Alternate Title: Open Minds is on sale!
(two days only)
One of the
When I first published Open Minds, I had to decide how to price it. One of the attractions of self-publishing over my previous small publisher, was that I could offer readers a lower price, so I already knew that I would price the ebook under $5 (compared to $6.99 for my small press ebook). (Paperback pricing is a different topic, which we will ignore for today.)
Pricing of Traditionally-Published E-Books
Trad-pub e-books are usually priced close to the paperback price (and sometimes above!).
#85 Bestseller Children's Action&Adventure
Pricing of Self-Published E-Books
#86 Bestseller Children's Action&Adventure
Pricing self-published books under $5 gives them an advantage over trad-pub books on price, which helps make up for the disadvantage of being a relatively unknown author. But how to decide the best price point for your book? There are lots of arguments back and forth on this, but the advantage for indies is that 1) you can experiment, and 2) you don't have to always stay the same.
$2.99 price point - popular because it's the lowest price where you earn the full 70% royalty.
$0.99 price point - popular as an "impulse buy" price point, but royalties are only 35%.
$2.99 to $4.99 - gaining popularity for more established self-pubbers, and those who want to ensure their self-publishing business supports itself.
If you look at the Kindle bestseller list on Amazon for my category (Bestsellers for Children's Action & Adventure Literature), this is what you see:
(snapshot: will vary with time)
(on this particular day, Open Minds was in the top 100 at $2.99)
Things to note:
1) Most trad-pub titles are priced over $5 (most popular price = $7.99)
2) Trad-pub titles under $5 are all short chap/picture books.
3) Most self-pub titles are priced at $2.99 or $0.99, with one title at $5.99
4) 8 of the top 100 are indie titles
Income vs. Sales
At $0.99, an author makes ~$0.35 per sale.
At $2.99, an author makes ~$2.09 per sale.
At $4.99, an author makes ~$3.49 per sale.
(For comparison, a traditionally published author makes ~6-8% on a $7.99 paperback for $0.47-$0.68 per sale, and 17.5% royalties on ebooks for $1.39 per sale )
So, when a self-pub author lowers their price, they are definitely leaving money on the table. But (hopefully) the lower price will bring more sales. Do you have to price your book at $0.99 to get on the bestseller lists as an indie? I think the answer is clearly no. Two-thirds of the indie titles in this top 100 list are priced $2.99 and above. When I originally set the price for Open Minds, I chose $2.99 because it was the lowest price I could set and still get the full 70% royalty. I hoped that price would encourage people to try a new author, while still allowing me to make back my investment. (One reason some indie authors are raising their prices is because they have experimented and found that for their fan base and their particular book(s), the higher price did not reduce sales.)
So, why put Open Minds on sale for a couple of days?
Jumping the Divide
One of my fellow Indelibles authors coined a term jumping the divide to describe moving beyond your immediate social circle to a larger readership for your book. Many authors work to expand their social network (which is great!) but once you're self-published you should also consider ways to jump the divide, to get your book out to people who will love the book first, author second. Ways I've seen authors try to jump the divide:
1) let a book go free (temporarily or more permanently as part of a series)
2) participate in KDP Select (Amazon's lending program) for more exposure
3) dropping price to $0.99 (temporarily or permanently)
4) building word-of-mouth through book bloggers
5) buying ads
6) many others I've probably forgotten
Up until now, I've mostly used #4 (and had great response, not to mention enjoyed getting to know book bloggers). Today I have a Pixel of Ink ad running, and next week I have a Kindle Fire Department ad. These ads will (hopefully) help Open Minds jump the divide to a wider audience, but my observation has been that these ads work best at an impulse price ($0.99 or free). So, I'm trading income for sales during the ads by dropping the price and hoping that Open Minds will find its way into many more hands. The temporary boost in rankings that will (hopefully) come from the ads isn't as important as jumping the divide to get the book to people who haven't heard of it before.
Do people download a $0.99 book on impulse and then not read it? Yes (I've done this myself). If it intrigues them, will they read it? I hope so. If they really like it, they might tell their friends or leave a review on Amazon. #WIN They might even read it by the time the second book Closed Hearts comes out in late May, and come looking for more. Which would make me a very happy author.
Will it work? Who knows. That's what experiments are for. :) #wishmeluck