The Price You Pay

Why certain books sell, while others don’t, is a conundrum. Some terrible books sell by the barrowload and some fantastic books…don’t. Books lauded by the great and the good, with terrific reviews and recommendations from others, flounder in the lower reaches of Amazon’s rankings, while others with a couple of simple reviews top their charts. Then there’s the $64,000 question – how much?

Sale

Cheap, that’s what sells. Right? Get your price down as far as you can and you’ll be rewarded with more sales. Granted, your profit will suffer, but as long as you’ve got volume, you’re sorted. Right?

Well…maybe.

I’d like to share two things that happened to me in regard to pricing. One is a cautionary tale, the other an example of the illogicality of pricing. Both reveal the power of Amazon promos.

  1. When I was about to release my second novel, my first was flying high on Amazon, selling c.60 copies a day. I decided to follow the adamant assertions of others and offer it for free, hoping to create a larger pool of buyers for novel two and boost sales post freebie period. After all, that’s what happened to everyone else doing that. Only, it didn’t work; I gave away 2000+ copies of novel one and afterwards sales crashed and novel two didn’t sell all that well. I now know that the crucial error I made was to interrupt an Amazon promotion with my own. In the run up to my freebie promo, Amazon had discounted my book from 99p to 77p (at their expense) and promoted it to their database. I went free and they dropped me from their campaign. This killed my visibility and therefore my sales.
  2. About a year ago, I put the price of In Many Ways up from 99p to £1.99. Almost right away, sales fell and it tumbled down the rankings. I panicked, put it back to 99p and it rallied, a bit. I kept all four of my e-books at 99p and sales trundled along, earning me little in the way of royalties. Last week, I discussed pricing and the new Kindle Countdown mechanism with my publisher. We agreed to raise prices in order to try this promo tool out: you have to sell books at a higher price for 30 days before offering them at a discount on the Countdown. So, all the books went from 99p up to £1.99 and, right away, started to sell. On Monday, things really took off with over forty books selling in four hours! It’s Friday and sales are still far higher than before the price rise. Better still, I’m making four times more royalties from every copy sold! Why, though? They’re more expensive; sales should have dropped, like before. However, it turns out I’m on an Amazon promo again. Don’t know why, but they’re emailing folks with my books suggesting they buy them, and they are, which is nice.

So, you see, there is no logic to pricing but there is every reason to hope for an Amazon promo. Just don’t interfere with them!

Maybe there are other authors or readers out there with views or stories to share regarding pricing? I’d love to hear from you.

Peter Carroll

About Peter

Peter Carroll is a Scotsman, author, musician and wildlife enthusiast.
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