Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Is 99c working? Interim update

Why Dead on Demand won't be 99c forever.

As readers of this blog know, Dan and I have long thought 99c to be an absurd price point. But the proof is in the pudding. We put Dead on Demand down to 99c about a month ago. At first, it chugged along around 1/ day. It has since settled around 8 sales a day. We're ignoring non-Amazon as we have the price unchanged elsewhere.

What we've noticed is:

·         More US sales

·         Less UK sales

·         A slight bump in Canadian sales (which is statistically insignificant)

·         A lower average rank

·         More Social Media mentions

We're currently selling about a hundred a week, but mostly due to some promotion (see prior blog posts for #s). Even at 100 downloads, 99c yields a mere $35. About $25 after tax. At an annualised rate, that would mean DoD should earn about $1820 gross per annum which is roughly £1200. Split between two, that doesn't go far.

Of course, we don't expect to live on one title. We'd like to think ten titles would cover a living wage. If we had ten books each selling 100 copies per week, we'd make £12,000 per year. For a gross 50,000 copies per annum, that's a pretty miserly income. Unfortunately, the volume at 99c does not make up for the lower royalty rate. Selling one a day at $4.99 makes $1277.50 per annum.

What sounds more sustainable to you guys, 100 a day or 1 a day? If that creeps to 2/ day then we'll make much more at $4.99 compared to 100.

100/ day at 99c = $1820 per annum

2/ day at $4.99 = $2555 per annum

It's just not a good deal for an author to price so cheaply, at least for a standalone title. For shorts, this is a fantastic yield. For stories in a series, 99c may or may not make sense: Here, we'd look at the sell through rate between books 1 and 2, and 2 and 3 to calculate yield.


Scenario 1: $2.99

Book one, two a day

Book two, one a day

Book three, One every two days.


This is a 50% sell through between books. Most series manage more than this. A three book series therefore sell 3.5 copies a day. At $2.99, this makes the series author $7 per day, or $2555 per annum.


Scenario 2:

Book 1: 99c / All others, $2.99

Book one, 10 a day

Book two, 5 a day

Book three, 2.5 a day


Same 50% sell through. Now we're getting:

10 x 35c

7.5* $2

= $18.50 a day, or $6752.50 per annum.


Here, 99c works. Of course, permafree might work better.

e.g. Scenario 3:

Book 1 : free. Books 2/3 $2.99

Book one, 200/ day (I've managed 15,000 freeloads at peak so this is sustainable)

Book two 100/ day

Book three 50/ day

= 150 x $2 = $300/ day, or $109,500 per annum.


Of course, freeloaders are much less likely to buy. So lets reduce out 50% sellthrough to say 5%

Book one, 200/ day

Book two: 10/ day

Book three, 5/ day

Total = 15/ a day or $30 = $10,950 per annum.

I don't think 99c is too useful. Perma free is likely to give a better yield for volume, while higher prices get a better per unit royalty.


We'll be leaving DoD at 99c a bit longer - we want to prove this statistically, and it would be interesting to leave DoD at 99c once the sequel is out to measure sell through differentials. Would you guys be interested in that data?

1 comment:

  1. I would like to see your data after the sequel to DoD is out.