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Kindle Pricing and Promotion: How to Achieve Optimal Results for Your Kindle Boo

KINDLE

PRICING & PROMOTION

How to Achieve Optimal Results for Your

Kindle Book by Adjusting Price and Using Promotions.

Get the Best Outcomes Possible for Your Amazon Kindle Book Sales.

Alex Foster

This book is designed to provide information, education and motivation to readers. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher and author are not engaged to render any type of psychological, legal, or any other kind of professional advice. The content of each article is the sole expression and opinion of its author. No warranties or guarantees are expressed or implied. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for any physical, psychological, emotional, financial, or commercial damages, including, but not limited to, special, incidental, consequential or other damages. You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results.

Copyright ©  2016 Alex Foster  All rights reserved. [email protected]

You are encouraged to share all, or in part, any of the content of this book in the name of helping others as long as credit is given to Alex Foster and the book title.

 

Table of Contents

Introduction

30% Royalty and 70% Royalty

The Test Markets

Low Growth, Low Shares

Low Growth, High Shares

High Growth, High Share

Promotion

$0.99 and Free Uses

The Best Way to Launch a New Book

How to use the Kindle Countdown Deal Promotion (or not)

How to Influence Changes in Your Book’s Lifespan

Conclusion

[] Introduction

Pricing is the Goldilocks conundrum of self-publishing.  Price too high and your profits go up, but your sales go down.  Too low and your sales go up, but your profits disappear.  Finding that perfect balance of profit and sales where your book is the most profitable can be tricky.

Many writers come in with the idea that they want to get the most traffic they can for their book, pricing it as low as possible.  Others regard their work too highly and feel a higher price demands higher respect. Some price their book at the common $2.99 in a market that would produce much better results at a higher price point.  All are traps. The market your book is in heavily dictates the reaction your price will generate.

This book is a summary of six months worth of testing I did on books I published in different genre markets testing both price and promotion.  Each test ran for a month.

If you are wondering how you can maximize your Kindle sales, affect reviews and your ranking, then this book is for you.  I cover the basics such as the differences between the 30% royalty model and the 70% royalty model, as well as how to effectively change your price for a book depending on where it is in its life cycle and the results you want.  I cover how to use pricing to encourage reviews and how to properly launch a new book using different pricing models based on its market.  I also show the results of using popular promotional third party sites to measure their effect.

Note:  This is far from a perfect study of pricing and promotion.  There are factors that I didn’t take into account (page listing position, competition), factors I couldn’t say were 100% due to the price change (review rate), as well as variables I don’t fully understand, such as Amazon's algorithm that ranks books.  At one point I even ended a test early since I saw one of my popular book series almost stop selling.  However, the general changes that pricing and promotion do have provide useful information for those looking to maximise profits.

[] [+ 30% Royalty and 70% Royalty +]

This is general information, but I wanted to cover it to make sure we are all on the same level before I dive into statistics.

Amazon wants to be the leader in ebook sales and has structured its system to provide high value to the end customer, while still allowing self-publishers to profit reasonably well from the system.

The higher your royalty rate, the more profit you make.  The system is designed to encourage writers to publish their books between $2.99 and $9.99, which gets the 70% royalty.  Anything outside of those parameters and you are likely losing most of your profits with a 30% royalty.

Books priced under $2.99 and above $9.99 are slapped on the wrist hard with only a 30% royalty rate.  $9.99 is the highest price ebook you will typically find, since it provides the 70% royalty rate, giving you $7 in profits.  To make $8 in profits you would need to price your ebook at $27 dollars and up.  These are the rates available to self-publishers, Amazon offers different rates to publishers.

At the low cost of $0.99 you are only making $0.30 per book sold.  There are benefits to selling a book at $0.99, which we will get into later, but your profits are gone.

[] The Test Markets

The tests that I performed on my books were done in three different types of markets.  I write mostly nonfiction, which is where the testing focused, except for one exception in the last type of market where I did both a nonfiction and a fiction book.

I divided the markets based on the Boston Matrix model: the market growth size, which measures the amount of new people in a market (either high or low), as well as the share size, which measures the amount of current buyers in the market (either high or low).

For example a low growth, low shares market means there aren’t many new buyers coming in (doesn’t mean it’s small, just not currently growing) and the ones in the market aren’t buying much.  A low growth market and high shares market would represent a genre like ‘romance’ where you have a huge market with low growth (not many new readers coming in at a significant rate) with a large amount of people buying.  My personal scale looked something like this:

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Low growth, low shares:  20 sales a month or less.  

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Books (genre) tested:  Health care sales and other niche marketing books.

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. [*Low growth, high shares:  *]Around two sales a day, 60 to 100 sales a month.  

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Books (genre) tested:  Stock market and financial type books.

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. High growth, high shares: Around ten sales a day.

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Books (genre) tested:  Nutrition and fad diet book, action and adventure fiction.

All tests were performed on my books over the course of a month.  Most tests were done on  multiple books in the same genre. The volume is based on the performance changes I saw in my books.  Your mid or high level may differ from mine, but I feel that the results would scale within different parameters.

I tested pricing within the boundaries that are most common under the KDP pricing system, so I tested pricing based on three different pricing models.

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Low pricing at $0.99

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Mid pricing at $2.99

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. High pricing at $9.99

Each book that was tested had to have trending data for at least six months, so that I had data with which to compare changes.  I ran multiple tests at the same time, often spreading my books out over the three different categories using excel charts to track the monthly end results.

Many books I tested were already priced at the $2.99 price point so that test was skipped and I only looked at how the book responded to the other two price points.

The variables that were monitored were the following:

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Review rate, based on previous trending data;

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Sales traffic (bought per day, week and month), changes based on previous trending data;

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Seller Ranking, change based on previous trending data; and

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p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Profit, earned monthly compared to the average trending profit made monthly.

The data I collected on reviews is helpful but far from the full picture on the impact pricing has on reviews.  As you will find out, not all reviews come in during the same month in which the book was purchased.  Many spill over into the following months, which were not accounted for, making the data less accurate.  Data such as book return rate and page listing position was not taken into account.

I should also note that pricing has no effect on a book no one wants to read.  If you are like me, you may have a bit of a graveyard in your Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) bookshelf.  Pricing a dead book (a book over 500K seller ranking) at $0.99 cents doesn’t help revive it (the promotions tested in the last section do).  This book and the price models tested are based on the assumption your book is alive enough to be affected by changes in pricing.

I go over each test and the results with a brief summary at the end.  After I discuss all three tests I bring it all together for you, and how the data can help.  I then cover other helpful uses of pricing models as well as usage of popular promotional websites and their results.

[] Low Growth, Low Shares

For this market I used small niche books in the healthcare sales and other niche marketing fields.

The books were listed at the $2.99 point from the start.  They generated around 20 sales a month each consistently, the perfect setting to measure the effects of price in a small niche market.  The competition varies around one or two others, depending on the keywords used in the search bar.

For the first month I dropped the price down to $0.99.  The traffic on average went up to 27 sales per month, not a large increase in volume sold.  My monthly profits dropped from around $40 a month to $8.10 per book on average.

The review rate which averaged one review every two months doubled with three of the four books tested, receiving two reviews each in one month.

Seller ranking jumped around for each book, but relatively stayed the same.  Two of the four books tested were listed higher on the page with the other two staying relatively in the same mid page position.

My next test was to push each book’s price up to $9.99 for a month.  I received 19 sales on average per book for the month. Ranking stayed the same.  Profits went to $133 on average per book for the month, compared to the normal $40 I had in previous trending months.

Each book tested had previously been at $2.99, so that price point was skipped in testing.

The results in the low niche market showed that demand for a book with little to no competition (strong niche) isn’t influenced by price much.  These types of books can demand a much higher price point without hurting sales, while keeping profits optimal.  Going from $40 to almost $140 a month for books in the low growth, low share (niche) market is huge!

[] Low Growth, High Shares

I tested a total of five books that met the criteria for low growth, high shares (large consistent market with many buyers).  I tested books that had a least two to four sales a day (financial and investment books).

Most of the books were originally listed at the price point of $3.99 and generated an average of 80 sales a month for about six months before tests.

For the first month of the test, I listed the price of the book at $0.99 cents.  I received about a 30% increase in reviews overall for the month, as well as a jump in sales from the average of 80 to 163.  My profits dropped from an average of $224 to $49 monthly per book.  My sales ranking average went from around 20,116 to 5,285.  Page listing improved by one spot for most of the books or stayed the same.

I next tested the mid price of $2.99.  My review rate was still the same as last month’s testing (probably due to spillover from the $0.99 test month).  My sales went to 114 on average.  Profits went from the standard $224 to $228.  My seller ranking on average was around 13,000.

I tested $9.99 next.  I got one review which was a three star review expressing that the content was overpriced.  One of my books went down to four sales for the month, while the average was about 25.  My profits for the month came to $175 on average per book.  My sales rankings sank past 150K with the average at 165,455.  My page listing was hurt badly and for two of the books, all but destroyed.  I could not find two of my books while searching for my keywords.

Since the $9.99 test I was unable to recover one of my books seller ranking even with pricing my book at .99 cents for a month.  The other four books tested came back to normal sales after a few months at $0.99 cents.  That was an expensive lesson.

Pricing is extremely sensitive in low growth, high share markets.  The $2.99 and the $3.99 models brought in roughly the same amount of profits each month, but the $2.99 pricing model had a significant better seller ranking.  In large competitive markets where your book has a number of competitors, or will after they saturate the niche you just made, it’s best to price your book at $2.99 for the improved seller ranking achieved from increased sales.

[] High Growth, High Share

When a market has high growth (high rate of new readers) and high shares (a lot of buyers) you typically have highly profitable books for a short time frame (months to a year or two).  Fad type books fit into this type of market.

My diet and nutrient books that picked up on fad diets and trends in the weight loss communities fit the bill for this market.

I looked at books that had at least 10 sales a day and were in the genre of ‘buzzword’ type diets and nutrient books.

For the criteria of high niche, I tested four books that had volume of around 300 sales a month.  Competition is high in this market and typically had several pages of other competitors with similar books.

The books were tested for a month at $0.99 cents (normally $2.99) resulting in an average of 614 sales for the month each.  My profits went from the normal amount of around $600 to $184 on average.  The seller ranking did not change much at all, staying in the 5K range give or take a 1K difference.  Review rates stayed the same as well.

I tested the $9.99 pricing range next.  I stopped the test after the first week after seeing that sales had dropped significantly.  Highly competitive markets are extremely sensitive to price changes.  My review rate had gone up by about 30% on average.  However, I believe this was due to the spillover from purchases made the previous month at $0.99 cents.  I sold on average one book for each of the four during that week.

Highly competitive markets with many buyers are without a doubt heavily influenced by pricing.  You can easily push a well received book right out of the market if priced too high.

In such markets it’s best to price match.  If you are in a market where the top books are selling at $3.99 then it would be best to do so as well.  If you are in a cut throat market where everyone is selling their book for $0.99 cents, then you would be wise to follow the waves of the market.

For example, in the highly competitive genre of zombie horror books it’s common to sell the first book of a series for free.  Entering the market with a $0.99 cent book would put you at a major disadvantage.  Zombie books are a major fad at the time of this book being written.  Follow the market or get pulled away in the undertow.

Note:  To price match your market for free do the following:

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. Publish your book on a site like Shakespir for free.

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. Click the link on your Amazon listing that says, “Report a lower price.”

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. In a week or two you get a warning from Amazon about their KDP policies and that the book has been price matched (to free).

A powerful strategy in highly competitive market (high growth, high share) is to offer the first book in a series for free to generate awareness and interest in the rest of the series.

[] Promotion

I tested a number of common and popular third party marketing and promotion sites, some free and some ranging up to $2,000.  I don’t have a consistent test pattern since many of the sites change their fees based on the pricing of a book or won’t promote a book at all unless it meets pricing requirements (or other requirements like sales or reviews).

I tested books in the following markets:

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. Low Growth, Low Share

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. Low Growth, High Share

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. High Growth, High Share

The first test was on popular free marketing sites:

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p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. Addicted to eBooks

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Authormarketingclub

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p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. Digitalbooktoday

*
p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. EreaderNewsToday

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. GalleyCat

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p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. GoodKindles

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p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. Meet Our Authors on Amazon

The data is rather easy to report on.  I did a site a week to measure changes and the results were not significant.  Where one book increased, another decreased.  The rates at which they did were within the natural ebb and flow seen throughout the month for a typical book.  There was no significant change in sales.  Worth doing?  I would say yes, since they are free and could account for a sale or two at some point and may be the tipping point for something or someone down the road.

Next I looked at the following popular marketing sites:

*
p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. StoryCartel

*
p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. BookCaliber

*
p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. BookBub

*
p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. GoodReads

*
p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. ShareGoblin

*
p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. TheFussyLibarian

*
p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. BookGorilla

*
p<>{color:#000080;background:transparent;}. Amazon Advertising

There are plenty more, but these are the most popular and the ones I tried.  They differ drastically.  Both StoryCartel and ShareGoblin are only for free books while BookCaliber and BookBub offer both free and discount promotions.

Their length of time on promotion differs, but one thing was consistent.  Regardless of the length of promotion, there was only one day that stood out with activity .  After that day the book declined significantly in any new activity.  In other words, each site advertised the book as new to their site, or in their newsletter for one day, which brought in about 99% of the results from the promotion.  After the new listing or after the newsletter listing, nothing further really happened.  

Three main things to note here:

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. Most campaigns lasted for five days, while sites like StoryCartel promoted on their site for almost a month.  The length didn’t matter, since it all came down to the single main day of advertising.

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. Another point to note was that free book promotions did the best, while $0.99 had the second best results.  $2.99 and up promotions had results, but not much. I recommend you do a free promotion or $0.99 promotion for optimal results.

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Some of the sites come in with a low price, such as StoryCartel, and then upsell you for more complete packages.  Results really only come when the book is promoted on both the website and in the newsletter.  Paying for anything less is a waste of time and money.  I preferred the sites that gave you the full package for one fee, instead of slowly upselling you to death.

The top site for sales results was BookBub which cost me $2,000.  I got great results, but the cost was extremely high.  BookCaliber came in 2nd in sales, only costing a fraction of what I paid for BookBub.  TheFussyLibrarian and BookGorilla tied for last in sales.  StoryCartel didn’t increase my sales at all since the free book was only promoted on their site.

I expected a lot more from Goodreads and Amazon promotions, but got only a little improvement in sales with Amazon.

I got more sales with BookBub then I did with BookCaliber, but not by much.  BookCaliber had the best return on investment by far.  I also got more reviews from BookCaliber than any other site.  I didn’t get any (known) reviews from BookGorilla, TheFussyLibrarian or StoryCartel.  However, I have used StoryCartel in the past and have received reviews from them.

Sales were counted for Amazon only.  Reviews were only counted if the reviewer mentioned in the review the source of where they got the book.  For example, “I got this book on BookBub.”  I also factored in the average sales over the course of the month to measure an increase.  When I report the book had zero sales below, it likely had less than or equal to its average daily sales.  Technically the promotion may have accounted for a sale (or two) that got ignored due to my method.

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. BookBub $2,000 – 61 Sales 2 Reviews

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. BookCaliber $90 – 40 Sales 5 Reviews

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p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. StoryCartel $125 – NA Sales 0 Reviews

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Goodreads $200 – 0 Sales, 0 Reviews

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. ShareGoblin $150 - 1000+ Sales, NA Reviews

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. TheFussyLibarian $18 – 2 Sales, 0 Reviews

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. BookGorilla $200 – 3 Sales, 0 Reviews

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Amazon Advertising $100 – 4 Sales, NA Reviews

ShareGoblin was a unique experience.  They promote your KDP Select free promotion only.  For this test I had to wait a few months to get my free promotion back to measure changes (KDP Select offers a five day free promotion every 90 days on Amazon).  I offered one of my investment books for free for five days without ShareGoblin.  I got an average of 180 downloads a day over the course of the five days without using ShareGoblin.  For the 2nd round of five days of free promotion I used ShareGoblin.  The first day I got 122 downloads.  The second day I got 870.  By the fifth day it went back to my normal 180 average sales.  Remember, a sale on free promotion counts as a normal sale to Amazon’s algorithm.  It was a huge boost to sales.

I was ranked number one in my book category (but not number one on the page, although I did move up to the top area of the page).  I didn’t measure reviews because ShareGoblin doesn’t promote reviews like the other marketing sites.  Instead, they promote social shares which helps generate awareness about your book.

In the beginning of this book I mentioned that price doesn’t affect a dead book.  A book with a seller ranking at or above 500K just can’t be found with search results.  Marking it down to $0.99 doesn’t help a book that no one can find.  However, promotion helps a dead book.  Promotion clearly helps improve reviews, seller ranking and future sales.

The purchases from BookBub, BookCaliber and ShareGoblin improved my seller ranking significantly and improved my listing and future sales.  Was it worth it?  For sure.  The promotion cost me money more than made me money initially.  The purpose of using promotion and marketing as a self-publisher is to give your book a boost.  I use promotions when my book falls in sales to help get it back on the listings page, as well as helping launch a newly published book.  A well listed book is going to be visible to more potential customers over the long term.

[] $0.99 and Free Uses

The $0.99 pricing model is a shadow of the profits a book would normally get with higher pricing.  However, it does have its place.

The five reasons to price a book at $0.99:

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. To temporarily increase sales to improve seller ranking in a book that is trending down in sales month to month (to maintain or reclaim a good page listing position).

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. To encourage reviews by getting more buyers and providing more value with a great deal to increase the number of happy readers.

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. To price match a highly competitive market where pricing of $2.99 would get skipped over in favor of competitors priced at $0.99.

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. To use a promotional third party site.

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. To encourage sales for a newly published book (for at least the first month).

Giving a book out for free has three uses:

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. To generate awareness and interest in purchasing the rest of your series.

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. To upsell something else (grow a mailing list, upsell to something else like consulting, etc).

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. To simply give it away.  For nonfiction it could be from the standpoint of wanting to genuinely help others without profiting.  From a fiction standpoint, you may be looking to create a name for yourself for future work or are testing the waters and looking for genuine feedback from your work by making it easily and widely available.

[] The Best Way to Launch a New Book

Your book may be priced perfectly for your market, but unless you launched your book correctly, you still will be missing out on sales.  To test the best way to publish a new book, I tested six newly published books (no relation to a known pen name or series) for a month, then measured their performance over the following month.  All six books had a “partner” to compare it to.

The three variables I tested were:

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. The effect of the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) free book promotion;

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Pricing for one month at $0.99 or $2.99;

*
h3<>{background:transparent;}. Using promotional services.

An unknown book published at $2.99 and nothing else done hits that 500K or higher seller rank by the end of the first month in every case I tested (two similar books).

I tested four similar books at $0.99 and nothing else done which maintained a seller ranking just under 100K for the first month.

I tested one book with five days free promotion followed by $0.99 and another similar book followed by $2.99.  The results were almost identical with an average ranking of 40K by the end of the month for both.  My guess would be that with more testing, the $0.99 book would be the better option despite the test results.  I believe cover art played a role in this outcome (the $2.99 book had an out of this world cover design, helping it score higher).

I also tested the effect of alternating the KDP Select free promotion days.  Instead of using all five back to back I broke them up to every other day.  The results at the end of the month were the same for both.

The ultimate setup to launch a new book is to use all five days of free promotion followed by at least another 23 days (to complete a full 30 days) of $0.99 cents with as much marketing as you can afford to add.

A new book on Amazon has limited data to pull from.  Amazon ranks a book on a number of things, such as reviews, sales and keywords.  If you have a book that has sat for a year with a seller ranking of 500K plus, it’s going to be hard to convince the Amazon algorithm that the book should rank well.  However, a new book that blows up from the start gets treated like royalty long term.

I have heard and read from other book marketing gurus that when you use third party book marketing sites, you should avoid overlapping marketing promotions.  This would mean that the subscribers of StoryCartel are mostly the same subscribers as BookBub, and the others.  But that’s a good thing!  One of the reason publishers market a big book in magazines, billboards, stores, and TV is because they are trying to get that overlap.  The more a potential reader sees your cover, the more they want to check it out.  You can bet a potential reader who opens up three newsletters from three different promotion sites and sees your book all three times is going to check out your book.

[] How to use the Kindle Countdown Deal Promotion (or not)

Kindle Countdown Deal Promotion (KCDP) has been used in the past by Amazon for large name brand products, including big name books.  It’s now available for everyone!  But is it worth it since you sacrifice your enrollment period (no free promotion)?  You either choose the free book promotion (FBP) or the KCDP.

In the past, Amazon used the countdown deals for Christmas sales to promote certain products.  This is a near perfect interpretation of the marketing scarcity model used in other sales industries.  Many large corporations that make high demand products like Apple, Sony, and Microsoft use the scarcity model to raise demand.  If there are only so many Playstations available at launch, it makes people want one even more.  Things that are rare demand high value and create a primal need to have it.

If you are in the market at Christmas for a GPS, then watching the countdown deals for listed GPS systems would send you into a frenzy, since there is limited stock, and the price keeps going up (so you better act quickly plus there are only twenty units left!).  Scarcity turns off your normal willpower and makes thousands of people stampede, riot style, into stores during Black Friday.  This makes for some fun/sad seasonal Black Friday videos watching people fight over the deals, but doesn’t add much value for Kindle books when compared to the free promotion deal.

As a self-publisher, keep the goal in mind when you use promotions.  You are promoting your book to promote sales traffic.  Five days free will bring in more sales and reviews than the scarcity model, which will bring in more profits (but mainly short term).

Still want to try KCDP?  I recommend trying both the KCDP and the FBP and measuring the results for two months.

Trick is, you can only do one of the two promotions during an enrollment period.

Here are some more of the limitations of KCDP:

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. You can’t up your price before you start it. (Your price must be unchanged for at least the past 30 days.)

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. You can’t change the price until 14 days after the Kindle Countdown Deal ends.

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. You can only cancel a running promotion 24 hours before it starts.  Once it starts you have to let it run.

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p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Your normal book price must fall between $2.99 and $24.99

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. The minimum time you can post your listing live under the promotion pricing is one hour.

*
p<>{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Amazon wants your book to be in the KDP Select Program to use this promotion.

The only time KCDP would be a great promotional tool is if your book ranks very well and has a ton of reviews and consistent traffic.  If running a FBP wouldn’t add much to your seller rank (it’s already low with you ranking top of the first page) and you already have reviews flowing off the pages, then you can up your sales by offering a discount to encourage more sales while remaining profitable.  You get to keep your 70% royalty for the price point of $0.99 during the promotion. $0.70 in royalties isn’t a huge number but it beats the typical $0.30.

Think of KCDP as a great short-term results generator.  You up your traffic a bit and your profits a bit.  But, you missed out on the flood of sales traffic and the results that would have come with a free promotion.  Think of the free promotion as a long term result generator.

In more cases than not, the FBP will always be the better pick over the lifetime of your book.

[] How to Influence Changes in Your Book’s Lifespan

For those who plan to make a living writing books as a self-publisher, prepare to write a lot of books.  A big part of that process is maintaining your portfolio.

Make an excel sheet that breaks down your books monthly, over the course of a year.  Keep track of how many sold for each title monthly.  This data is important over time because you can see dips and peaks based on seasonality.  It is common for any type of book to sell better during some months, then dip low for other months.  Your book may appeal to people reading in the summer, for example, or maybe it doesn’t make any sense at all, but the data is there saying the sales in your book dips every winter.

This data collected over a few years gives you a forecasting model for your book’s performance.  Knowing that your series in ‘western fantasy novels’ will dip starting in November to February every year allows you to drop the price during these months to generate more interest and maintain a higher rate of sales traffic compared to competitors.

Monitoring allows you to pick up on an increase in competition, often driving your book lower in sales.  If a book that had a consistent sales figure of around 100 books a month starts to dip to 90, then 80, then 70, month after month, you can see that your book is losing ranking.  If you notice a downward trend in your book by the second month, it’s a good idea to do one or more of the following:

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h3<>{background:transparent;}. Use your free promotion days

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h3<>{background:transparent;}. Set the book at $0.99 for a month to gain ranking

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h3<>{background:transparent;}. Use promotional sites to improve sales and reviews

Amazon doesn’t want only the top sellers in the past to stay dominate in a category.  That’s not fair to newcomers and boring to customers.  They want a gradual rotation happening to have new and fresh things for readers.

There is a natural progression for books in the limelight to slowly fade out to allow others to step up.  You need to identify when this process is happening and fight back using the above steps.

Another tip is to change the category your book is listed in. This seems to be a bit of a loophole in Amazon.  I am just guessing, but I think a book is considered “new” to the system when it enters a different category, because this seems to lift the natural decline Amazon places on books that have been around for a while, allowing you to raise up in ranks again easily.

People think they can write it and forget it.  Sounds pretty sweet to work your butt off, produce a ton of books then sit back and collect passive income.  However, it’s like any other industry that sells a product or service.  You need to constantly monitor and provide maintenance while adding to and improving your line-up.  If you let a book slip for too long then it’s gone without considerable amounts of expensive marketing and promotion.

Every quarter I spend time updating books that have dipped with a new chapter, editing, correcting outdated information, changing covers or adding new information. Your new upload shows Amazon that the book has new information and that it’s actively changing and relevant.

For my fiction books I may add the first twenty pages of the next book or a coupon code to get another series book for free on my website.  I add this to the description or cover to spice it up and show that the book is still receiving love and attention.  You can add a sticker to your cover that says something along the lines of “Updated for (current year).”

A Kindle book that was last uploaded five years ago will slip in rankings compared to a similar book that has a recent re-upload in Amazon’s system.

[] Conclusion

Pricing and the usefulness of marketing and promotions can be confusing for writers who haven’t done their own testing.  I hope that by sharing my own experiences with you I helped you pick the perfect pricing for your book and showed you how to use pricing changes throughout your book’s life cycle and marketing promotions to keep your book healthy and profitable.

There are, of course, outliers that will perform differently.  But it’s safe to say that my model has served me well in self-publishing and will work for you, too.

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Kindle Pricing and Promotion: How to Achieve Optimal Results for Your Kindle Boo

Kindle Pricing & Promotion teaches you how to price your books for optimal results. You’ll see data from personal tests in different book categories showing you how to price your book to balance high volume sales, to maintain high page listings, as well as the best profits possible. The book also looks at my results from popular marketing and promotional sites, both free and paid marketing. Learn how to use marketing and promotion sites for the best possible outcomes and how to correctly publish a new book for improved long term outcomes.

  • Author: Alex Foster
  • Published: 2016-02-29 17:40:10
  • Words: 5963
Kindle Pricing and Promotion: How to Achieve Optimal Results for Your Kindle Boo Kindle Pricing and Promotion: How to Achieve Optimal Results for Your Kindle Boo