Chuck Wendig wrote a post some time back on Terrible Minds in which he argued (as far as I can recall because I can’t find the original post!) that it was fine to charge 99c for your e-book as long as you didn’t charge 99c for all your e-books. He said that when you have a number of titles available you should have the e-book equivalent of a gateway drug – something that gets readers to try you out in the hope that they will succumb to your literary charms and buy everything else you have available for a higher price. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that rather than having everything priced the same, the best way forward is to have tiered price points.
The longer I’m in this game the more convinced I become that the biggest driving force behind my e-book sales are Amazon’s algorithims: people discover my book because Amazon happens to churn it up out of the masses through features like “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…” and personalized recommendations. But this only happens if you sell enough books – and so, create enough connections – to get noticed by the all-powerful computer code. A 99c or similarly rock bottom-priced novel seems to be the best way to achieve this, volume wise. But would a reader who knew nothing else about me really jump from a 99c novel they bought for entertainment to a $2.99 memoir about topics they potentially have no interest in? Probably not. So in between the 99c novel and the $2.99 travel memoir, I create a stepping stone, a $1.99 travel memoir to ease you in.
Something’s Getting More Expensive
I’m also raising the price of Self-Printed to $4.99. Yes, raising. When I first released it I, of course, wanted people to buy it, so I set it at $2.99. But based on the feedback, reviews, etc., the amount of information that’s in it and its usefulness in potentially earning other people money, I think it can take a higher price than that.
Now before you all start screaming about how this is hypocrisy considering how many times I’ve said that the price of a book does not determine its value, I think this is different. First of all, this isn’t about I think it’s worth more than that. Well, it’s not just about that. This is about I think I can raise the price and still sell it, and hey, it takes a lot of coffee to keep me going. This is how I make my living, and I need to make it wherever I can.
There’s also the issue of perception. If I want a book to tell me how to write a novel and the #1 bestseller is a 99c e-book and the #2 is a $9.99 e-book, which am I going to think is the better book? Aren’t I going to think that the 99c is just #1 because it’s 99c and that if the #2 book can be #2 at ten times the price, it must be pretty damn good? When what you’re selling is advice and information, I think a higher price helps rather than hinders.
So here is my new e-book price list, as demonstrated in this snazzy graphic I prepared earlier:
I’ve also done this in PDF. If you are buying anyone a Kindle for Christmas, kindly print it out and stuff it in the box. Or if you know anyone who’s getting one, print it out and tape it to their fridge. Or if you work in a place that sells Kindles, print it out, make photocopies and slip them into your customers’ bags.
I’m kidding, of course.
(Or am I…?)
Some Other Stuff
It may seem stoopid of me to tell you that some of my books are going to be decreasing in price soon, but I’m assuming those of you who’ve been around these parts for a while and would ever have wanted to read my books already have. The real reason I’m telling you is that Self-Printed is still $2.99 – if you want it, go get it now before it goes up to $4.99 next week. Aren’t I nice? The other books have already had their prices changed.
When both Mousetrapped and Backpacked were $2.99 each, the combination title – Mousetrapped and Backpacked Too – was $4.99. Readers saved about a dollar by buying them together. But now that Mousetrapped is $1.99, I still want them to save a dollar, so Mousetrapped and Backpacked Too is $3.99. Likewise but in the opposite direction, when Self-Printed goes up to $4.99, the Self-Printed shorts will go from 99c to $1.99.
This isn’t a Let’s See How This Goes for a While deal. This is how it’s going to be. Trust me, I learned my lesson back with the whole Mousetrapped-99c-promo headache. The next time I change a book’s price, it’ll be because I’ve released a new one.
P.S. Yes, the color of the text has changed. People have been complaining that the light grey was hard to read on a white background while I have been saying, “Turn down your screen brightness, then!” Problem is, the light grey is what’s part of the theme. It’s what goes. And we know how I feel about things co-ordinating, about things going, don’t we? I know the light grey isn’t great to read but I have never in my life chosen function over style and I’m loathe to start doing it now. Suffice to say that I will probably have to get up in the middle of the night to switch it back so sleep can come. We’ll see.