Wednesday, August 14, 2013

PRICE /PERFORMANCE vs PERCEPTION



Indie authors historically feel the pinch of summer months in their sales.  Sometimes their writing gets derailed as well. We often over promote to compensate for the slowdown in sales.  Shoot… we’re not going to change people’s habits by sending out twenty more tweets a day.  It’s summer.  Even my most loyal readers are outside enjoying the weather; fishing, hiking, gardening, or mowing their yard.  Keeping in mind there are some who do not partake of the outdoors and still like to read, I’ll continue to post erratically to my blog and toss out a tweet or two.  Hell, I think maybe I should go outside, too.  Maybe to the beach or a quick dash across the border to Costa Rica with my camera to snap some photos for my novel I’m writing.

I don’t believe over promoting helps.  In fact it may hurt sales.  A site that is ‘shopworn’ can produce negativity. Watch TV some evening.  There will be some products or services advertised that you wouldn’t buy even if you had a desperate need.  Just because of their disgusting advertising.

Indie authors still have the same basic costs of a publishing house; the editor needs to get paid, the cover designer gets paid, the formatter gets paid, the US government gets paid (copyright), the people that issue the ISBN get paid.  – It’s the same for the indie as any other publisher.  If the book is printed, a few more folks get paid. – ALL OF THESE EXPENSES OCCUR BEFORE ONE BOOK IS SOLD!

My expenses when I tried selling my novels for 99 cents were the same as when I sell the same novel for $2.99 or more.  The difference in income is HUGE!  Not in the price but in the royalty received from Amazon.  A 99 cent sale represents 34 cents to the author   A $2.99 sale receives a 70% royalty instead of the 35%. (if the sale happens within the USA).

Pricing is a personal choice for authors.  I decided to take a business approach to my book sales and not be stampeded by trends in the industry. This is my standard pricing formula; I estimate what the price of the book would sell for if it was printed in ‘trade back’ format. (soft cover 4X6). I’ll consider the word count, the number of pages, and the overall theme of the novel.  That estimated price will be divided by four.  In essence I sell my e-books for ¼ the price of a printed novel.  One little caveat; I refuse to price my work for less than a gallon of diesel.  In Panama that averages around $5.00. No more sales.  I refuse to price my novels for 99c, less than the price of a package of gum.  My minimum price is $4.99.

Occasionally I will offer my novels for free.  I have this option with Amazon.  I will always limit the number I offer on a given day.  It weeds out the hoarders and gives the perception of value.  I’m beginning to rethink this method as well.  It’s nice to increase one’s readership but people that get something for free usually misuse.  Most readers in the past were like me. If I didn’t like the work, I set it aside and continued with my life.  If I liked the work I would post a positive review…always 5 stars.  Since I began offering free novels, a lot of mean-spirited people have downloaded my work and if it wasn’t what they expected or something they didn’t care for… they left horrible reviews – mean and vile! I never had this happen when I didn’t offer free books.  Other authors tell me this is normal.  Perhaps I should take their advice and ignore those who write stupid remarks about my work and live with the lowering of my review ratings.

  I’m not of that category. I’m researching all of those mean spirited readers who purposely wrote negative remarks and will expose them for who they are in an upcoming blog. In the meantime, perhaps I will rethink those ‘freebies’.   

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