Seen on a bakery truck…Cakes: 66 cents. Upside down cakes: 99 cents.
If you’re committed to making money from ebooks, you should have one and only one pricing goal: The price that gets you the most amount of revenue.
How To Sell Your Book On Amazon
There are three ways to reach your goal: Test, test and test some more. Selling ebooks on Amazon and getting to your pricing sweet spot start with a well-thought-out launch price. Here is one effective launch option:
Launch Option #1 Rock Bottom Pricing (or “The Sofa Change” strategy)
Launching your book at 99 cents may be a good way for you to quickly rise to a top 10 or 20 ranking. The operative word here is “may.” There is no “will” on Amazon. You won’t know until you test it. Ninety-nine cents has been an effective launch strategy for some of my books and a disaster for others.
Rock bottom pricing means you’re not going to make much money, even if you hit a top 10 category, so keep in mind a 99 cent pricing should be a launch strategy, not an ongoing one.
Here are the reasons why 99 cents may work as a launching point:
- There’s almost no “barrier to entry” for customers
- It’s a total impulse buy with so little risk it isn’t worth mentioning.
- It promotes sampling of new authors
- It may build a base of fans willing to pay more for your other books
- It may help rank you in the top 10 or 20 in your category
- It may help you appear in the “Customers who bought this item…” list of more popular books
And here are the reasons it may not:
- There’s a sizable part of the market that equates such a low price with crap. Take me, for example. Or rather, my mentality. I’ve never bought a 99-cent book. Never will. Anybody who has bought a decent amount of books knows what I do: If the chances of buying an unsatisfying book at $9.99 run high, what are the chances with a 99 cent book? Stratospheric.
By the way, most 99-cent books fail either at a launch or maintenance price. Try this: Search Kindle for fiction or non-fiction books, sorted by lowest price first. Many of those books rank so low they literally don’t have a ranking!
- Once you’ve trained somebody to buy your work at .99 cents they expect your other work to be that cheap. Because the low price devalued your work, some people may feel that you’re ripping them off at $4.99 for your next book.
- At .99 cents, did they buy your book because of the content or because they couldn’t pass up a bargain? Many will have done it as a bargain and never get around to actually reading your work (trust me, if they bought yours at .99 they bought a LOT of other books for that price or close to it).
• There’s very little loyalty at 99 cents. The decision point isn’t quality; it’s price. And that means you’re going to die by the same sword that cut you that first slice of life.
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The problem with rock bottom pricing
I know I’m going on like a wounded cat about the pitfalls of a low-ball pricing strategy but allow me a quick story. A woman is walking down the street and sees this magnificent Parrott in the window of the pet shop for only fifty dollars. She goes into the shop and asks the owner why he would sell such a superb bird for that little? The pet shopkeeper explains that the parrot is a little rough around the edge having come from a house of ill repute. The woman says that she doesn’t care—she just can’t pass up that price.
She takes the bird home and takes the cage into the living room. She removes the cage cover and the bird looks around and says: “New House, New Madam.” The woman thinks, “Well, if that’s what the owner meant by rough I got a great deal.” Her daughters come over that weekend to see the parrot. They walk into the living room and the parrot looks around and says:” New House, New Madam and New Hotties.” The woman beams. Then her husband walks in and the parrot says, “Hi, Robert.”
My point, and I do have one, is that a magnificently low price usually means a magnificent flaw comes with it. Offer 25% off a loaf of bread and shoppers will think they got a bargain. Offer 75% off and they’ll think there’s something wrong with it.
It’s one thing to use rock bottom pricing to launch; quite another for it to be your business model.
For more pricing strategies Just Publishing Advice offers 7 ebook strategy ideas. I’ll see you next week for a post about getting reviews.