Pricing is usually the second to the last question once you are ready to hit publish, with the last question being promotion. The problem is I do think pricing and promotion are pretty tangled together. Do you price at the top of your genre and in so doing declare your book is most awesome and devoid of errors, editing issues and has passed the test to be called awesome and deserving of the price? Because that’s what you’re saying when you price it so high, so your cover better be steller, not an error or dropped coma in sight and it better be fucking phenomenal to your betas or guess what your reviews will be so low and so immediate it will surprise you. There is nothing like failing to deliver that will guarantee a screaming review. I’ve read them. So do you price it at the bottom as a ‘hey, try me out for just a few pennies.’ Careful with that, set low expectations and sure you’ll get great reviews but if you set the expectations on pricing low once you develop a following and try to raise the price you might see your sales plummet and expectation for the next you release be set at the price.
I wrote for a year with a plan for six, then thankfully ended up with seven and now I’m at eleven. When I sat down and made the plan it was with the knowledge that one of them six would be free with the plan to take it higher at a later date. This went in hand with promotion, try me free and if you like me then I have all these other books for you to try. When I released my five, I priced at $3.99 and my free was doing pretty well but eh on my buys. I was actually doing pretty well on Nook, nothing to scream and shout over but very well. However, on Kindle while my free was doing pretty damn well it was crickets as far as sales were concerned. I gave it two months and I couldn’t take it anymore, at the suggestion of a beta and highly valued friend I lowered the price. On Nook the sales soared and on Amazon I finally got a few bites, nothing to crow over but not bad.
Then I started seeing other authors do pre-sales at a low price or .99 cents with the warning once it went live the price would go up. It appealed, I won’t lie at that point I was beginning to lose patience with Kindle so I figured I didn’t really have anything to lose. So when I released my last four I did a pre-sale at ,99 cents with the warning they would go up to ‘regular’ price of $2.99 and the sales soared. I made four times in that month what I had made the previous month on Kindle.
It made me happy but honestly not that happy. Why? With those sales shouldn’t I have been doing flips? Yes, from the promotional standpoint of all those sales finally put my books out on Amazon for suggested and those who bought where the others hadn’t been before. That right there is promotion that I didn’t pay for, but no because I did pay for it from the loss at the higher sales. No, because here’s the thing I don’t want someone who’s only willing to buy me at .99 cents and those aren’t the buyers anyone should want.
There are titles I have that have never been ‘on sale’ and never is hard word to put in print so we’ll go with unlikely, there are titles that are unlikely to EVER go on sale. Why? Because people are willing to pay full price for them. Paying attention to my sales is important to know where I stand in pricing.
For days, I dawdled over changing the price on one of my titles from .99 cents at new release to full price. Completely honest, I checked what other writers were doing and I made the decision to leave it at .99 cents as a way of promotion.
Not going to lie, it burns like hell to have the perma free and only .99 cent titles as I wonder will I be in a position to raise the price someday. Then I have to consider that I’m not paying to promote so the free and .99 cent are my promotion and for now I’m okay with that because technically no money is coming out of my pocket. When my free goes up, the sales do trickle in after that. For me it works.