Reviving Dead Books
Tip #3 talked about the pricing of your books. Perhaps my books are priced too high and that’s why they’ve not seen a lot of sales recently. It really made me think about lowering the price on a few of my titles.
Tip #4 talked about conversion ratios. I had never really paid much attention to this before, although I knew about it and should have. You see, on your Smashwords dashboard you can see how many people viewed your book’s page as well as how many downloaded the sample. I took a look at it yesterday and realized that a lot of people were looking at my books, at least a few of the titles, and even downloading the samples. The problem was they were not buying the books. There was no conversion there.
Pricing Your Books
Turns out that many readers feel the most comfortable buying a book for $3.99, which I found odd because most people seem to think $2.99 is a good price, and indeed I’ve had many of my titles listed at that price. It kind of made me think I might be selling myself short on a few of my titles. You can read that blog post here.
The book I’ve sold the most of is The Jongurian Mission, which comes in at 155,000 words and 388 pages on Amazon. It’s quite the read, perhaps too much. The book I’ve sold the least of is Write to the Top, which is my newest book, so that might have something to do with it. It comes in at 25,000 words and 88 pages on Amazon.
Now, the first book is fiction, the second non-fiction. The fiction book has been priced all the way from $0.99 to $2.99. Yesterday I decided to move the price down to $1.99, giving myself a 35% royalty, while at the same time I moved the second two books in the series up to $3.99. They both come in at about the same length as the first one, maybe a bit less. I figure I want to give readers an incentive to buy the first book so they’ll buy the next two, but I also don’t want to move it down to $0.99 again, at least not for now.
For the non-fiction book on writing your website I decided to move the price down to $2.99 from $4.99. The reason I did this is because there are many books out there similar to mine that are selling for $3.99. I decided to go $1 less for two reasons: first, I’d like to get more sales and second I’d like to get a few reviews. We’ll see if the strategy works over the coming months.
Further Price Reductions
I bumped up the price of my historical China novel from $2.99 to $3.99 for two reasons: first, the Mark Coker article convinced me that a book of that length, 91,000 words and 237 pages on Amazon, could be priced at that and do well. Second, I’ve gotten quite a few sales on it anyway, but not on the other two titles. I lowered the other two books in the series from $2.99 to $1.99. The reason I did this is because they are short books, just 44,000 words each or 115 pages on Amazon. Again, I want to give readers an incentive to continue the series.
It might seem like an odd strategy, but I figure people might see the next books in the series as cheaper and they might be more inclined to buy the first one because of this. Well, wait a minute, doesn’t that go against what everyone out there is saying? Most people say price your first book at $0.99 or give it away for free as in inducement for them to start reading you, hopefully like you, and better yet, buy some more books. I guess I’m going against convention here, and we’ll see how it works out over the coming months.
I lowered the price to $6.99 a month or so ago, but still nothing. So yesterday I bumped it down to $4.99. I think that’s fair; it’s 32,000 words and 195 pages on Amazon. We’ll see if it works or not, although since I’ll have the second volume coming out next month I might have to make some changes to it for marketing purposes.
The other book that has gotten few sales is Write Now, my book on writing. I had originally priced it at $2.99, but I can no longer justify selling a book that’s just 13,000 words and 59 pages on Amazon for that much. I lowered it to $0.99, the same price as my Tarot book, which is surprisingly one of my bestsellers. Go figure.
The last change I made was to English Rocks, my book for ESL teachers with 101 games, activities, and lesson plans. Now, this was a tough choice on lowering the price from $9.99 to $4.99. The book is 38,000 words and 208 pages on Amazon. Also, many ESL teachers will be heading overseas in the next two months, and they’ll be looking for anything they can find to help them. Still, I think a lot of people would be interested in the book, just not the price. How many sales am I losing to lesser books that are priced cheaper? I cut the price in half and am eagerly awaiting the results.
Self-publishing isn’t the easiest thing in the world but it certainly isn’t the most difficult either. There’s a lot of cause and effect that goes into it, and a lot of experimenting that needs to take place before you find what works for you. The above example, or experiment, is what I’m trying. It might not work for everybody, and it might not even work for me, but you can’t just sit there and do nothing and expect your books to sell.
I’d love to hear what other peoples’ experiences with price changes have been. Feel free to leave a comment.