99. For the study period of four days, I lowered the price to $.99. As with the other novel, I advertised the heck out of the price drop.
The results? I sold four copies of the book during the four days of the study. I hadn't been selling tons before that. But this level of sales certainly didn't make the $.99 price point an attractive option.
What I learned with this book experiment, is that almost giving your book away does not attract purchasers. This bears out similar results I have experienced when I have actually offered to GIVE eBooks away. I don't believe people value most fiction when you price it too low. (Romance being one apparent exception.)
So the price point for my religious novel at present? Back to $8.99. Sales are still slow. But awards are starting to come in. So we'll see what the future holds.
The above findings are comparable to results I discovered last fall when I lowered prices on my books to $6.99 and then to $2.99. No appreciable increase in sales. In fact, sales DECREASED as the price dropped.
I posted an article on this blog a a couple months ago describing how I chose the prices for my books. I'll see if I can locate it and link it here.
The upshot of my pricing strategy is to price my books slightly lower than their traditionally published counterparts. If NY Times Best Seller thrillers sell for $9.99 to $11.99, I sell mine for $8.99. You get the idea.
I would like to have done a more thorough and more scientific pricing study whose results I could share with you. But as you know, among other things, I am an author. So writing itself has to be a priority. This is especially true since, as I have stated in this blog before, if you want to sell more books, write more.
I hope you have found this article helpful to you (if only in a small way) when you make that important decision about pricing your book.
That's it for today.