Ebook sales, part 2

After yesterday’s post, I was asked what I’d done to promote Peace, Love, and Murder that might account for its steady, month-to-month increase in sales. The answer is not a whole lot—especially when compared to the effort I make to promote the Deadtown books.

Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve done to promote PLM:

  • In April, when I released the ebook edition, I gave away 20 copies on Library Thing.
  • At that time, I also contacted about a dozen book bloggers who focus on ebooks and review mysteries.
  • In May, I dropped the price to 99 cents and mentioned it here and on social networking sites.
  • Earlier this month, I did an interview and giveaway at one of the blogs that had reviewed the book.
  • I bought an Ebook of the Day sponsorship at Kindle Nation, which ran yesterday.
  • I bought a sponsorship at the Frugal eReader (another great site for discovering inexpensive ebooks), which will run next month. I’ll be doing a giveaway on the same site in October.

I think it also helped that Amazon linked the Kindle edition to the hardcover edition published in 2009. Reviews carried over, so the ebook edition didn’t start off with a blank page in that regard.

Price obviously makes a difference. Sales picked up when I dropped the price to 99 cents. At that price, a book is an impulse buy. Do people read their impulse purchases? Some do; some don’t. I have stacks of books that I picked up at Ithaca’s huge spring and fall book sales that I haven’t yet read. It’s the same thing.

Amazon pays self-publishers a 70% royalty for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99. For any price outside that range, Amazon pays 35%. That means I could make slightly more selling 10 copies a day at $2.99 than I make at my current average of 50 a day for 99 cents.

So why don’t I raise the price? Visibility. A higher sales volume means that PLM sometimes gets onto the Top 100 genre lists. Yesterday, for example, it reached 78 on the Top 100 Mystery list. Getting onto those lists increases visibility, and the book starts to show up as a suggestion on other books’ pages (in the “People who bought X also bought Y” section, for example). At a higher price, I could do better with far fewer sales. But the book would also lose its sales rank standing and become harder for people to find. I think I’d lose sales due to both the higher price and the loss of visibility.

Besides, mostly I’m hoping that people will buy and read the book. Each sale is 35 cents I wouldn’t have made if the book were only being sold as a $26 hardcover.  I always intended PLM to be the first book in a series. Releasing it as an inexpensive (okay, dirt cheap) ebook means more people will discover and start the series and want to find out what happens next. That’s my hope, anyway!


About nancyholzner

6 responses to “Ebook sales, part 2

  • Sharon S.

    called smart marketing! And then there is the word of mouth. If it is a good story word gets around eventually. The bad books drop off the charts and the good ones rise.

    • nancyholzner

      It’s true, Sharon–word of mouth is the holy grail. That’s why I talk books with my friends and appreciate all the other readers who do the same thing.

  • Deborah Blake

    This is a fascinating inside look at the proces! Thanks for sharing.

    • nancyholzner

      I always appreciate it when other authors share details about both *how* they’re doing and *what* they’re doing, so I figured I’d share, too. If the book loses its momentum, I suppose I’ll talk about that, as well.

      I’ll tell you one thing, though. I wish I’d written the sequel (or several sequels) to Peace, Love, and Murder years ago. With the first doing pretty well at the moment, I’d love to have more available for readers who’d like to follow the series. I’ll get there, but I really wish I had a couple of other titles to offer right now.

  • Wanda Garner

    Just finished your book. I could not stop reading till I reached the end. I loved the people..I never caught on until the end … Very well written. I felt like I was there..I hope you write a sequel…I would be there reading them…

    • nancyholzner

      Hi, Wanda!

      Thanks so much. I’m really happy to hear you enjoyed it. I’ll definitely be writing a sequel (I have two sequels plotted out at the moment) and plan to work on it this fall. When the sequel is available, I’ll announce it here. Thanks again!

      P.S. Tell your friends! 🙂

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