Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Dilemma of going to .99cents

Yesterday I decided to lower the price of my book to .99cents from $2.99. The reason? Sales. 
When I released She Cried Wolf a little over a month of ago, my sales were pretty good. Then May hit, and my sales slowed, even with great five star reviews, not even a drive-by one star. I feel it's a number of reasons, Mother's Day and now graduations are in full swing. I'm not great at promoting myself and admit I struggle with it. I make time everyday to get on the Kindle Boards, answer e-mail, and write blogs and guess blog, around the cyber world. 
So what was going on? 
I really don't know.
I went to a local RWA chapter meeting and listened to a panel of speakers who were very successful indie authors. Two had a past history of tradi publishing. Of the two one was still tradi but was just finishing up her contract, and then she’d be done. The reason, she was making more money off her indies. The third author had met the frustration of tradi rejections, and two years ago went indie, and never looked back. All these women have found great success, making over $200K apiece from sales. And I'll add, all three write romance, one paranormal romance. 
Is that the answer? I'm in the wrong genre? I don't think so, mystery suspense always sells. 
I listened to these three ladies talk about their experiences, and what worked and what didn’t. Actually, a lot of what they said came from pure and simple luck, laced with hard work, framed often with frustration, but in the end they found their success. What they all said no one thing works to sell books. The field is very crowded and growing. It’s difficult to stand out in the crowd. None of these ladies have hit the NYT list, but in combination of their book sales were afforded them new and comfortable lifestyles.Their advice to me, lower my book's price to .99cents. They all have books at that price, but new releases were priced higher.
There has been a couple of indies that have hit the NYT list now, Catherine Bybee’s, “A wife by Wednesday” is to name one. When I contacted Ms. Bybee, asked her about her success, she really couldn’t give me a definite answer as to what sold her book or why. She couldn’t give me that magical answer of waving a wand or jumping on foot and spinning three times, and the book hit the sales. It’s all very fickle as I’ve found out and pure luck. A wife by Wednesday has always been .99cents.
As I tried to figure all this out, I went to the Kindle Boards and read those who were like me with sales, but were unhappy with the results. The one answer I found was, lower the price to .99cents. In almost every case of poor or unsatisfactory sales, the prices were set high. Although, $2.99 isn’t considered high, it’s moderate, but higher than .99cents and definitely higher then free.
I discovered I needed to lower my price or go free. The reason, I’m not a known author. I will reach more readers at the .99cent range than at $2.99. The reason, there are readers who seek out .99cent or free reads more than any other price. As much as I didn’t want to lower my price the writing was on the wall, I need to give it a try. This doesn’t mean I’ll go back up to $2.99 in the future. My price will forever remain .99cents on this particular book. Where a higher price will come in, is for my next book, due out this summer.
Time will tell. This much I can say, almost immediately my sales picked up on amazon.  


  1. Ah, the fickleness of luck! I wish I had a magic wand to figure it out.

  2. So do I..but what can we do but try...

  3. Interesting post. My first book was priced at 99 cents and I sold enough to become a bestseller at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

    When I released my second book on April 8th, that book was priced at 99 cents, but I raised the price of my first book to $2.99. Surprisingly, the first book's sales increased a little from where they'd settled.

    I'm getting ready to increase the price on my second book...but I'm holding off because, while the book is doing well on Barnes and Noble, it hasn't 'hit' on Amazon.

    I think the slump in Amazon sales on the second release is that I've done very little promo. Only Facebook and Twitter. My personal life is frantic right now so finding time for promo is almost non-existent.

    I'm not sure there is any one answer. I'm just following what my gut tells me to do - after all, it led me to self-publish my book and I've discovered there are quite a few people who like/love what I write. It's very cool.