World, Writing, Wealth discussion

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message 1: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments This may have been discussed previously (I can't find it though) but I'm wondering about ebook pricing. As we all know Amazon has 2 tiers of royalties at 35% and 70% but to be in the top tier you must price your book above $2.99

My question is has anyone found it worthwhile to be in the lower royalty tier? Would a lower price drive more sales and make it worth it? Or do you think a low price denotes low quality in the eyes of readers?

Confused on which path to take here?


message 2: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 12897 comments I think Alex brought in the past some articles concerning pricing and deliberations thereabout + stats regarding each of popular prices..

Sure, what you mention, i.e. low price= low quality, may play for some readers, while for others - lower price will mean lower 'risk' and they'd be more willing to give it a try. There are pros and cons and it's not the same for each reader. If a person really wants the book, 1 or 2$ more or less, probably won't be crucial, but when choosing among unknown titles, it may be significant.
The ease of changing though, invites experimenting and seeing whether any particular price brings more sales or income.


message 3: by Kent (new)

Kent Babin | 176 comments I've found more success with promotions when my book is priced at $0.99.

I can't remember where, but I remember reading that Brits don't buy ebooks for more than 99 pence, so there's that.

I'd say if you're in KDP Select, $2.99 is fine because a lot of readers out there will be able to borrow your book for free. You can also schedule your external promotions at times when you make your book free or a reduced price.


message 4: by Alex (last edited Feb 03, 2017 01:01PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Nik wrote: "I think Alex brought in the past some articles concerning pricing and deliberations thereabout + stats regarding each of popular prices..

Sure, what you mention, i.e. low price= low quality, may p..."


(please don't take this opinion as the end-all be-all on pricing. it's your business.)

check out authorearnings.com and the top 100 in your genre. here's the latest for the last quarter in 2016:

when the raw data becomes available, I'd run it in an excel spreadsheet for your (sub)genre. and if you're getting a higher ROI in a price range like $2.99, $3.99 or $4.99 and the top 100 are listed in that price range, then I'd go with those price points and run periodic discounts. of course, it also depends on a number of other various factors like is it a singleton or the first in a series? has its sales been languishing? is it a new release? and so forth.

interestingly, here's some data on thrillers:
Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Legal
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Legal

About 7,400,000 total ebook units of Legal Thrillers (by the above definition) were sold in the US in 2016.

The breakdown of those sales by publisher type was:

43% Indie Self-Published (avg. sale $3.34)
3% Small/Medium Publisher (avg. sale $2.92)
29% Amazon Imprint Published (avg. sale $4.61)
24% Big Five Published (avg. sale $8.76)
1% Uncategorized Single-Author Publisher (avg. sale $3.31)

Striking how non-Big Five traditional publishers have such a negligible sales footprint in legal thrillers, isn’t it?

(http://authorearnings.com/report/dbw2...)



message 5: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments Great stuff Alex :) Thanks!


message 6: by Alex (last edited Feb 03, 2017 01:24PM) (new)

Alex (asato) here's what a (sub)genre analysis can do for pricing. It can answer the question, "What price points in (sub)genre earn the most money?" It can also break it down by authors who debuted within the past 10 or 5 years--i think they might even be able to do it by 1 year. (the following slides are for the Romance genre (http://authorearnings.com/2016-rwa-pa...))







Non-KU titles = $2.99 - $4.99
KU titles = $2.99 - $3.99 and $0.99



message 7: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments Did you create these charts or are they all ready on the site?


message 8: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Eldon wrote: "Did you create these charts or are they all ready on the site?"

they're on the site. but you should be able to do something similar in excel. (i was going to do it over the winter break and last month for horror but other things got in the way. ^_^ ) maybe you can be the trailblazer. ^_-


message 9: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments I do love Excel :)


message 10: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) so, here's an example of what i was talking about when i said that there are various other reasons that help you determine pricing. in the following chart, the $0.99 price point has a lot more units sold (but it could also be that there's a lot more titles at $0.99, so they just get bought more). so if you're releasing your first book, you might consider pricing it at $0.99 in order to get more downloads and more reviews.




message 11: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments It's odd that 1.99 dips and more are sold at 2.99


message 12: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Eldon wrote: "It's odd that 1.99 dips and more are sold at 2.99"

yes, it is odd. my speculation is that for "sales", $0.99 is the next best well-known price after free and then to get the 70% royalty rate, the minimum is $2.99; therefore, $1.99 is skipped over.


message 13: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2091 comments The ninety-nine cent price point makes it cheaper when you set up alternate accounts and buy your own book to drive up the sales ranking...


message 14: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments J.J. wrote: "The ninety-nine cent price point makes it cheaper when you set up alternate accounts and buy your own book to drive up the sales ranking..."

Why would you do that? It would completely distort your numbers.


message 15: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2091 comments We had a post a bit back about certain top tier authors creating sock puppet accounts, and there was a very recent post about the guy creating a fake book and buying two copies himself to get it to the top of the charts in some niche subcategory. Distorting the numbers is what it's all about, driving your book up the charts artificially to get legitimate buyers to jump on a bandwagon.

If you think about it for a second, if you got it to work, it could be cheaper than any ad campaign you might pay for. Set your book at $.99 and buy a number of copies to drive up the sales ranking. Then keep in mind you get back 35% of that through the royalties. It might be too much work setting up that many different accounts, and I'm sure you'd have to do it on different computers or Amazon might boot you, but it does happen.


message 16: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments J.J. wrote: "We had a post a bit back about certain top tier authors creating sock puppet accounts, and there was a very recent post about the guy creating a fake book and buying two copies himself to get it to..."

I suppose you're right about it happening but I don't think I could do it.


message 17: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2091 comments I was thinking the same thing before I remembered that when I used to be enrolled in Select, I would "purchase" a copy of my book with my own account when I ran the free promos...I suppose at least I never left a review of my own book...


message 18: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments J.J. wrote: "I was thinking the same thing before I remembered that when I used to be enrolled in Select, I would "purchase" a copy of my book with my own account when I ran the free promos...I suppose at least..."

Yeah that would be weird lol


message 19: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments Seems like you could accomplish the same result in a legit way by buying gift copies from your account then gifting them out. I don't know how much visibility a book is truly going to get with only a handful of sales though, especially in some off-the-wall category.

I've heard that Amazon has changed things so the ranks and algorithm can't be manipulated from sales in a short period of time anymore (not sure what year the foot book was made lol).

I was sure that with my recent 99 cent countdown (when I was selling hundreds of books per day) I wouldn't have to worry about rank again for a long time. But honestly the ranks and sales took a dive as soon as the countdown ended. In the past, ranks have stayed consistently decent for me when I sold less books for more money (2.99 vs. .99) over a longer period of time.

I was scratching my head over the rank situation since that countdown, but maybe since Amazon makes less money on the 70% royalty countdown days, an author might get a better rank result by manually lowering their book to 99 cents (less royalties for author, more for Amazon). ???????? Just a guess from me since I am still experimenting. I know some authors who have stellar ranks and sales at the non-countdown 99 cent price point. I thought I could make the same thing happen with a successful countdown but it doesn't look like it.


message 20: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments Marie wrote: "Seems like you could accomplish the same result in a legit way by buying gift copies from your account then gifting them out. I don't know how much visibility a book is truly going to get with only..."

I don't know anyone who can make sense of those Amazon rankings lol

Gifting is a great idea Marie but it only works in the US...can't gift on the Canadian site :(


message 21: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 12897 comments I wouldn't be surprised if people used click-farms for a few K synchronized purchases, which would boost a book very high even on major categories and Amazon in general


message 22: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments Nik wrote: "I wouldn't be surprised if people used click-farms for a few K synchronized purchases, which would boost a book very high even on major categories and Amazon in general"

Okay...I must be naive. What is a click-farm??


message 23: by Nik (last edited Feb 05, 2017 10:00AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 12897 comments I'm not sure I use the right term, but I think it's some low-paid individuals hired en masse to promote sites on Google for example.. If you are anywhere lower than the first page on Google search results under important to you SEOs, you don't exist..
It's not that I know any specific example to that extent, but when I see promoters offering over a 1K guaranteed sales from verified accounts, if you price your book at 1$ and pay them 2K fee, I kinda imagine how it might work....


message 24: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments Would that be like Tomoson.com? I came across that site as recommended by Indies Unlimited. They apparently (somehow) promote your brand to the point that reviewers come to you!! Haven't figured out the nuts and bolts of that one myself...


message 25: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 12897 comments Don't remember -:( I think someone mentioned them on one of the threads...


message 26: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments Click farms are used artificially inflate followers, likes, retweets, ad clicks, and so on. So if someone wants to brag that they have x amount of followers without actually getting them naturally, they can pay a click farm, a "business" that uses bots or people to react with online accounts, to make it appear as if the thing being clicked is more popular than it is.

Apparently there was a click farm swiping pages on Kindle Unlimited so now Amazon is suspect of sudden spikes in page reads (usually all coming from an impoverished country) and will flag an author account for fraud over it.


message 27: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments Marie wrote: "Click farms are used artificially inflate followers, likes, retweets, ad clicks, and so on. So if someone wants to brag that they have x amount of followers without actually getting them naturally,..."

Informative as always Marie :D


message 28: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments So after considering all points from this informative discussion I've decided to drop the prices on all my books to $0.99 to see how it goes. Will be interesting to see the effect it might have on sales if nothing else.


message 29: by Alex (last edited Feb 08, 2017 01:32PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Let us know how what the results are. Are you going for more sales, reviews, or both? Are you in KDP Select also?

(here's my cross-post from yesterday)
"definitely if you're in romance, then your earnings are much greater if you're in KDP Select; however, it is possible for other genres that that the advantage of KDP Select isn't as stark. (i don't know as I haven't looked at the raw authorearnings.com data for the genres.) "


(http://authorearnings.com/2016-rwa-pa...)



message 30: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments Alex do you know if this is royalties or gross?


message 31: by Alex (last edited Feb 08, 2017 02:12PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Marie wrote: "Alex do you know if this is royalties or gross?"

From the following post, I'd garner that "earnings" means royalties; just in case there are some who aren't familiar with these terms, "Gross consumer sales" would be equivalent to the total sales revenue (that is, author royalty + Amazon cut).

http://authorearnings.com/2016-rwa-pa...


message 32: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments Marie wrote: "I was sure that with my recent 99 cent countdown (when I was selling hundreds of books per day) I wouldn't have to worry about rank again for a long time. But honestly the ranks and sales took a dive as soon as the countdown ended. In the past, ranks have stayed consistently decent for me when I sold less books for more money (2.99 vs. .99) over a longer period of time."


I think this is the case. My ebook has always been at $2.99.

On days when I can sell 7-10 copies, I come close to breaking the Top 20 in my most relevant subcategory - Historical Italian Fiction - but never break into it. But on days that I sell my average 2-3 I get close to the same number (30). And then I hover in between 40-180. I never really go above 180 and never get into the Top 20. Then there are days I will start at 140 and by night Im at 120 without selling a single book. I dont know why it drops though.

Amazon sales ranking makes little sense.


message 33: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments Eldon wrote: "So after considering all points from this informative discussion I've decided to drop the prices on all my books to $0.99 to see how it goes. Will be interesting to see the effect it might have on ..."

Good luck, Eldon :)


message 34: by Marie Silk (last edited Feb 08, 2017 04:44PM) (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments The rank change when there is no change in sales has to do with all the other (competing) books.

So if one book sold a bunch while it was on sale, then goes back to regular price and doesn't sell as much, its rank gets worse, making room for other books to rise above it. A new release in your subcategory can make your rank suddenly crash even if your sales are increasing. It depends on how our books are performing in relation to the others.


message 35: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 683 comments Marie wrote: "Eldon wrote: "So after considering all points from this informative discussion I've decided to drop the prices on all my books to $0.99 to see how it goes. Will be interesting to see the effect it ..."

Thanks Marie! We'll see how it goes...


message 36: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments Kent wrote: I can't remember where, but I remember reading that Brits don't buy ebooks for more than 99 pence, so there's that.
"


Lol I know I've read that too! I think it was somewhere on goodreads in one of the UK groups :D

Alex G wrote: From the following post, I'd garner that "earnings" means royalties; just in case there are some who aren't familiar with these terms..."

Okay, thank you. So if I'm reading this correctly, KU authors are making significantly more per title, even though they have less published books than authors in the other categories ???

I've been following an indie author who wrote a horror book and another who wrote historical fantasy and these books did phenomenal in KU AND with the 99 cent price point. However these particular authors followed strategic launch campaigns and promoted the heck out of their books from what I can tell. So is it really the genre that is determining whether KU enrollment is successful? I'm a KU subscriber myself and what I read is almost exclusively non-fiction :D


message 37: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Marie wrote: "Okay, thank you. So if I'm reading this correctly, KU authors are making significantly more per title, even though they have less published books than authors in the other categories ???"

no, this is only within the romance genre. sorry, you have to read the small, blurry black print below the title. this was presented at the RWA conference back in 2016. See the link for all of the slides.


message 38: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments Sorry I should not have said categories, I meant that the KU authors on this chart are making more per title even though their number of published books (I assume that's what the number in parentheses underneath means) is less than the author in the results to the left and right.


message 39: by Alex (last edited Feb 08, 2017 06:45PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Marie wrote: "Sorry I should not have said categories, I meant that the KU authors on this chart are making more per title even though their number of published books (I assume that's what the number in parenthe..."

ah, got it. yes, that is correct. you made me go back and double-check the other slides. ^_- more precisely, it is the average number of titles for authors in that category (no-KU, KU-only, mixed).

Marie wrote: "So is it really the genre that is determining whether KU enrollment is successful?"

IDK. we'd have to run the data for the other genres and do a comparison. you make a point with your example, which implies that marketing is quite important and will push up discoverability and hence sales. so i could be that the no-KU authors don't do a lot of marketing. however, the difference b/w the mixed and KU-only is not as big as b/w no-KU and KU-only. therefore, i'd suspect that KU significantly increases discoverability--at least in romance.


message 40: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) oh another force at work here is that KU subscribers are typically quite voracious readers and romance readers are the voracious of the voracious. so, KU is very attractive to romance readers since it's like drinking from a fire hose. i wonder if those voracious readers typically leave reviews?


message 41: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments Marie wrote: "The rank change when there is no change in sales has to do with all the other (competing) books.

So if one book sold a bunch while it was on sale, then goes back to regular price and doesn't sell..."


Interesting. Thanks for the info.


message 42: by Joanna (new)

Joanna Elm | 145 comments Is asking an indie author for the total sales of his/her book as taboo as asking someone what his/her salary or net worth is? And, if not, could some of the authors on this thread please give me an idea of what their net sales (regardless of price or amazon ranking) have been and over how many months since publication. Also do those numbers fall above or below expectations? At the very least, could you say what you think is "phenomenal" in sales?
I'm not really understanding the "obsession" if that's the right word over rankings in very narrow/niche categories. It seems as Michael says Amazon sales rankings make little sense.


message 43: by Alex (last edited Feb 09, 2017 01:25PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Joanna wrote: "Is asking an indie author for the total sales of his/her book as taboo as asking someone what his/her salary or net worth is? And, if not, could some of the authors on this thread please give me an..."

The overall--not (sub)genre--Amazon sales rank of a book is directly proportional to the gross income of that book. Furthermore, making it higher up in a (sub)genre heightens dicoverability as they book will show up closer to the front pages in that (sub)genre. Hence, the obsession. ^_^


message 44: by Marie Silk (last edited Feb 12, 2017 04:37PM) (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments Joanna wrote: "Is asking an indie author for the total sales of his/her book as taboo as asking someone what his/her salary or net worth is? And, if not, could some of the authors on this thread please give me an idea of what their net sales (regardless of price or amazon ranking) have been and over how many months since publication. Also do those numbers fall above or below expectations? At the very least, could you say what you think is "phenomenal" in sales?
I'm not really understanding the "obsession" if that's the right word over rankings in very narrow/niche categories. It seems as Michael says Amazon sales rankings make little sense. ."

.
The indie author whose sales I called phenomenal received 1500+ unit sales on one book within the first month of release (99 cent price point). Based on my understanding, this number is leaps and bounds above the average for first-month indie author sales. The most unit sales I've had in a month is 1000 and that was total over 6 books. Most of those sales happened when the books were discounted to 99 cents for a countdown deal. There were an additional 900 books read over Kindle Unlimited that same month.

re: ranks

In a nutshell, good ranks provide "free advertising" (visibility) on Amazon...leading to more sales, leading to better ranks, leading to more sales and so on.

On each product page on Amazon, there are sections that say "also bought" "also viewed", "inspired by your browsing history", "frequently bought together" etc. When you search a genre on Amazon, certain books will show up. When you search Kindle Unlimited, certain books will show up. The better a book's ranks are, the more frequently it will show in these areas to more customers who are more likely to buy it.


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