Back on March 3, my blog was mentioned in an online article in the German periodical Spiegel Online.
My blog hits spiked up to 1315.
Hopefully, this got me some new followers. I know of at least one, Ruby Barnes (another author jumping into the epublishing game). It does look like the blog views jumped up to a new average after the spike.
Twenty days after dropping the price of my novel Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance from $2.99 to $0.99, my rankings continue to drop.
Before the price drop, my best overall Amazon sales rank was #6407. Ten days after the price drop, my best overall Amazon sales rank was #3249. Today, twenty days after the price drop, my best overall Amazon sales rank is #2490.
While the rate of decline is slowing, it is still dropping.
I’m also dropping lower in the category lists:
#23 Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction > High Tech
#23 Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > High Tech
My rankings continue to drop, so I see no reason to discontinue this experiment. I’ll keep the price at 99 cents at least until the end of the month.
What does this mean for you, the ebook author?
The 99 cent price point looks to be a good way to inch down the sales charts and break the top #20 of some category lists. But, you have to be patient. Commit to at least 30 days before deciding if the experiment is a success.
Here is the cover for the SF&F anthology that I’m working on with over a dozen other authors.
Les Petersen created a great cover for us. It evokes the feeling of multiple genres and is just an awesome piece of art. Thanks a lot, Les! If you are an author looking for an artist, I definitely advise you to contact Les at his website. He’s a breeze to work with.
The anthology will have a wide variety of stories in it, including paranormal, epic fantasy, romantic fantasy, urban fantasy, cyberpunk, space travel, mystery, and more.
My contribution to the anthology is a cyberpunk short story titled The Price of Vengeance. It concerns a certain genetically engineered dwarf and the consequences of his actions in Dead Dwarves, Dirty Deeds. It also provides some insight into the secondary and tertiary characters of my novel Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance. Twelve Worlds is the only place you’ll be able to read this short story, so if you like Noose and want to read more about him, be sure get a copy of the anthology.
Twelve Worlds will be available in early April for $2.99.
Author profits from the sale of this book will go to a charity that we’ll announce before publishing.
Keep checking back here for more information about contributing authors and the stories in the book.
My next ebook is going to be a Young Adult action adventure aimed at kids (although grownups should also enjoy it!).
I am concerned that kids who like my YA ebook will buy my cyberpunk ebooks which are not appropriate for them.
Therefore, I have decided to voluntarily place a parental advisory in the Amazon/B&N description of my cyberpunk books. It reads something like this:
"For Parents: Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance is not appropriate for children under 16. This book contains intense action and frequent violence (shootouts, explosions, brawls, murder), suggestive language and scenes (not explicit), drug use (alcohol, tobacco, fictional future drugs), and cursing."
I believe that this is a small price to pay to help parents determine what their kids should and should not be reading.
What do you think about parental advisories for ebooks?
However, there are more data points than just sales and royalties to this experiment. There is also sales rank.
Lower sales ranks mean you are listed higher in the Amazon lists. The goal is to get your book to show up on the first page of the category lists (within the top #20). More people will see your book if it's on page 1. After all, how many people click over to page 2 or 5 or 12?
Before the price change my best overall Amazon sales rank was #6407, and I’d gotten into the low #40s of the Science Fiction High Tech category.
As of today, my best overall Amazon sales rank has improved to #3249 and it's trending downward.
My best ranks in the categories are now:
#26 Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction > High Tech
#27 Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > High Tech
Now, we’ve got a totally different story for this DIY book. I was expecting a decline in sales with the price increase, but I’ve actually seen an increase in sales!
February average daily sales = 6.7
March average daily sales so far = 7.5
February average daily royalties = $2.34
March average daily royalties so far = $15.08
Woot! I’m earning 644% more per day with the price increase. That is very nice. If this trend continues, I’ll earn $421 on this book alone this month.
What does this mean for me?
If things continue at the same rate for the rest of the month, I’ll earn a total of about $650 this month at the new prices. That’ll be about a 36% increase from last month.
I’m looking forward to seeing if these new trends persist for the rest of the month. I’ll give you another update in about a week.
What does this mean for you?
Format Your Ebook for Kindle in One Hour is a Do It Yourself instruction book. It can conceivably save a self-publishing author hundreds of dollars in formatting fees. So, $2.99 isn’t much of a risk. And, people are willing to pay more for something that can help them earn money.
It is not a genre fiction book that someone buys on impulse. So, I don’t think you can generalize the success of this price increase to novels.
But, if you have an instructional book I think you can experiment with higher prices.
First, my monthly book sales (click to enlarge all charts):
My total sales have again increased in February, as did the sales of each of my books. I’ve now sold a total of 931 books in five months.
Here’s a table showing my percent increase in sales each month and my average daily sales each month.
As you can see, December was the most impressive for the increase in sales: a whopping 519% more than November. I attribute this to the release of my novel, Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance, in late November and, of course, Christmas buying.
What’s interesting to note is that during months that I did not publish a new book, November and February, my percentage increase was almost identical at 62% and 61%. Does this mean that I can expect at least a 60% increase in sales every month? I wouldn’t go that far. I don’t have enough data to prove that, and I expect it’s untrue, anyway. Plus, I won’t be able to verify it in March, because I’ve done some price changing that will alter the results.
Another nice thing to see is that each month my average daily sales increases. It started out at .4 books per day in October, and is a strong 16 books per day in February.
Here are my daily sales since October.
And now let’s look at the royalty dollars.
So far, in five months, I’ve earned about $990 in royalties. Almost half of that was in February. I’m looking forward to seeing what my price changes do to my earnings.
I’m on track to earn enough royalties to pay for my $2400 in expenses in about two more months, hopefully. Another good thing!
If each of my two novels can earn $400 a month (a cautious expectation), then I’ll have earned over $6,000 at year's end. That’s more than I could have expected in advances from a publisher. Plus, even if I had found a publisher in November, my novel probably woudn't be on the shelves until the end of this year. Yes, it can take months for a publisher to actually publish the book! So, by the time a publisher would have gotten my book on the shelves, I've already been building a fan-base, earning money, and setting the stage for my next book!
So, what does this mean to you, the aspiring self-publishing ebook author?
Well, if you write niche scifi and pay for a nice cover with good editing, I think you can hope to emulate my results pretty closely. I have not done a lot advertising, so most of my sales are from blog visitors and random sales.
If you write in a more popular genre, such as romance, paranormal, thriller, or mystery, I think you can expect to see better results than mine. Again, assuming you wrote a good book, with a catchy title, nice cover, and evocative description.
My advice? Don’t wait to find an agent and a publisher. Publish your book now. Yes, you will have an initial expense of up to $1500 for cover art and editing, but you should be able to earn that back in 6 or 7 months. After that, it’s all profit!