Financial alert: this post talks about money. If you are one of those people who get offended when writers talk about finances, look away now!
Some of you may remember that a month ago I dropped the price of Death’s Angels to $2.99 to see if it had any effect on sales. The basic theory was that the more people who read the first book in the series, the more would be likely to read the second and the third and so on. The Terrarch books are an ongoing narrative; they have an epic storyline that progresses rather than just being a bunch of tales featuring the same characters therefor getting people in to the first book is important.
So how did it go?
So far I have to declare the results a success. Sales did indeed go up, not quite enough to cover the loss of royalty income but almost. The eventual earnings were within 2% of the amounts gained at $4.99. I figure I can eat a 2% loss of revenue for around 60% more readers. I can’t think of any sort of advertising available to the likes of me that would get such good results. As a writer more readers are pretty much always a good thing.
One interesting point is that the Serpent Tower, the second book in the series, sold faster at $4.99 than Death’s Angels had done at that price point. This is more or less what you would expect given the fact that there were a bunch of readers out there who had read the first book. On the other hand, you always expect to lose some readers between book one and book two– there are always those who don’t like the initial book– so keeping a pool of new readers coming in is important.
So will I be keeping the price of Death’s Angels at $2.99? Well, actually, no– thrilled by the success of my experiments I am pushing on a bit further. I have now dropped the price of Death’s Angels to 99 cents to see how this affects sales. This is a more interesting price decision in some ways. It moves the book into impulse buy territory. I know this works, at least on me, so I am keen to see if it works on other people. I have also dropped the price of the rest of the books in the series to $2.99 which is the lowest price at which Amazon pays it’s 70% royalty rate and thus allows me to earn a reasonable amount per book.
The question is not whether I can now sell six times as many Death’s Angels and thus earn the same as I would from selling one at $2.99. I don’t honestly expect that to happen. The question is whether the increased sales of book one in the series translate into enough sales of the rest of the series to make it worthwhile. If they do, I will stick with the new price structure. If not, I will revert to the old one. I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes next month.