Friday, January 14, 2011

Price Changes

It's 2011 and the new year has brought a new vision in mind for where I want to go with my books. Self-published books - especially ebooks - are flooding the market and now is the time to take a second look at my marketing strategies and my writing business as a whole. After much research and scrutiny, I've decided to revamp the pricing structure of my novels, both in digital and paperback formats.

The cause for my change in attitude, at least when it comes to the pricing structure of my books, has resulted from catching up with the blogs of J.A. Konrath and Amanda Hocking and reading about their self-publishing ebook success - (you can check out J.A. Konrath's blog here and Amanda Hocking's here) In their blogs, they both are very candid about their sales numbers and the success they have experienced through self-publishing ebooks.

I've spent the last few days taking a good look at both of these success stories and taking a second look at my own marketing and sales plan and realize there are a few changes that need to be made on my part if I want to stay in the game.

One of these changes is the price of my books. Until now, I had the paperback version of the first book in my Black Earth series, End of the Innocence, available for $13.95 and the second book in my Black Earth series, The Broken Daisy, available for $17.95. I had these prices set so high primarily to be a part of the Createspace Expanded Distribution Channels which make my books available to be sold on thousands of major online and offline bookstores and retailers.

The problem with this distribution option is that my royalty shrinks to less than 50 cents for my first book and $0 for my second for any books sold outside Createspace and Amazon. That's right - even at $17.95, The Broken Daisy makes $0 in royalties for each copy sold through retailers outside Createspace and Amazon. But to be part of the distribution program, you have to have your book set at a certain price to allow for those outside retailers to take such a big cut.

Personally, I think $17.95 is ridiculous for a paperback version of any book. This was one of the major reasons I left iUniverse so many years ago - they were unwilling to lower the price of my 300 page paperback below $18.95. For a fairly unknown author to have their debut book set at a  price like that, for a paperback edition no less, is a hard sell. I'm not saying new authors don't deserve that kind of money, but for readers out there swimming the river of books, especially self-published ones, a lower price makes it easier to take a risk on an author they may have never heard of.

With the success I've seen with the ebook market lately, I'm drawing out of the distribution outlets and only allowing for my books to be sold in paperback through Amazon and Createspace. I have decided to change the prices of the paperback editions of my books to $9.95 for End of the Innocence and $12.95 for The Broken Daisy. I think the lower prices, especially for End of the Innocence, will allow readers to find out what my writing is all about without having to hum and haw over if the price is right for such a leap of faith.

My ebook prices are getting an overhaul as well. Through Smashwords, I can have my ebooks available through the Sony Reader, the Nook, the Kindle, etc. And Smashwords only takes 20%. And Smashwords pumps my book out in formats that I can take to Kindle myself and distribute for a 35% and 70% royalty.

That said, until now I've had my ebook prices set at $2.99 for End of the Innocence and $4.99 for The Broken Daisy. I've garnered very little success with those prices (though there are other factors that play into that) and I've decided to change my pricing structure for all ebooks I self-publish from this point on. These prices are of course subject to change as I see fit, but at this point in time, I am changing the price of my ebook version of End of the Innocence to 99 cents and the ebook version of The Broken Daisy to $2.99. All subsequent ebooks in the Black Earth series will be set at $2.99 as well. I plan to keep this structure when I release my young adult series this summer. Most novellas that come out I'll be listing at about 99 cents too.

So, if you've been waiting to jump on board my sci-fi/fantasy series, now's a good time to do it. The book prices have officially been dropped and you can head over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble online to grab a copy for your Nook or Kindle, or jot over to my website to grab the paperback if you are so inclined. :)

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