People talk about pricing for their books as if authors are set and ready with the largest following ever right out of the starting gate.
I cringe when people fling out numbers and data, listening to huge authors blogs and they forget--pricing is a strategy. Take the data and apply what you know. The new free is 99¢ - people don't think about a $2.99 book if they love the author, some readers will never know your books because they won't invest $9.99 in a book. Let's break down pricing in terms of this readers perception so we can go on to strategy. If prices could talk, this is what they would say:
99¢ = I'm a new author (or new to you) and I'd like for you to try my book!
$1.99 = Ignore me, I'm behind the times.
$2.99 = I'm an author you like (or an author everyone in your goodreads group raves about) and you trust me to bring you a good story!
$3.99 = Your a fan and bought the first and second of my series and want more!
$4.99 = Your a HUGE fan and I'm worth it!!
$5.99 = Is this a compilation? Oh wait, no...your my awesomemost favorite author and I just got paid!
$6.99 - $8.99 = The price you wish to pay for any Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Patricia Briggs book.
$9.99 = I am Stephen King.
Yes, I'm exaggerating. It's suppose to be funny. Also, everyone has their own standard of pricing as well. A $2.99 book for some could be the same as the 99¢ "new to me author" price.
However, if prices could talk, it might be obvious which price point to take...the answer is...ALL OF THEM. Have your 99¢ stories to get people to read you, have a $2.99 book to follow that up.
Walk up the price and see how that works for you because you have to know who your audience is. You can also try your new releases at $3.99 or $4.99 if you have a strong following. Make a new release either 99¢ to reward your followers, or maybe gain new ones - or make the new release $4.99 and back it down after a month.
What I would do for a NEW author:
☼ 99¢ two week promotion for true fans/fans who have followed since the first time you blogged about it! Blast that promo!
☼ Raise the price to $2.99 after three weeks because the bitchers will complain about not getting the promo even though you say 2 weeks--so after 3 weeks everybody is happy.
☼ Write another book and churn that puppy out in a month - or as soon as you can.
Here is the thinking behind the madness:
Debut author's really need to gain an audience. They need to collect emails and get those people knowing the authors name. If you're floating on their kindle, they'll probably remember you for 2 - 3 months. Make sure you put out another book in the next month to keep your name in the eyes of kindle holders everywhere. Once you have six books out there you are what I would call an established author.
What I would do for an ESTABLISHED author:
☼ Pre-order special of 99¢ - $2.99 for one week.
☼ Once the book goes live up the price to $3.99 - $4.99
☼ After 1 - 6 months or after another release, lower that price to $2.99
Here is the thinking behind the madness:
Established authors will blog, tweet and send their fans an email telling about the pre-order special, giving them a boost on release day. Also, say in the description of the book this is a low price for fans available for one week! After a week, raise the price for people cruising around the "also bought", top 100 lists and deals to $3.99 or above. After you release your next book, lower the price of this one to $2.99. There is something psychological about the "new thing" being higher priced but after a while you want your back list to be available to readers who never heard of you before. They will see you have a long catalog and that switch of "oh, this authors is prolific--they must be good..." will go off and the $2.99 (or up) price is justified because you've been around. If you've been around, you must know your stuff :)
ACTION ITEM: Review your pricing strategy and act accordingly.
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~ Sincerley, Your Editor
Troll River Publications
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