Sunday, 23 June 2013

Putting my money where my mouth is - lets test the 99c theory.

Dead on Demand is currently 99c, or 77p in the UK. That's barely the price of a chocolate bar.

But, as we predicted on this blog, it's not doing any better than at £2.99 or £3.99. The title has seen some violent up and downswings in sales, from the peak of 50+ an hour last September to a 2 week drought without sales.

So far, it's running at about 1 / day on the 'zon with the reduced price, pretty close to our sales rate at the higher price.

That means not only do we suffer the lesser sale price, but it's also being murdered by the cut rate royalties under $2.99.

·         At £2.99, we made £2 after the 'zon cut, delivery and tax.

·         At 77p, we make 26p after the same.

We need EIGHT times as many sales just to make the same money. So 240 a month to the 30 it takes at one a day.

If we compared that with the £3.99 rate (which saw no drop off in sales compared to £2.99) then that's 26p v £2.71 or 10.5x as much! So our one a day would now need 315 sales per month just to earn the same amount.

Frankly, 99c is an insane price point for a novel. It's too low to convey quality, and too low to make much money without amazing sales volumes (and, if it was that good we'd make more at a higher price). It's too high to hit the impulse purchase threshold often enough to make up for the loss of sales. With tens of thousands of free books, frugal readers don't need 99c.

Long term 99c doesn't fit in any strategy in our opinion.

·         Want just readers but don't care about money? Go free.

·         Want money? Go 70% royalty, and ideally above the $2.99 bargain bucket too (If you don't value yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?).

So, what good is 99c? Very short term, it can be a useful spike that might lead to more organic sales. Word of mouth does need somewhere to start before it can spread. There's also less risk of drive by 1* reviews at 99c than going free. Trolls love the superiority of trashing someone's work, but rarely want to pay for the privilege.

Despite all the above, we're sticking at 99c. This is for two reasons.

1. We want to prove our arguments above using a decent sample size over several months so we can avoid labelling 99c as rubbish because of seasonal lulls.

2. We promised our readers we'd be 99c while we were finishing book 2, and we take that promise seriously.

Dead on Demand will go back to full price, but if you want it cheap grab it from while it's 99c. At that price, it's a bargain. There's also a nice big sample for you guys to decide if you like it first.

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