Sales & Stats

The Economics of Promotion


Back in December, I wrote a blog post about cutting the price of Monkey Arkwright to its permanently low price of £0.99. My reasoning was that with the number of sales that I was getting, the difference between £1.99 and £0.99 was negligible to me.

A few days ago, I made the decision to raise the price to £2.99. After a very good run of sales in April – I’m talking about a handful across a two-week period – sales have now slowed to a crawl, and I’ve not had any for over two weeks now. My grand total is 52 and doesn’t look like increasing anytime soon.

Given this background, some readers may be wondering why I’ve made the crazy move of trebling the price of my book. Let me explain. Two avenues of promotion open to me as an indie author are the Amazon countdown deal and paid promotion via one of many sites offering such a service.

If my price is stuck at £0.99, then the Amazon countdown deal is a no-go, because I can’t set it to less than £0.99 and generate excitement over the sales period by having it climb back up to its normal price of …. you’ve guessed it …. 99p!

Most promotional websites are interested in highlighting bargains to readers who’ve signed up to their mailing list. So, quite reasonably, they aren’t interested in 99p books that have been available for 99p for the past few months. Instead, they insist that the promotional price is at least half of the normal price over the last 90 days. I think you can see where I’m going here but just in case you’re not paying attention at the back, I need to keep my price relatively high for the next few months to give me a shot at a reasonable promotion in the autumn.

There is a third reason: I have a theory that if you charge enough for something then somebody somewhere will buy it. Plus, in the back of my mind, I can almost hear the voices saying that my book can’t be very good if it’s only 99p! After briefly considering setting the price of my book at the maximum possible – approximately £150 if I remember correctly – I settled on the far more sensible figure of £2.99. I remember reading some guidance when I started this indie author lark, and it suggested an initial price of either £0.99 or £2.99 – for some reason, the profits generated from a £1.99 book was the lowest of the three price points mentioned.

So, in closing, I’d like to apologise for redefining the word permanent when talking about the price of Monkey Arkwright. So far, the outrageous cost that I’ve slapped on it hasn’t generated any sales, but I can live in hope.

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