Death’s Angels: the 99 Cent Experiment

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.

4 Replies to “Death’s Angels: the 99 Cent Experiment”

  1. Hello there, I found by chance a boxed set of your Terrarch Chronicles (edited by timun mas in Spain) although in Spain it is known as the Terrarch Trilogy! Imagine my surprise after my third re-read of your wonderful books to find that there is at least one more :p I know it is unforgivable in this day and age not to search everything on the internet, but it never occurred to me before ^^

    Do you know if the book will be coming out in spain? Else I’ll have to ditch that collection and buy them all anew in english :s (I hate having mismatched books)

    1. Hi Javier, thank you. As far as I know there is no plans to bring out the fourth book in Spanish, which is a real pity because I liked the covers on the Spanish editions. The fourth book, now titled Shadowblood, should be available in English real soon now.

    1. Thanks for asking. It’s with the editor right now. I’ll be putting it up when it comes back and I have gone through it one last time. I hope that will be before the end of the month.

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