Is Your Author Career Worth That Price?
I know I promised (many months ago) that I would update you on the results of my re-release of Rules of Payne. And I swear that is still happening, but I wanted to combine it with the results of my next release (The Attraction File) that is in September.
I feel there is more to learn from the side by side book release comparison of the two. Both will have different release plans and the later book will have the results of things I learned from the Rules of Payne book release.
But this post does relate to that. It’s about the price point you should have for your book. For the new or newish authors and how pricing is important for building your author business. I have been hearing a lot of talk about how authors should price their books.
Some people advise new/newer authors to price their books at 0.99 cents or even give it away for free. Others advise them to price them how they would expect to be paid for the quality of their book ($2.99. $3.99, or even more).
Here’s my advice on that: Price your book for the marketing strategy you want.
One of the things I learned from the re-release of Rules of Payne was that a 0.99 cents sales point got me much easier exposure (I could sign up for all those promotion/sale newsletter sites like Robin Reads and ENT). More people are willing to take a risk on an author they have never heard of and who isn’t popular/bestselling when the price point is that low.
But, there is always a downside to everything.
Most of my sales did not turn into fans. Most of the people who bought the book because of the price only care about cost. Even if they liked my book, most of them would likely never buy my books for more money. They are like the giveaway seekers. The people who only enter giveaways because they want free stuff. They don’t care about the author doing the giveaway and have no plans to check out the author’s books, they just want to win stuff.
With that low price point, even if you just do it for a pre-order and first week of sales like I did for Rules of Payne, most of those readers will likely not buy another one of your books unless it’s on sale or free.
Again, I have another ‘but’. But, there will be a small percentage that will become fans, even mega fans. Say you sell five thousand books for the first week of release. Let’s do a really low number for the example, let’s say only 8% of the five thousand become fans and will instantly buy your next book when it releases no matter the price. That’s 400 new readers/fans willing to buy your next book.
The next book you price at $2.99 and not 0.99 cents. So you make (since you only make 70% of the 2.99 = 2.093) $837 from just those new fans on release week. That’s not including your other fans or the people who will buy your book because it’s new or they heard about through an ad or a blog or any number of places. You now know that you will make at the very least $837 for release week for your next book.
That’s the thing about book publishing and marketing, there is no one right way to do things.
Now that you know that, all you want to do is a book release or pre-order for 99 cents for all your books, but hold up. What about all those authors who have their book release at full price, or at $2.99 and then raise it to full price a week later? Did they not get the memo that shows to have at least one book for 99 cents or release at 99 cents before raising the price?
They got it. They just chose to take a different marketing route. That’s the thing about book publishing and marketing, there is no one right way to do things. It’s just what you want to achieve at the end that matters. If you want to grow fans in a quick pace, but don’t mind losing out on some revenue or gaining some bad reviews (you are more likely to get bad reviews from free or 99 cent book price points, then from higher price points. It’s psychological and I won’t go into the science behind it but feel free to look it up) then go with the first book in the series or first book you write as a 99 cent price point and raise it a week later. Then have the next book be full price or 2.99 and raise it later to full price.
If want a steady but slow rise in fans with a steady rise in good reviews and slow rise in profit with each release, then price your book at 2.99 or higher for the release. Less people will be willing to take a risk on you but the ones that do are much more likely to become fans and leave great reviews.
Price points are a part of your book marketing strategy, not just about what you are worth.
This is one of the reasons I want to wait to do my post about the re-release of Rules of Payne results. Because I plan on doing this type of release for the next book: The Attraction File. Since Rules of Payne had the 99 cents pre-order/first week price point before I raised it to $3.99, it is in stark contrast to the $2.99 pre-order/release week price point before raising it to $3.99 for The Attraction File. It will be interesting to see what happens.
I have a feeling I will make just as much, if not a little bit more in profit, for the 2.99 pre-order/release week price point from The Attraction File, as I did from the 99 cent Rules of Payne release price point. I won’t get as many sales but the higher price point will make up the difference financially.
How do I know this since I haven’t release The Attraction File yet? Well, I don’t, but I have a good idea because of the second week of sales for Rules of Payne when I raised the price to $3.99. I made just as much from that second week of the release with that higher price point as I did release week. But sales were much, much lower the second week.
There you have it. Do you want a slow, steady rise in fans and sales with releases? Then price your book at $2.99 or higher. Do you want a lot of sales and more eyes on your book, but less profit? Then do the 99 cents price point for your release.
It’s all about what you want in the end. Price points are a part of your book marketing strategy, not just about what you are worth. The sooner you realize that book publishing is a business and everything, even pricing, is a part of the business, the happier you will be. Fill your books with all the creativity you have, make it as artistic as you want, but think of everything else (book cover, editing, advertising, price points, promotion, etc.) as the business of being an author.
That's your cup of joe for today. I probably won't be able to post again until September. I thought I would be able to get more posts written over the summer but with 2 little boys home all day for the summer, it's not possible. I'm still an author and any free time I get goes toward my books. The blog posts are last on my free time list. But, when I post again I promise it will be good!
Check out my other Book Barista posts below:
1. Publishing Wrong
2. Let's Party
3. Organize Like a Motha
5. Traditional or Self
6. The Fans
7. In Depth Marketing
8. Book is Born
9. Author Newsletters
10. Book Marketing Web #1
11. Book Marketing Web #2
As an indie-author I was wondering what I could do to help get my books out there. So, I looked into it and that's when I realized I had a lot to learn. These posts are to help my fellow authors learn how to market and publish their book. I pass on what I found out about making a book a success.