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Recently, after listening to the advice of Smashwords founder Mark Coker, I decided to raise the price of one of my books, WHAT’S IN A NAME? from 99 cents to his suggested minimum price of $2.99. I thought I’d share my reasoning, and my very preliminary results.
One thing I’m not going into is reader perception of value. There are those who feel that readers won’t buy 99 cent books, because they shout out “indie published, probably low-quality” versus those who snap up 99 cent books because they can try new authors with little financial risk. I have no idea where the “truth” lies. I do know that on Amazon, my best sellers happen to be my 99 cent books. So why change?
WHAT’S IN A NAME? is one of my few non-series books. It was doing well enough, even cracking the top 100 in Romantic Suspense at Amazon. (And, for whatever reason, it’s my worst selling book at Barnes & Noble, so I’m only looking at Amazon numbers here.) Some days it was in the 70’s, other days it wasn’t in the top 100. Overall rankings went as high as about 1500, but for the most part, it ranked somewhere between the 1700s and the low 2000s, and was my highest selling book, closely followed by WHEN DANGER CALLS.
In another post, I mentioned that rankings are based on comparisons of your book’s sales with other sales over a time period. So, one day, sales of 50 books might do little to raise rankings, because other books were also selling lots of copies. Another day, 20 sales might send you up into the top 100 for your genre. And, of course, a lot depends on how many other titles are in that genre, or sub-genre.
Nook Contest Question #6 (Remember to use the Contact Form to answer the question, and put “Nook Contest” in your response.)
In Deadly Secrets, who was the murder victim?
And, back to today’s post:
But what about the other side? Actual sales, not rankings, are what generate royalty dollars. So, you have to ask yourself, what are your goals? To see your book high in the rankings, or to see money in your bank account?
For this post, I’ll compare my two 99 cent novels, before and after the price hike. It’s still very early on, but I thought I’d share what’s happening.
As far as money goes, Amazon pays 35 percent on books priced below $2.99. This means that each sale of a 99 cent book generates about 35 cents for the author. At prices $2.99 and above, the rate is 70%, which means selling a book gives the author $2.09. To generate the same money, it takes 6 books at 99 cents to equal 1 book at $2.99.
Rankings for WHAT’S IN A NAME? are now at the 5000 level, which is definitely a drop. Where it stabilizes remains to be seen.
WHEN DANGER CALLS is bouncing in and out of the top 100 in Action Adventure; it’s in the 3000’s in overall rankings.
What about sales? Prior to the price change, WHAT’S IN A NAME? was selling about 40 copies per day, with a net royalty of just under $14. After the price change, the daily sales dropped to about 20 books a day. You can probably do the math. Royalties come out to about $42. In fact, to maintain my prior rate of $14/day, selling 7 books a day would be the break-even point. Should my sales drop below that, I’ll probably consider lowering the price again.
Do I mind not being able to brag about my top 100 book? Not really. For now, I like watching my bank balance rise instead of my rankings.
Only time will tell what happens over the next several months. I’ll definitely be watching the numbers, and I’ll be back with updates.
What about you? As writers, is it more important to see your book on the best-seller lists, or are you watching the bottom line? And, yes, of course I’d love to have both!
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Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society