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Marketing > 'You Set The Price!': good or bad?

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message 1: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (last edited Oct 14, 2012 08:27AM) (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 790 comments Hi all - Does anyone here use the Smashwords 'reader sets price' feature? If so, how did it affect sales? I was wondering whether to use this for a forthcoming short story instead of offering it for $0.99 or free.


message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara G. Tarn (BarbaraGTarn) | 1180 comments From the Smashwords FAQs:
How is price determined?
You (the author/agent/publisher) set the price for your works. The price can be free, any price above $.99, or reader-sets-the-price. In instances where your book is distributed to other online retailers, the retailers do not discount your work. If you select reader-sets-the-price, such books will default to a price of $4.95 at Smashwords' retail partners because none of them support the Reader-Sets-the-Price option (Note: As of December 1, 2010, we can no longer distribute Reader-Sets-the-Price books to Barnes & Noble). If you would like to set a separate default price for retailers only, go to Dashboard: Settings. Once you make a price change at Smashwords, we will automatically notify Smashwords retailers of the price change in our once-weekly updates to them (some retailers receive more frequent updates. We ship to Apple multiple times each day, and Kobo ships once-daily). Please allow anywhere from two days to two weeks for price updates to reflect at retailers (usually it's about a week or less).

Unless you're NOT interested in the premium distribution, I'd avoid it if I were you! ;)


message 3: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (last edited Oct 16, 2012 09:36AM) (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 790 comments As you can set a fixed price for retailers, while still having 'you set the price' at the same time for Smashwords website sales, I can't see how it would affect premium distribution. I just wondered if anyone here had tried it; and if so, to what result.


message 4: by Steve (new)

Steve Thomas | 2 comments I experimented with it for a few months. I didn't really see any effect on sales. You don't have anything to lose by trying, though.


message 5: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 790 comments Hmm... Thanks. I have a Christmas short story coming out at, err... Christmas, so I might run a 'you set the price' promotion offer on the novel over the festive period and see what happens.


message 6: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments Steph wrote: "Hi all - Does anyone here use the Smashwords 'reader sets price' feature? If so, how did it affect sales? I was wondering whether to use this for a forthcoming short story instead of offering it fo..."

I used it for one of my titles, as I wanted to make it affordable to absolutely everyone at a level where they felt comfortable. Frankly, I did better when I set a specific price. This was before the days of the premium catalog, so that wasn't a factor.


message 7: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 790 comments Jaq wrote: "How did this go? I've never tried it, but had the impression that Mark Coker didn't rate it and it might get phased out."

I didn't do it in the end. Instead, I bundled three short stories together for Kindle only and enrolled it in Select. The impact on associated novel sales was minimal, to say the least. I've yet to find a sales strategy that actually has any noticeable effect...


message 8: by Barbara (new)

Barbara G. Tarn (BarbaraGTarn) | 1180 comments Jaq wrote: "Thanks for the response. It sounds like the best bet is to set a reasonable price and let the readers do word of mouth."

And write the next book! :)


message 9: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (ALB2012) | 993 comments I saw this when I was looking around the SW website, seems an odd concept to me but I didn't realise the other retailers would mark it at $4.95.

Personally I see a set price as better and easier to keep track of. Might be fun to try through.


message 10: by Nicolas (new)

Nicolas Wilson | 9 comments First my novel was free, then it was you-set-the-price, now it's $.99. I'm seeing the steadiest purchases at $.99. My lowest purchasing period was the you-set-the-price. I think users are a bit disoriented by the concept, and it kills the impulse-buy, since they have to think about its "worth". That's just personal experience though, and honestly, all of my sales are pretty low, as a new author, with a pretty controversial book.


message 11: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 790 comments It's been a while since I originally started this thread, but I've only recently tried 'you set the price' and I thought folks here might be interested in the results. I published my new novel Paw-Prints Of The Gods a couple of weeks ago and decided to put both this book and the earlier volume Hollow Moon for sale at 'you set the price' on Smashwords. I promoted this with a few posts on Goodreads and on my website, but that's all.

The results for 29 September to 12 October 2013 are:
Hollow Moon sales: volume = 12; receipts = $1.00 (gross) (RRP $2.99);
Paw-Prints Of The Gods sales: volume = 15; receipts = $NIL (RRP $3.99).

So, most people like a freebie. The one who did pay something, offered less than the recommended retail price. Nevertheless, I'm going to let this run a little longer; the books are full price at premium sellers and Amazon, so it's only Smashwords sales that are affected. They're still counted as cash sales for reporting purposes, whereas setting a zero price doesn't. I'm not sure how that affects a book's sales ranking with Smashwords.


message 12: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (ALB2012) | 993 comments I always wondered about this idea. It seems a bit odd as a lot of people simply aren't going to pay.


message 13: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 790 comments A.L. wrote: "I always wondered about this idea. It seems a bit odd as a lot of people simply aren't going to pay."

True, but that seems increasingly common in today's culture. The ebook market has already been devalued by the flood of freebies. Part of me is wondering whether 'you set the price' is a way of judging how others value indie books.


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