Author Topic: Pricing first book  (Read 1886 times)

sandree

Pricing first book
« on: February 23, 2019, 11:01:13 PM »
I have taken the plunge into the ocean of self published books and Iím afraid my book will quickly sink to the bottom. I published wide, without ARC reviews (mostly because I hadnít figured out what they were until recently). Anyway, my competition in sci fi looks like it is heavily enrolled in KU and the ebook prices outside KU are very low to $0.00. How do I get seen with that scenario? I started with a $4.99 price, naively thinking that I should be paid for my product. I have sold - probably only to people on my tiny mailing list - I think I personally know everyone who bought a book - many of them paperbacks. I just lowered the price to $2.99 to try to find some ebook readers... I honestly think the book is good, though not written to market. Am I just doomed to sink without a trace? Itís been out for 9 days. I know - write another book. Iím on it. But any way to sell this one? Maybe I should have gone into KU - or would it be the same there? Run an AMS ad?

LilyBLily

Re: Pricing first book
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2019, 11:53:16 PM »
Advertise. Get an Amazon ad going immediately. You don't need to discount your cover price to do these ads. There's plenty of info around about how to select keywords and how much to bid. The short version:
1. Make a list of books similar to yours.
2. Use the author names and the book titles as keywords.
3. Look for more of the same and add them to your ad.
4. Recently, Amazon Ads has added the ability to use negative keywords. If you have any fear that your book may be mistaken for a different kind of book, use some of those, too. For instance, for my squeaky clean romances, I use negative keywords such as "sexy, hot, steamy." 
5. Don't blow the budget. Start with bids and total daily budgets you can afford.

Science fiction has a huge audience for ebooks, but it has various segments, so make sure your ad copy and your keywords place you in the right subcategories.

And congratulations! It's a heady feeling to have a first book out. Enjoy it.
 
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Pricing first book
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2019, 02:48:22 AM »
My experience with new releases, especially first books, is that they probably won't sell much (short of lightning striking) unless you advertise the **** out of them. I'm a big believer in a $0.99 intro price and advertising through every legitimate promoter who will take the book. Many are receptive to new releases with few or no reviews. Some enable you to list your links to major wide stores as well as to Amazon. It is hard to get a positive ROI in this way at first, but for some books it may be the necessary foundation.

Note that there is a school of thought that you shouldn't advertise a new book (except through Amazon) until you have at least two more in the series available. The sell-through enables you to get better ROI. Personally, I think it's better to try to build a fan base over time than to wait, but there are success stories on both sides of that discussion.

Reviews accumulate slowly. Conventional wisdom suggests you might get one per 1,000 or more sales. If you want to accelerate that process, there are legitimate ARC services, and you can use them any time, not just at release, despite the name. Legitimate services don't compensate readers except with a free copy of the book(you pay them for the service, but none of that goes to the reviewers) and don't do anything else to influence the kind of review that they leave. Because of that, reviews will vary. It's wise to make sure the book is the best it can possibly be before using that kind of service. (Of course, it's ideal to do that before publishing, anyway.) Even with a great book, not everyone will love it, but if you've put your best foot forward, the reviews will naturally tend to be better than if you haven't. Because tastes are so different, it's worth noting that reviews from an honest company will always vary. My latest release is currently accumulating ARCs from Hidden Gems (which I highly recommend) and Book Sends (which I'm using for the first time but which has operated as reputable promoter for some time). Currently, I have 12 reviews, five five-star, four four-star,  one three-star, and two two-stars. I took some risks in that book that didn't pay off with all the reviewers, so I'm not surprised by the mixed outcome, but it does help validate the honesty of the companies involved.

All of that said, much depends on your budget. If you can't afford to do much advertising, then don't. The growth process will be much slower, but over time you will still accumulate some fans if the book is good. Achieving real success in self-publishing can be a slow process.


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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Pricing first book
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2019, 02:59:58 AM »
On a separate note, for building mailing lists, I recommend Book Funnel. It's a service that lets you upload book files and then participate in group promos with other authors in which you give away copies of a book in exchange for subscriptions to your email list.

The "books" you give away need not be full-length novels. You can give away a preview of your novel (but be sure it's marked properly and check the promo rules in each case). What I'd recommend is writing a short story in the same genre, and maybe with some relationship to your novel.

I just started using Book Funnel, so I can't verify this from personal experience, but I have heard that Book Funnel subscribers are fairly well-engaged subscribers. After all, these are people who are readers, and the ones who check out SF promos will be SF readers. I've also used giveaways of other sorts to build emails lists, and subscribers from giveaways tend to interact mostly with other giveaways.


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
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Tom Wood

Re: Pricing first book
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2019, 03:11:03 AM »
Just as a follow-on to Bill's suggestion regarding Bookfunnel (BF) - I had a back-and-forth with BookBub (BB) about whether I could run an ad there at BB (the 300x250 one) that pointed to BF so people could get ARCs. BB won't let you point to the BF type page that asks for an email, but they will let you point to a BF 'download' page where it's a one-click download without collecting an email.
 
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sandree

Re: Pricing first book
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2019, 04:06:47 AM »
Thank you... I will start with an AMS ad. Working on reviews also. Itís good to know to know that there are things I can do...


Vijaya

Re: Pricing first book
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2019, 05:04:58 AM »
Congratulations Willow! Next up for me is also learning how to use AMS, so thanks for asking the question and for the helpful replies.  :Tup2:


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