I was up until about 4am this morning, working through the numbers of what I used to sell compared to what I sell now. I used to average selling 300 books (unpopular titles) to 1000 books (popular titles) a month. Most of my titles sold about 400-700 copies a month. This was at the $0.99 price and it was from places like Kobo and Amazon’s Kindle. Barnes & Noble was pretty good too, though lower.
This was all when I asked $0.99 per book.
When I decided to ask $2.99, my sales fell…and we’re talking a drastic fall. Like 40 average for most titles and 100 for the really popular ones (at Kindle on Amazon). This does not reflect Kobo, B & N, and other Smashwords channels. I don’t know what those sales look like.
And the thing is, I am making the same amount of money each month off Kindle that I did before.
Except…more people were buying and (probably) reading my books.
So what is my goal as an author?
My first goal is to write the book I want to read.
My second goal is to share my books with people who enjoy them. (keyword here is ‘enjoy’)
I can make money selling books or working outside the home, and I can’t force anyone to buy my books. So this is not an area I can control. All I can do is what I’m able to do.
To be honest, saying ‘I sold 110,000 books last year’ sounds a lot better to me than ‘I sold 11,00o books this year’ because at the rate I’m going at, that is how it’s going to look. Given, 40,000 books sold last year were free at B & N and Smashwords. But 70,000 isn’t bad.
But here’s the thing. It’s not just the numbers I’m looking at. It’s also the chances my books had to be read by other people. That’s something of an intrinsic value I can’t put a price tag on.
There are a couple of things to mention in regards to me pricing my books at $0.99 to begin with…
1. I didn’t make the books cheap because I thought they were crap. I do the best job I can to make my books are professional as possible. I don’t just write a first draft and publish it. I spend months polishing everything I write.
2. I didn’t do it to signal a ‘this book has no value because it’s a self-published book’. I fully support and recognize the right of every author to price their books where they want to. And my readers who have read my free stuff will happily pay $7.99 for an ebook somewhere else, so my pricing system has no real effect on paying for another author’s work.
So no. I didn’t price my books low because I think I suck as a writer or to stick it to authors who price their books higher. I made my books low to make it easy to share my work with others. And to be honest, I didn’t expect to sell anything when I started out. I was doing this all for me and thought, ‘I have a Kindle, and I like books that are priced at $0.99.’ It was as simple as that.
So I decided to go back to $0.99 for my books. I took down my novellas off of Amazon. They are now free on Smashwords. Why? Because I’d rather have my books get read. Considering there was no difference in how much I earned over the past three months, I see no reason to keep the price higher.
And this is what I now believe: whether or not people are likely to pay more for a book depends on genre. Romance books are a dime a dozen. They’re all over the place, and most of them are cheap. So why would someone pay more for my romance when they could get three other romances for the same price?
Now, I believe people will happily pay more for erotic stories and paranormal romances. Maybe even thrillers, from the conversation I had with someone this morning. I don’t know enough about genres outside of erotic and paranormals. Those are hot. They consistently sell well (overall).
Romances just don’t fit the bill. Romance readers read a lot of books and they read them fast. So considering their budget, they might be more in the range of buying more books for a cheaper price. But even then, I know some indie romance authors who price their books at $2.99 and sell much better than I do at that price. However, I am not them. I don’t make their sales at their prices. Maybe it’s because they are better writers who write better books. Maybe it’s because they do a better job marketing their books. Who knows?
It’s possible that comparing genres and authors might be comparing apples to oranges.
All I can do is look at how things work for me and make decision based on that. So that is what I decided. I’m thinking since my books are $0.99 again, I don’t have to give out coupons for free downloads. So I’m thinking of cutting that out.
I’m also debating how much of a newsletter I want to keep doing. It’s a huge time waster. My friend suggested I just post up links to my blog posts for people to read. I might do that. To be honest, I’m so busy, it’s hard to remember to get around to writing the newsletter anymore. It was fine when I wasn’t so busy, but now it’s four or five hours spent on doing something that doesn’t really say a whole lot. It seems pointless to me.
I also think I’ll remove the Facebook Author Page. I keep forgetting it’s there and do all my stuff on my main profile page anyway. So what’s the point?
Okay. Those are some things going around in my brain. Now to get on to my other life–that of a mom. 😀