Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Insecure Writer's Support Group: what's the right price for your book?
This is a monthly event started by the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh and organized by the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Click here to find out more about the group and sign up for the next event.
My insecurity this month: what is the right price for my books?
Here's the thing: every time I run a 99 cent promotion I sell a ton of books. Both Mosaics and Gene Cards landed on a bunch of hot new releases thanks to those promotions. And then the promotion ends and sales drop. So, what's an author to do?
Incidentally (or maybe not), Amazon started a new program called KDP Pricing Support, which is still in beta, but basically takes in your book data (sales, length of the book, etc.), and tells you what the right price for your book should be. It's an interesting tool because it lets you input the hypothetical price for your book and, based on the data from similar books, it tells you how your sales and profits would change accordingly. Obviously, if you lower the price, the sales increase but the profits decrease. On the other hand, when you raise the price you see a higher profit but less sales.
One thing is for sure: if you want a ton of sales go for the lowest price. However. There's always a catch. For me, the catch is this: how many of those copies sold at 99 cents are actually read? That's a very important question to ask because if all those books end up buried in a Kindle and get never opened, all I've gained is a momentary spike in your Amazon ranking, a spike that is bound to disappear just as quickly as it appeared.
What you really want, as an author, is to engage your readers. Readers who love your book and write a review and recommend the book to their friends are priceless. Who's more likely to write a review, the impulsive buyer who forgets about your book the minute he/she sees another sale, or the reader who looks at the book description and opens a couple of reviews before clicking "Buy Now"?
There's a second consideration I make when deciding the price for my books, and it's not based on page number, like the Amazon tool does. It's based on the amount of work I put into each project. It takes me one year to produce a finished book, and that's not just because I'm a slow writer. I'm a compulsive researcher: I research everything for my story, from characters to technology, from police procedural to locations. I spend just as much time researching as I do writing. It takes time, effort, and resources to do that.
But, none of this is written in stone and I keep debating whether or not I've set the right prices, which is why this month I decided to discuss this topic as my featured insecurity. :-)
Besides, I'm not giving up 99 cent promotions. I'm still planning on having plenty of those as they help me spread the word about my books. But I think that the final price of novel-length books should be higher than $0.99. What do you think? What do you take into account when deciding the right price for your book?
BTW, if you don't want to miss my next book promotion, make sure you sign up for my newsletter. Plus, you get a free story when you sign up. :-) (sorry, had to end with a devious plug)