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There’s plenty more to ebook pricing than free, 99 cents or $2.99

See on Scoop.itWriting and reading fiction

When pricing an ebook, publishers should think of innovative models. Here are seven ideas publishers, distributors, and authors should consider.

Robert Chazz Chute‘s insight:

In this post on Digital Book World by Beth Bacon (learn at the link!), she suggests we widen our pricing options and she suggests seven interesting options to consider.


Here are more possibilities I’d add to her list of possibilities to noodle with:


1. Make the first book in a series perma-free. Make each new book in the series incrementally more expensive as the series grows in popularity. Give discounts for batches. For instance, selling Books 2, 3 and 4 at once at one discounted price. Steadily escalate your prices. Fans who get in early pay less.


Or go with members-only discounts for the biggest fans. Reward your biggest supporters who knew you before you were famous with exclusive merch, or behind-the-scenes video of the making of the audiobook.) Chuck Pahlaniuk has his variation of this and it’s called The Cult. Start with Smashwords coupons for discounts to people who love you and who are influencers anxious to spread the good word of your awesomeness.


2. Be less proprietary to gain new readers. For instance, encourage fan fic as the author of Wool does. The theory is that, instead of diluting your work, he’s creating a larger funnel. The hypothesis has already proved mind-rippingly successful with a lesser book. That’s how Fifty Shades started out, so that’s not as crazy as it may sound.


3. Get into more channels and generate more income streams (and produce more faster) with co-authors and crowd-sourcing. 

Good example: Hit RECord because the tone set is open-eyed, cooperative revenue sharing. More of these sites seem to be popping up. Bad examples: James Patterson and James Frey, because the tone is usery and cynical opportunism.


4. Charge readers less on Amazon because the big dog sells more. This one will drive someone insane with rage. However, flawed channels, small channels or channels that are more difficult to publish to take more time and energy from the author/publisher with fewer positive results. Make consumers pay a premium for the trouble and inconvenience. Those that do pay a higher price might make it worth your trouble. (I’m looking at you, Apple.)

I admit that many authors will hate this idea, scream about punishing consumers, hurting ourselves and so on. However, if you call it "split testing", suddenly it will sound entirely reasonable. Reframe the practice and you’ll sound stupid if you don’t do it.


5. Broaden your platform with more free or cheap, but very short, ebooks as introductions and samplers. I’m thinking of "The Universe Doesn’t Give a Flying F*** About You" by Johnny B Truant. It’s worked for Truant to gain subscribers to his email list and expand his readership and brand awareness.


6. Expand your readership by combining catering to niches and repurposing material. I’m considering this with an upcoming title. If done carefully, I’m thinking this could work very well. Suppose you have a romance: Our Summer in Paris. Now suppose you introduce supernatural elements and werewolves: Our Summer in Paris WEREWOLVED!


7. Unpublish books. Somebody just fell on the floor, but pull your iPad closer, breathe deeply and reconsider: Scarcity provides value.


Suppose you have more than fifteen books/short stories on your channel’s sales page. Many regular readers here would qualify. Sure, they’re all gems to someone but they don’t all sell as well and your less popular books are making it hard for casual browsers to find your most popular titles. Clutter slows sales movement and blocks discovery by potential fans. Your fans buy everything you put out anyway, so they already have your old stuff. Encourage sales and get a happy introduction: Take down the old stuff and offer it as a bonus to new readers when they buy your primo stuff.


I don’t blame authors who are resistant to the 80/20 rule, but consider making business decisions rather than emotional decisions to win more readers in the long run. Eighty percent of your sales come from 20 percent of your efforts. Choose wisely.


When you have a carve out a big enough fan base (i.e. Neil Gaiman, Joe Rogan, Kevin Smith) your core fan base becomes your 20 percent and you don’t have to work so hard at gaining new fans. You’ll retire on the fanatics. It’s arguable that, due to market fragmentation, that sort of base-building isn’t possible anymore. That’s an argument for a different post on another day.


Summary: The point I share with Beth Bacon is that we need to be open to price experimentation to find the sweet spot (or rather, sweet spots, since there are likely to be several over the life of each book). There are many more options in pricing and funneling than most authors and publishers usually consider. The ideas I’ve added in the commentary here are my own so if you have heat to give, give it to me here. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts and suggestions for more possibilities.


Learn about Beth Bacon’s thoughts at the DBW through the Scoopit! Link below.



See on www.digitalbookworld.com

Filed under: publishing

One Response

  1. […] There’s plenty more to ebook pricing than free, 99 cents or $2.99 […]

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