Anyone have any advice on what a new, previously unpublished author should charge for his first book? One school of thought is to charge as little as possible just to get people to read it, get exposure, etc. But my wife was saying she never even browses the 99 cent books in the Kindle store because she just assumes they must be crap. What do you all think?
I LOVE the 99c books and download them frequently, even the freebies. You can usually tell by the cover, the blurb and how it's written whether it will be crap or not, and if it's a topic you're interested in. There are a lot of great reads out there for 99c. For every dozen good ones, I've read one that sucked, but it was less the story or the editing and more the fact that it amounted to a single serving incident that was the equivalent of a chapter.
The only way .99 cents is going to help you is if you have a bunch of different titles and you're promoting the heck out of your .99 cent title in order to get people to come back for your other titles priced $2.99 to $6.99. I personally love cheap. This isn't something as a reader that you're owning, you simply have the rights to read it. There is no resale value, no trading, and a once-per-person borrow for two weeks. It's not worth more than $9.99 in most cases.
You should definitely think about what sort of strategy you want to take. J.A Konrath is a very popular author and all his titles are at $2.99. Hocking is also very popular, hers are anywhere from .99 cents to $8.99. A sci-fi author around here does pretty good at $4.99 or $5.99 I think. He might provide some insight as well.
All that said, don't let anyone tell you .99 is too cheap. In the end, it's up to you, and if sales are good, keep in mind that you're only getting 30% of the money. Increase that, and you earn much more. See this: 5,000 at .99 = $1,500.00 .. but only 600 at $4.99 = $2,094.00
It's usually not about selling more, it's about finding the right price point. You won't hurt anything by starting at $2.99 and seeing how things go. At least that way you're getting 70%. I recently took down my .99 cent titles, but that's because I'm almost done with two more, and instead of selling all four at .99 each, I'm putting all four together for $2.99.
Very good post. I think its a case of moving them up and down to see what works. I originally had all my short stories at .99c (all of which were packaged with novel chapters as shameless promos) and novels/collections at $2.99. After reading a blog about bargain bin junk, I put all my short stories up to $2.99 and my novel to $4.99. I sold one short story at that price (in Germany ..!) and three or four novels.
Now I'm thinking to put them all back down again. I guess its a case of jigging them about to find something that works. I've heard that in the romance genre, for example, short stories sell well at $2.99. All mine are spec fic, and while I sell a few at .99c, moving the price up cuts them dead. It's an ongoing process..!
I pretty much agree with everyone here. The main point: you have do a bit of jiggling to find the right price.
If you have a good book to sell--by which I mean people who don't know you think it's good--you should try to find the highest price that still sells. In my mind, the current ideal price point for "good" ebooks is $8.99.
But even if your book is "good" you still need a "platform" to make an $8.99 price work. That is, you need a full promotional operation that you tend more or less everyday, and a catalog of titles. I don't think you can make it work with just one title.
But if you're starting out, you won't have a platform. In that case, I think the minimum price for a "good" book is $2.99. I wouldn't go lower than that unless you know your book is crap.
BTW, it's not a crime to sell a crap book, as long as you don't ask much for it. Personally, I think there's lots of good reasons to write crap books, but that's a topic for another thread.