I set the price of “Milligan and the Samurai Rebels” at $4.99 for the first eight months it was on sale, pitching it lower than the price of an e-book by an established author but higher than that for those novels at the trashier end of the scale and/or aimed at the more cost-consciousness younger person market. That still seems about right in terms of value. But as the self-publishing advice manuals say, authors should forget “value” or “worth”. This is not a moral question: price should be set to maximise sales and earnings. Er...OK, but there seems to be a trade-off between those.
This last week I have tried my first experiment, dropping the e-book price to $0.99 (buy before Monday, 11th February - go on, do it now before you miss the bargain of a lifetime weekend!). Because at this lower price I only get 30% from Amazon, not the 70% I was getting at the previous price, my revenue per book has fallen to one-tenth of what it was. And sales? Well, they have doubled, so price does make a difference. From a strictly economic perspective this is a disaster - income from e-book sales is down 80% - but then I’m selling more and like most self-published authors I’m not in this only or even primarily for the money. Let’s see what happens when the price goes back up next week.
The most interesting part of this experiment is that sales in the US - my and most authors’ largest e-book market - have only slightly ticked up. But sales in the UK have increased dramatically at the lower price. My fellow Brits - you’re cheap b*stards!