Well, it’s been three weeks since the new cover for Blue Gentian launched. It’s been a wild success. I’m selling out my Amazon ads almost every day, and I think I’ll keep it. Trial and error begat success this time (law of averages? Who knows, but there was bound to be a success eventually).
Whenever my ads sell out, Amazon sends me an email notification and suggests that I up my daily budget. Right now, I’m telling it no more than $2 a day. I have not increased this. Why not, you ask? Because sales still don’t warrant it. I’m still in that tenuous territory where I’m ALMOST breaking even, but not quite. Which means there’s still more work to do.
What am I tweaking next, you ask? I’m glad you did.
During the $0.99 sale I ran, I sold a grand total of 17 books. That’s A LOT for me, you guys. I’m extremely lucky if I sell 17 books in a month, and I was able to do it in 7 days during the sale. Which suggests to me that I might be able to sell more books if I dropped the price a little.
I want to discuss price, because it’s a complicated issue and I don’t think I’ve explained how I got to my amount for Blue Gentian. But in case you just want the nitty-gritty and don’t want the whys and wherefores, Blue Gentian will be on sale for $3.99 as a permanent price, down from $4.99, in a few days. We’ll see if that tweak works in favor of more sales. I’ll report back.
Now some thoughts about pricing in general:
I considered price carefully when launching Blue Gentian. I’m a relatively unknown author, and therefore my works will probably not sell at the same price as an established author. I have to be real about it. That being said, price also implies quality. If you’re attempting to give your book away at $0.99 when it’s not sale time, it leaves me wondering if it’s cheap for a reason. Sometimes the reason is because it’s the first of a series. I think that’s fine. But if I don’t know the author and can’t figure out why their book is cheap, I assume it’s because it’s bad. This has also borne out from my experience. I’ve downloaded some truly terrible books, guys. Almost all of them were insanely cheap and by self-published authors.
I’m not denigrating self-publishing. First of all, I’m a self-published author and take great pride in my work and my business. Second of all, I have read some AMAZING books by self-published authors. The difference between the good and the bad? I have found that good authors expect me to pay a decent, fair market value for their work. I’m happy to do so. But price then becomes correlated with quality. I’m sure I’m not alone in this perception.
This means that how I price Blue Gentian will tell people how good it is. Also, I know from some research that it’s MUCH easier to price a book down if you make a mistake than to price a book low at first and raise it. Better to overestimate yourself than to underestimate. So I decided I would go in at semi-established author rates and cut as needed.
I did a lot of research on well regarded books by self-published fantasy authors and their manuscripts of about the same length (62,000 words in case you were interested). Most were priced at $4.99. That’s how I got the starting price of Blue Gentian. And now that I have some data, I’m going to cut to $3.99 and see how we do.
I might cut again to $2.99 if I see no better outcomes in the next couple of months, but I don’t see going lower than that. Most other people don’t, even bad authors, since they’re trying to take advantage of the 70% royalty KDP offers on books priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Blue Gentian is supposed to eventually be part of a series, so it will also eventually go to $0.99 for good when the next books are published (a LONG way off). Still, that means I’m not feeling terribly precious about the price of it. Whatever gets me the sales, man.
And that’s all I’ve got right now. Thanks for listening to me about a complicated subject…