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Book Chat > What price should uknown indie author's charge?

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message 1: by Tommy (new)

Tommy Jason Charles (tommyjcharles) | 6 comments This is a point of contention amongst my author friends.

Should an unknown be humble, and price very low, or, if they are confident they have a winner, can they price high?

Does the .99 price turn you off, conveying low quality? Do you buy at .99 from an unknown?

Should they aim for $2.99?


message 2: by John (last edited Jun 01, 2012 10:30AM) (new)

John Baker (bakerjw) | 39 comments IMHO, you get what you pay for and sometimes you get bilked for what you pay. I've gotten free books that aren't worth the cost (even for free) and I've paid good money for books that should have been free.

Chances are that if I see a $.99 offering, I will pass it up because it is surely a self published author and I don't have time to wade through mediocrity. If I spend time reading, then I want to read good material.

Firstly, an aspiring author should get people that they do not know to critique their work with the express intent of getting critical feedback. If the critique isn't too bad then charge a higher price. Family and friends will never give an author the critique that they need to make their work better.

Secondly, take the feedback and apply it. Poor grammar, misspellings and misused words are killers. They must be cleared up. Bad plots aren't fatal but need to be addressed.

Thirdly, if everything is fairly tight then charge a decent price. Not $13.99 like would be expected for the next George R. R. Martin Game of Thrones work, but a minimum of $3.99. Ask the people who read through it and gave feedback to give an online review for the privilege of reading it first.

In the author notes, make it know that it is a polished work and that the reviewers aren't friends or family.

Self publishing is here to stay. I personally go straight for works from one of the big publishers first, but there are diamonds out there and word of mouth gets them read. "Wool" is a great example.


message 3: by Tommy (new)

Tommy Jason Charles (tommyjcharles) | 6 comments Very insightful, thanks.


message 4: by Barry (new)

Barry Kirwan | 13 comments I spoke with someone from Kindle Nation Daily, who said $2.99 was a buyer's threshold, I.e. good to be there or below if you want sales volume. This is for ebooks.

I did a 3day free sale of my second book and it shifted 1440 copies and triggered 100 sales of my first book as well. Worth considering to get your book out there :-) has to be done in combination with blogs, tweets, etc.


message 5: by Tommy (new)

Tommy Jason Charles (tommyjcharles) | 6 comments Thanks, Barry. I currently have mine at .99, since I'm an unknown, and sales died. I think the .99 point just screams junk, but idk how buyers really feel about it. My partner and editor thinks we should stay there till we have a reputation, and I'm inclined to agree, only I can't dodge the feeling that .99 isn't going to do us any favors.

I tried Select and found it to be a bit of a waste of time. In my experience, the people who download the book never leave reviews, and I seriously wonder if these people are just freebie junkies who download books every day and read maybe 2% of what they download.

In the end, I just felt as though I gave away a lot of free product for nothing in return. The exclusivity is great for Amazon, not so much for me :P.


message 6: by Barry (new)

Barry Kirwan | 13 comments Up, getting reviews is never easy. Good luck. My advice is to write and publish another book :-) in my experience writers are happiest when writing!


message 7: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 751 comments I'm a freebie junkie. I've downloaded maybe 1400 free books in the last year and bought only two (at $2.99 each).

However, both of the $2.99 purchases were in series where I had previously gotten a free book. And I've read all of the books in both series more than once. I am anxiously awaiting to pay for the next book in each of the series. As well as one other series where I loved the freebie first book of the series.

One of the authors had offered me the next book free because of discussions we'd had on his first two books. But I told him $2.99 is fine by me for a book I KNOW I'll enjoy.

All six of those books have reviews by me, both here and on Amazon. And have been recommended by me on other forums.

OTOH, I've liked a number of freebies where I'm not willing to pay $2.99 for additional books by the same author, since I have so many other books waiting to be read.

Most of the freebies that had been $0.99 are books I would have been angry about paying $0.99 for, mostly because they were such short stories not worth that price.

About 20% of the freebies I've downloaded are for my mom, who "confiscated" my first Kindle when library lending started up. But I keep her loaded up and tell her to just delete the ones she doesn't like. And she's keeping a list of authors that she really likes. But who knows when she'll run out of freebies from Amazon and the library?


message 8: by Barry (new)

Barry Kirwan | 13 comments Randy, do you want to read mine and review it? You can have the first one free, then see if you want to buy the second one :-)) have a look at the website, see if it's your type of scifi www.barrykirwan.com

More generally, of the 1400 who downloaded mine for free, around 100 bought book 1 straighta away, and sales were up for about a month on both books. So, being pessimistic, I'd say 10% as a minimum of 'freebeers' read it straight off, for the rest, no idea...'


message 9: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 751 comments To tell the truth, neither description really triggered a "must read" reaction from me. I probably would not have downloaded either if they showed up on one of my freebie lists.

But I'm nearly done with my current book, so I downloaded the sample of the first book and will see how it goes. I could use a short break from zombie apocalypses. :)


message 10: by Barry (new)

Barry Kirwan | 13 comments Ok, let me know, god luck finishing the zombies :-)


message 11: by Steph (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 84 comments On the price question, I did a bit of research before I put my own novel up for sale; I looked at the top hundred on the Kindle store in my category (science-fiction) and took an average. As per earlier posts, it came out just short of $2.99, so that's what I went for. I have an earlier short story that I've made free of charge wherever possible.

I agree that as a reader I tend to shy away from $0.99 offerings.


message 12: by Barry (new)

Barry Kirwan | 13 comments Thanks Steph, Imalso sell more of my books in UK, where a price of $3.82 translates into about £2.80. I sell about four times as many books inn UK than in US, even though the US market is much larger. So maybe it is the magic number 3.... :-)


message 13: by Tommy (new)

Tommy Jason Charles (tommyjcharles) | 6 comments Thanks for the info, guys.

Like dummies, we rushed in and didn't do any kind of pre-launch on our first release. Consequently, we don't have many sales. I know for sure though, that we were selling better when it was $2.99.


message 14: by Barry (new)

Barry Kirwan | 13 comments We live and learn :-)


message 15: by Shuvom (new)

Shuvom Ghose (shuvom_ghose) | 20 comments The guys at Smashwords did a LOT of research about what price and length were selling best in their thousands of titles, and the results are in sideshow format here: http://www.slideshare.net/Smashwords/...

The results: free moves the most, $0.99 and $1.99 suck, $2.99 is a sweet spot. The slides on what length readers like were pretty illuminating.

Based on that, I put my military sci-fi ebook at $2.99, and it's moving pretty well. But based on the 5 star Amazon reviews, I wish I had priced it higher!

Just my thoughts,
Shuvom
my book: Infinity Squad by Shuvom Ghose


message 16: by Paul (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) | 41 comments Steph wrote: "On the price question, I did a bit of research before I put my own novel up for sale; I looked at the top hundred on the Kindle store in my category (science-fiction) and took an average. As per ea..."

My e-books used to sell about 4x as many in the US as here in the UK (via Amazon for both) but a few months ago it swapped over and now I routinely sell 2-3x as many UK copies as US. I still have no idea why the switch. I increased the price of the 1st book from 99c to $2.99 about a month before the switch but dropping the price back to 99c just killed sales.

What I've also been finding is that about 2/3rds of those who buy the 1st book in my series seem to go on to buy the next. Then almost everyone who reads the 2nd seem to read the 3rd. Theoretically if I could increase sales of my 1st book about 100 fold, I'd be sorted!


message 17: by Jeff (last edited Oct 25, 2012 04:55AM) (new)

Jeff Jake Tommy wrote: "Thanks, Barry. I currently have mine at .99, since I'm an unknown, and sales died. I think the .99 point just screams junk, but idk how buyers really feel about it. My partner and editor thinks we ..."

I have a different take on .99... I will often take a chance on a book like that if it looks interesting. However, I don't mind "looking" for the diamond in the rough so to speak. I think you'll find that it's a personality driven decision. Some people don't mind the "risk" others prefer to stay on the "safer" side.

I don't think .99 screams "junk"... To me it screams.. "please give me a try... whats to loose"


message 18: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Jake Tommy wrote: "Thanks for the info, guys.

Like dummies, we rushed in and didn't do any kind of pre-launch on our first release. Consequently, we don't have many sales. I know for sure though, that we were selli..."


I just released my first book to Kindle. I would like to know more about how to "pre-launch" a book? I'm not sure how to promote myself and generate some interest.

Here is a link to my book: http://www.amazon.com/Assassins-Retri...


message 19: by Milton (new)

Milton (thegriot) | 4 comments No free books for me. I sell my novels for 2.99 - 3.99. I sell short stories for 0.99. I seek a balance between volume and profit. I currently have 14 titles on Amazon and I average 50 sales a month. I don't do anything free. I work too hard to give my stories away. To make money with e-books you have to have quality, quantity and profit. Curb the desire to 'just want to be read' and handle this like the business it is.


message 20: by Shuvom (new)

Shuvom Ghose (shuvom_ghose) | 20 comments Jeff wrote: "I just released my first book to Kindle. I would like to know more about how to "pre-launch" a book? I'm not sure how to promote myself and generate some interest."


Jeff- contact Libboo. They are a company that exists to match indie authors with readers who would love to generate interest for that type of book. They give readers ("buzzers") advance copies of the book or other insider incentives to put the word out on blogs, their Facebook, or any other way they can reach people. Libboo published my book, connected my stuff to people I would never have known, and they are always looking for more authors!

Shuvom


message 21: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Jake Shuvom wrote: "Jeff wrote: "I just released my first book to Kindle. I would like to know more about how to "pre-launch" a book? I'm not sure how to promote myself and generate some interest."


Jeff- contact Lib..."


Shuvom-Thank you for the input. I will check them out.


message 22: by Steph (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 84 comments Jeff wrote: "...I don't think .99 screams "junk"... To me it screams.. "please give me a try... what's to lose..."

I hope that's the case! I'm currently experimenting with a $0.99 limited-time offer for my sci-fi novel Hollow Moon (see www.wyrdstar.co.uk/news.html).


message 23: by Shuvom (new)

Shuvom Ghose (shuvom_ghose) | 20 comments Steph,

I don't know if your book is fantasy or sci-fi, but check out this analysis before you make any final decisions:

http://kevinomclaughlin.com/2012/02/2...

It turns out fantasy writers can charge more than they think!


message 24: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Jake Steph wrote: "Jeff wrote: "...I don't think .99 screams "junk"... To me it screams.. "please give me a try... what's to lose..."

I hope that's the case! I'm currently experimenting with a $0.99 limited-time off..."


Good luck Steph! I hope your do well. I'm offering my first book FREE today through amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Assassins-Retri...


message 25: by J.C. (new)

J.C. Harker (jcharker) | 2 comments It's interesting to see such varied replies. I'm always a bit worried about the $0.99 junk tag - but don't feel I could charge more for a short story.

Though once I publish a novel that would not go for less than $2.99 unless it would be a short promo offer.


message 26: by Steph (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 84 comments In a way I'm regretting the 'short promo offer' I tried - the delays in getting some sellers to update prices afterwards and Amazon's price-matching have extended the offer far beyond what I intended! The impact on sales was also barely noticeable.


message 27: by J.C. (new)

J.C. Harker (jcharker) | 2 comments Steph, that's a common problem when doing the price match on Amazon. They are notoriously slow to match, and un-matching can take a long time, so it's the best way to put your book on perma-free, but not really for a short promo :)


message 28: by Paul (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) | 41 comments I recently dropped the price of one of my books from $2.99 to 99c. I posted and announced all over the place about the new price but my sales have continued unchanged. I'll probably keep the price low for another month, just to make sure, but it looks like anything below about $4 makes little impact on sales.

My best success so far has been with freebie giveaways, but that only works if you have more than one book out, and works best when giving away the first book of a series.


message 29: by Shuvom (new)

Shuvom Ghose (shuvom_ghose) | 20 comments I'm totally with Paul- if someone is intrigued at $.99, they're intrigued at $2.99. The blurb, cover and buzz have to hook folks, not the price.

Like I said, I bought "John Dies at the End" at $16 paperback without flinching, just because I was hooked by the back cover and prologue and couldn't imagine leaving the store without it.

I've seen so many bland blurbs and copycat covers that that's where I'm going to focus my promo efforts. I was happy that, in a list of new book releases in my specific sub-genre, my cover stands out like a bad thumb: http://militaryscifi.com/archives/568


message 30: by Paul (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) | 41 comments Definitely an eye-catching cover there and your blurb seems highly effective to me.

I like my covers, but my blurb seriously needs a revamp.


message 31: by Kevis (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 120 comments When I published my first book a few years ago, I launched my first two titles at $9.99. Had no problem selling them until the 99 cents craze kicked in. Recently, I've upped my prices back to their former range, so it should be interesting if I can regain any traction. But I agree price is only part of the picture. If people aren't interested at a lower price, they probably won't care at a higher price either.


message 32: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Jake Paul wrote: "Definitely an eye-catching cover there and your blurb seems highly effective to me.

I like my covers, but my blurb seriously needs a revamp."


I hate to say it, but I pick up a book based on it's cover first. In most cases.

Then I read the blurb.

Then I decide if the price is OK for what I'm seeing.

Man... why can't it just be write a cool story.. put it out there.. and sell the silly thing. LOL.

I was lucky enough to have a friend do a custom piece of work for the cover of my first book. Not sure it would be considered "eye catching" but I liked it. As for my blurb, I think that was harder than writing the book.


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