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Price Pulsing, Advertising, and Increasing Visibility on Amazon

| Posted in Book Marketing |

59

As authors, we’re always looking for ways to sell more books. We’re sure everyone (or at least %0.01384 of the population) would adore our stories… if only they knew about them. Obscurity is the enemy, so it’s no wonder that most of us spend hours browsing online forums, blogs, and the pages of Amazon itself in an attempt to figure out the magical formula for getting our books in front of more potential buyers. In the fast-changing digital marketplace (*cough* especially Amazon), fame (AKA visibility) is fleeting and it’s entirely possible to go from being solidly mid-list to having only handfuls of sales from one year to the next (or one month to the next).

I’ve had a good year, so I can’t complain, and May (the release of my sixth Emperor’s Edge novel), June, and July (release of EE7) were particularly fine, but the overall trend this year has been of fewer copies of each title in my series being sold each month. This is, I believe, largely due to the fact that free books aren’t getting quite the visibility at Amazon that they once did. Outside of promotions, I get far fewer downloads of EE1 than I was getting a year ago. In addition to the free lists no longer being displayed side-by-side with the paid lists, my book has dropped so it’s not anywhere near the top of the Top 100 Free for Epic Fantasy any more. That’s natural: there are always new authors coming along and running promos, using KDP Select free days, experimenting with perma-free through price-matching, etc. I just took a look at the Top 20 free in epic fantasy and most of the books were new to me (with the exception of Joseph Lallo’s Book of Deacon which never seems to fall out of the Top 20 — I’d glare and give him the squinty eye, except he’s a really nice guy).

I’ll pop back up there when I pay for an ad on one of the sites that can make a lot of people aware of your books (I have a Bookbub ad lined up for next week), but I don’t expect EE1 to linger in the Top 10 for long. Also, there’s a limit to how many times you can advertise the same book with the same two or three sites that actually deliver a lot of targeted readers.

Of course, everything that happens in the free lists is true for the paid listings too. Sure, some authors are still knocking it out of the park, but others are finding that it’s harder and harder to keep selling well over time, even if you have a great launch. I used to say that if you could work your butt off and hand-sell those first 1,000 ebooks or so, Amazon’s algorithms would kick in and help you continue to sell. I think that’s still true, but if you slack off altogether on your own marketing efforts, you might drop to a much lower level of sales than you might prefer. It seems inevitable, too, that books and series will naturally have their peaks, and then sell less well down the road, no matter what we do (on the positive side, there’s nothing to keep us from writing new books and new series, and it’s unlikely that the sales of the old will dwindle to nothing).

But for those who want to keep tinkering and getting the most visibility and the most sales, what are some tactics we can try?

Price Pulsing + Advertising

Something I’ve done before but didn’t have a name for is what David Gaughran calls “price pulsing” in his Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books. As we’ve talked about before, selling well on Amazon causes Amazon to promote you so you continue to sell well (or even better), at least for a while.

It’s no surprise that it’s often easier to sell well with a less expensive book. Sure, there are exceptions, but for a lot of readers, they’ll try a 99-cent ebook without the hemming and hawing that might go on for an unknown author listed at a higher price point. Of course, the 99-cent price isn’t attractive to authors because you only make about 30 cents per sale since the 70% royalty doesn’t kick in until you list at $2.99 and up (up to $9.99 that is).

With price pulsing, you try to get the best of both worlds. You might set your regular price at $2.99 or higher, but then run 99-cent or even free sales to increase the sheer number of books delivered to people’s e-readers. This gives your Amazon ranking a boost and can increase your visibility in Top 100 lists and other books’ also-boughts, thus resulting in more readers simply stumbling across your books. When you end the sale, you may enjoy that amplified visibility for a while, ultimately selling more copies at your desired price point than you were before. Eventually, the sales may drop off again, but by then you’ve gotten more people to try your series, made some extra money, and perhaps earned a few more reviews. In a couple of months (perhaps to help kick off your next release), you might give this a try again.

It should be noted that just dropping your book to 99 cents may not result in increased sales. I’ve tinkered with this myself with Encrypted (which has never been free), and I rarely saw a bump when I dropped it from $4 to 99 cents if I didn’t do any extra promoting. Bookbub is the best at delivering a lot of targeted readers right now, but they’re also getting harder and harder to get into (not to mention they’re quite expensive for the popular categories). Some folks are having luck with Freebooksy, Kindle Books and Tips, and Kindle Fire Department. A new one I’m trying that isn’t yet charging is The Fussy Librarian. They’re following a similar model to Bookbub (targeting their audience so mystery fans get mysteries and SF fans get SF). Many of these sites want to advertise “bargain books” anyway, so they work well with the price pulsing method.

Do you have to plunk down money to do promotions? No. It’s a popular tactic since some of these sites can reach many readers and because many authors would rather spend their time writing than coming up with clever promotional ideas, but if the money’s not there, you can still go the old-fashioned route of putting together Twitter and Facebook campaigns, sending out emails to that mailing list you should have started by now, running contests on your blog, giving away paperbacks on Goodreads, trying to get yourself interviewed on other people’s sites, and whatever other schemes you can come up with to build awareness of your books. I’ve heard of quite a few people having success running group promotions (i.e. a bunch of historical romance authors will get together, put together a sales page with all of their books listed, and go in together on promotions and buying advertisements). You’ll likely find that all of these promotional methods will be more effective when you’re running a sale on your book.

For myself, I’m plugging the ever-free EE1 right now (it would be interesting to try the price-pulsing technique with going back and forth between free and paid, but I’ve had it for free for two years and figure I might as well keep it that way — I know that’s a lot of what’s helped me increase sales in non-Amazon marketplaces), but I intend to run some sales on my EE1-3 omnibus before the holidays. I had good luck with it at Bookbub in May (I dropped it from $8 to 99 cents for a couple of days, and sold 1500 copies at Amazon), but this time I’m going to rework the blurb and do one of those 3D covers, where it’s super obvious to a reader that they’re getting three novels. I’m also going to (finally) upload a version to Smashwords, so it’ll be available there and at iTunes and Sony as well. We’ll see how that does to get some new folks into the series.

How about you guys? Have you played around with advertising and running sales? What were your results?

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Comments (59)

Great post (as always). I just stumbled across the Fussy Librarian myself and am giving them a test run. I’m also hoping to try my first BookBub promo next month. Interested to see how they both perform.

Thanks for the amazing insight, Lindsay!

-Mat N.

Thanks, Mat. Good luck with Bookbub. I hope we’ll see some more outfits reach the numbers of readers they have. I’d like to be able to recommend lots of places to advertise!

Hilarious typo in the second paragraph, where you compare the free lists to the “pain” lists. I hope you don’t change it! Freudian typos make us smile.

As for the topic at hand, I’ve had better luck with Bookbub than anywhere else. All the other sites combined didn’t equal one Bookbub promo.

That’s been my experience too. Hm, I might have to change that typo. Maybe you shouldn’t have called my attention to it! 😛

Love the “pain” typo! 🙂

Did my first Bookbub promo last month and am very happy with the results (about 2,500 sales over all vendors, and finally got a tiny bit of traction at B&N, whew). Have also had good results with ENT and POI. I am a real believer in price pulsing, and David is a great advocate for indie publishing.

In addition to the sites you listed, I’d like to mention BookGorilla as another site to consider. They send out daily e-mails that subscribers can customize with their favorite genres. It works for me as both a reader and a writer. (An ad with BookGorilla got my novella briefly into the Top Ten for Time Travel on Amazon.) I haven’t had as much luck with Kindle Books and Tips or Kindle Nation Daily, but I have an ad pending with the Fussy Librarian.

Is it too much to ask how many copies you sold using bookgorilla? I’m just starting to think about paid promotion, and money is tight. I’ve heard from others that bookgorilla hadn’t been worth it for them.

Unfortunately, C., I’ve yet to earn back the amount I’ve spent on any paid promotion. My ad on BookGorilla last week was my best performance so far, but I only made $15-$20 worth of sales. Even that small amount was enough to send me briefly up a bestseller list, and I got stronger results this time than I did with my last BG ad in April. Could be due to timing, genre, number of reviews, better positioning in their e-mail, etc.

Wow, you’re the first person I’ve seen with good things to say about BookGorilla. Last I heard, they were putting so many books into their emails that you’d be lucky if a reader noticed any of them. Against my better judgment, I bought an add to advertise my free book there at the beginning of September. Whatever blip in downloads it made was so negligible that I wouldn’t have known the ad had run if someone hadn’t asked how it had done.

I guess it just shows that some of these venues work for some books/genres and not for others.

Lindsay, the reader can choose how many books they will see in their e-mail; I think it’s up to 25 per genre. I have mine set at the maximum, and I do go through the entire e-mail everyday. It’s a rare day when I don’t find at least one item of interest. I’m not sure how many readers look at all the possible titles. If you want your book to be a starred title (appearing in the Top 12), you have to pay more to guarantee that. This time I was lucky enough to be in the #2 slot without paying for it. It’s a rare day for me when someone finds my work outside of a paid promotion, so they do work for me, just not very effectively.

I think that person was me! I’ve considered running a BookGorilla ad, Freebooksy ad, and BookBlast ad all at the same time–just to try and bump me up high enough that Amazon’s own internal promotions start to work for me.

Always love your posts. I’m currently analyzing the best way to run a promotion on my first novel while releasing #2 in the series, so thanks for this helpful post. I’m struggling to decided whether to offer #1 at free or .99.

Another question that is somewhat related is the question of what price point to place newly released novels these days. Is $2.99 the new .99? Is .99 the new free since Amazon isn’t giving much help to freebies anymore? Is $3.99 the new $2.99? See what I’m saying?

Thanks for the post. It helped me process what I’m thinking.

Some authors swear by 2.99 and others seem to do great at 5.99 or higher. It can depend on the book and the genre. You can always experiment with different price points from month to month and see what works best for you.

Thanks for the insights, Lindsay. I just released the first novel in my fantasy series a few weeks ago, so all of these thoughts about pricing and promotion are near and dear to my heart right now. I’m still deciding what will be the best strategy to pursue, but hopefully I’ll have some data of my own to start sharing before too long.

I thought I remembered you saying one time a while back that you were more or less abandoning the vol. 1-3 omnibus edition, but it sounds like it’s back in the spotlight now! Are you thinking that an omnibus might be another good way to introduce readers to the series since you’ve got the full eight books out now (meaning that there are still five more books to purchase even if the omnibus is cheap or free)? Best of luck with the promotion!

Hi Mark,

Good luck with the new fantasy novel!

Yea, I originally only uploaded the omnibus to Amazon and B&N and was concerned that it would cannibalize sales of Books 2 and 3 in the series, so I didn’t promote it much. The boxed sets seem to perform very well with the bargain sites, though (if one book is a deal, three is even better, right?). I also have more books out in the series now that I leave at full price, so there’s that too.

Ed Robertson dropped his Breakers 1-3 collection to 99 cents a few weeks ago, ran some ads for it, and saw it rocket up the charts. Instead of bumping it back up to the regular price, he’s been letting it ride at 99 cents, and it’s 202 in the whole Amazon store as I post this. He was on the Self-Publishing Podcast a couple of weeks ago and IIRC said he was keeping it there because he was getting so many new newsletter subscribers and because he had more books left to go in the series.

I’ve been trying to figure out the beast that’s marketing and ended up writing a book for authors detailing 75 promo sites.

What’s becoming harder is getting any traction off those free books, at least for the other titles. I’m working on my perma-free now.

A few weeks ago I did a bunch of cheaper sites that charge about $10 to $20 for ads or posts. I didn’t see a whole lot, maybe 3 to 4 sales on Books 1 and 2.

My next big marketing push comes in November. I’m doing BookBlast on Nov 6, KFD the next day. Again I’m hoping to get some sales on those next to books in the series.

On Nov 13th I’m trying a different tact and promoting my historical fiction book, which is again the first in a 3-part series, but priced at $3.99. I’m going with Daily Free Books Promo, doing both the US and the UK banner ads in the forums. On the 15th I’ll do a Kboadrs featured book and a Flurries of words bargain deal for 3 days.

One that I’m real curious about, however, is Bookbasset. This site will give you a post profiling 5 of your books, all for $20. I’ve got that on Nov 16 and am focusing both on the historical series and the fantasy trilogy.

The problem’s that I’m pushing the perma-free so it’ll be nearly impossible short-term to see any effect from that on the other paid titles. Some of those sales could come, but they could be weeks or months down the road. That’s why I think many become frustrated with marketing and promos.

I’ll try to post back next month with some results since I’ve already taken up some pretty premium space 🙂

Definitely let us know, Greg. Someone started a thread on the Kboards not that long ago and shared their results with a lot of the smaller advertising opportunities. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,150285.0.html

Since I promised an update after my “free” experiment for the last month, I think you are right about the visibility. With ads (and my first few days out), MA1 shot into the top 200 on the Amazon free store 3 times. I got a small bump in other books afterwards, but after the blaze faded, I think it actually hurt sales because book 1 wasn’t in the “also boughts” anymore. I’m back to $0.99 now (I have a series ad of Kindle Boards soon), but might be looking at price pulsing. I’ve had good luck with the “new” Bookbubs– Book Gorilla and Bookblast (from KindleNation and Kindle Fire Department respectively), so they are good option.

Anyway, my two cents!

It’s kind of starting to sound like there’s a crash from the free ride and then a slow burn at $0.99 to get back up to profitability. Losing those also boughts can really be devastating!

Yea, I still like the idea of having some stuff out there for free, so I can let folks try my work as if they’d checked it out of the library, but it’s definitely lost some of its power for increasing visibility at Amazon.

Obtaining visibility has definitely been a big challenge for me. I tried to sign up for BookBub but got turned down. I tried Ereader News Today, and got turned down there too.

The only paid promotion service I’ve used so far was eBookBooster, and I wouldn’t recommend it. Half the sites they submitted to didn’t post any mention. The other half were pretty useless. I got more downloads from two free days of Kindle Select, with no extra promotion, than from three days of Kindle Select with eBookBooster to help spread the word.

I’ve been turned down by BookBub at least 10 times without 1 success. Just keep plugging away at them, sending a new one out every 4 to 6 weeks.

I got turned down by BookBub a few months ago with a discount promotion. Second try worked though and I have a promo running next month to coincide with a KDP free day for the first book of my series as a part of the promotion for the third book which will be freshly published.

They’re pretty selective and seem to have some preference for big discounts. I don’t know how it factors in, but my first book is also selling far better (currently at 4.99) than it was when I was rejected by them.

Thanks for the insights, Lindsay! I, too, did a BookBub ad on my fantasy boxed set, for a limited-time sale, and also saw a great return.

One thing to know is that Smashwords is no longer accepting 3D covers for books, probably because Apple won’t take them. So, FYI. 😉

I’ve been price-pulsing the first book in my high-tech-gaming-meets-faeries series, between .99 and 2.99 for the past year. The 4th book comes out in November, and I’m torn between continuing to pulse and setting the title to free. I worry that I’ve missed the ‘golden days’ of perma-free. Suppose I could try it and if it doesn’t work, go back to what I was doing before…

Same issue for me. Never did perma-free because I was waiting on Book 4, which should be out in February 2014. By then, I fear perma-free won’t be the way to go anymore.

I think free can still be useful, as long as you’re willing to promote said freebie. It might not be a sure thing as far as increasing sales of subsequent books substantially on Amazon any more (or maybe there are simply too many ebooks in the store for any easy roads to visibility), but I still get a lot of emails from folks thanking me for making EE1 available for free. That is, they say, the reason they tried a series they might not otherwise have, and they went on to buy all the books.

Regarding decreasing downloads of free books, I wonder if this is a case of Amazon’s algorithms simply giving preference to new titles? With the number of ebooks being published getting visibility is a challenge. I wonder if artificially making your first book new could work to increase visibility – perhaps by releasing an enhanced second edition with some slightly updated content? Not sure if things like reviews etc from the previous edition get linked to the new edition though, so that might be a problem.

Hi Mark,

I think it’s more that people now have to click over to see the Top 100 free in any given genre (the Top 100 free used to appear side-by-side with the Top 100 paid).

As far as enhanced editions, I’ve actually thought about that with my first EE novel, mostly to give the die-hard readers a chance to get some fun extras (like DVD bonus material) and make a little money from a book I otherwise give away for free. No, the reviews wouldn’t carry over, though. You’d have to upload it as a whole new title.

As far as I know, new titles get a little bump for 30 days because they appear in the new releases category, but I’m not sure if it’s that big of a boost if you’re not already a big seller with fans lined up to buy the book in those early days.

Kindle Book and Tips and Bookblast were both break even for me with a $.99 title. I consider break even to be good since it’s all about selling the sequels.

ENT is always good for me, and I’m hoping to get back onto Bookbub.

Bargainbooksy was a major fail for me.

The last time I price-pulsed I stayed at $.99 for two months because it was doing well enough that I was afraid of moving back, and then I got sick for 6 weeks and left it … too long. Now I’m back at $2.99 and getting smashed, but I need to leave it there long enough that I can open it up to pulse sales.

I’m going to try making Book 1 free for a short time and not perma-free which is no longer inspiring judging from what I’ve read. Alas, I took too long getting enough books out for perma-free to make sense.

Hit the submit button too soon …

I’m also planning an experimental switch from $.99/2.99 on Book 1 and $5.99 on all other books to $4.99 on all the books. So I would pulse sales from $4.99 temporarily.

Part of what makes me think that may work is that I’m writing novelettes that go with the series: a prequel and a 1.1 with more fill in novelettes to go. I can price the prequel at $.99 or free and Book 1.1 at $2.99.

I have a novellete prequel to my series that I set to perma-free. It’s helping readers find my work – and ALSO doing something interesting in the reviews.

Basically, people leave less-glowing reviews on things they got for free, in large part because it WAS free and, despite not being quite to their tastes, they try it anyway. And then some don’t like it (perhaps rather vocally). By “pre-screening” readers with a free prequel, I tend to get more follow-on reads from people who really love my books, which means that the reviews are quite glowing on the rest of the seriesl. 🙂

Also, I think short fiction doesn’t work for everyone, and some of the reviews on the novellette reflect that.

Glad to see it’s working for someone else! Makes me feel better about the prequel. Though, oddly enough, I’m publishing Book 1.1 first.

Given the problem of discoverability … and my mindset …

Because of the way visibility and the algorithms work on Amazon, I don’t plan on writing full-length novels anymore, except with the Storm Phase series (can’t start a series at full-length and switch midway).

From here on out for me, I will be writing each series as novelettes, novellas, or short novels (50-60k). These will be individual stories and not a single novel broken into a serial. I guess, as an analogy, you could say I’ll be switching from 3 hour movies to short movies and TV episodes.

The indie market supports these well, and I can have more product out regularly which improves discoverability and sales. Also makes things like price pulsing lower-priced books and doing boxed-sets more viable.

Most importantly, I don’t see any reason doing this will affect my ability to tell entertain stories. I know it won’t work for everyone, but I grew up reading comic books first and novels later, so it doesn’t faze me.

I’d be very interested in hearing how this strategy works out as you get going on it. I know that some authors have had success with selling shorter works, but from my own [very limited] experience, my novel sales have been much better. My novel has already sold more copies in one month than what five short stories, one short story collection, and two novelettes have sold over the last year! Perhaps folks are more willing to buy shorter works from authors they already know and love? Good luck with the new writing plan!

My three short stories don’t sell, and one of them is free everywhere but Amazon. Short stories rarely sell well.

The key difference will be moving up to novelette and novella length and making them a series and not standalone works. I think it’s all about having a series.

And I’m only three books published in a 6-7 book series that will still be coming out, so my bases will be covered for two more years.

Oh and I actually bought the first book in your Storm Phase series a few weeks ago, have a bit of a back log at the moment lol, but can’t wait to get around to reading it!

I think you’ve done well with the serial approach and have built up a good fan base that will eat up what you put out next. I’d be surprised if this didn’t work out for you.

My novels sell a lot better than even my tie-in shorter works, and I make more since I can charge more for them, but I like mixing in some novellas and short stories (not that I ever manage to keep them in true short story range), so that I can put them out more often. It is nice to be able to have something new out every couple of months to help keep sales up. I’m doing a series of prequels right now, 3 x 20,000 word stories. Will see how it goes! 🙂

I’m planning on doing the same thing for my first series, “Helldin’s Lore”, that I’ll be releasing in the next few weeks. It’s going to be a novella series. Each book will tell the full story of all of the characters involved and will be readable as stand-alone novellas if the reader wants, but it will still be encouraged to read the entire series. The main connection in the series is that the books are all in the same world and cities, and feature some of the same characters in different time frames. Because each book will tell the story of the next generation of wizards, it’ll be possible to promote each book on it’s on, but readers who follow the books in order will get treats along the way of seeing familiar characters or seeing the outcome of situations that happens in previous books years later. I think it’d be easier to sell each story this way for this particular series, and it’s interesting to see other writers also have similar ideas.

” … but this time I’m going to rework the blurb and do one of those 3D covers, where it’s super obvious to a reader that they’re getting three novels.”

Lindsay: Three-D covers are great, except I found out the hard way that iTunes won’t take them, so be sure to have a flat omnibus cover for them.

Thanks, Maggie. I have a flat one now, so can continue to use that there. I’m mostly concerned about Amazon, since it still accounts for 75% of my sales, and most of these pricing tactics are based on their way their algorithms work.

The only problem I have with running sales is that I always get a whole lot of people who return the book they bought at the non sale price.

Here are some other places to advertise free:

Read Cheaply: http://readcheaply.com/
Bargain eBookhunter: http://bargainebookhunter.com/
Awesomegang: http://awesomegang.com/

…None of these will get you the downloads Bookbub does, but they will get you a few downloads for your book free of charge.

That’s a little surprising. I wouldn’t think many people would even notice that a book they bought was cheaper later down the road. Unless they happen to be leaving a review at the time, I wouldn’t think the average reader would have a reason to go back to the book’s sales page.

“That’s a little surprising. I wouldn’t think many people would even notice that a book they bought was cheaper later down the road.”

Well, my sample size is a little small! It could be a quirk–I think overall my return rate is still less than 2%, which is probably normal?

Ah, yes, I think 1-2% is normal. I may have experienced a couple more returns than normal after a sale, but it just seemed minor in the grand scheme and not noticeable at all when looked at over the returns for the whole month.

2% return rate would be lovely. My return rate after a sale is about 4-6%, but I write YA for the younger spectrum of YA, so this isn’t surprising. My return rate is higher anyway writing YA. Most months I have nearly the same number of returns on all my Storm Phase books 1-3. This is not coincidence but just one of those things.

Glad to know it isn’t just me 😛

I actually found advertising my 2nd in series at 99 cents with Bookbub created a decent return. (I have a 3rd book and a short tie in novella).

Next time I know I can make a second in series sale work better. (Strategies outlined here: http://ibringthefireodin.tumblr.com/post/63674365702/thinking-of-doing-a-second-in-a-series-sale-learn-from)

…now all I have to do is wait until February to advertise with Bookbub again. I’ll probably have a new book out at that time as well.

How do you reduce a book’s price temporarily, anyway? Do you just re-publish it at each place with the new price, and then re-publish it again with the regular price after your discount period? Isn’t it hard to pin down exact times of price-changes that way, especially with Smashwords premium distribution titles? Is there a better way to do it?

[…] Price Pulsing, Advertising, and Increasing Visibility on Amazon (Lindsay Buroker) […]

Your Price Pulsing system fires off a WHAT AM I DOING WRONG flag in my head. Anytime I have set a price on Amazon that is higher than the price for the same book on any of the other sites, Amazon sends me an email stating that I have five or six days to correct that or they will remove the book from Amazon. So, in order to Price Pulse on Amazon, I would have to Price Pulse on all of the bookseller sites that currently carry my books. And, if any of you have attempted to change your price on all the sites, it sometimes takes a month or more to get done on all of the sites. So either I don’t know the proper procedure for changing my price on all of the book sites (and they often change their methods for doing that) or Pulse Pricing won’t work very well for those of us that sell on sites other than Amazon.

However, regarding the 99 cents price, thirty months ago I dropped the eBook price on My Sister’s Keeper (by Bill Benners) to 99 cents and have left it at that price ever since. As a result, after a few months, the book took off on Amazon.com and rose as high as #50 during the one-year wave of raised sales and sold about 65,000 books in that period. Then, it took off on Barnes & Noble rising to #1 on their eBook list and selling more than 165,000 copies over a fifteen month period, then shot to #1 on KOBO for about 2 months, and most recently, took off on Amazon.co.uk rising as high as #1 (currently #6 on Amazon.co.uk as well as #5 on KOBO) and has sold more than 80,000 copies in the UK in the last eight weeks. Total sales to date; 330,000 copies and climbing.

I believe the 99 cents price has worked well to make this book visible and to help me establish a readership for my next release.

Bill, Kobo and B&N update their prices quickly if you use their self-publishing dashboards rather than going through a distributor. If I’m going to run a short sale, I don’t bother lowering the prices on the stores where I know it will take a while (because I’m going through Smashwords to get into them, i.e. Sony and iTunes). A lot of the bargain book sites where you can advertise only link to Amazon anyway.

Congrats on your awesome sales!

When you price pulse, it’s a short-term sale, not raise of the price. And if the other retailers are too slow (ie. you don’t have direct access) then only do it at the ones where you can quickly and nimbly drop and then raise the price. Leave Smashwords distributed titles out of any price pulsing you’re planning on doing.

Direct to the retailers takes a day or two for price changes to filter through. 😉

We are about to start a Publishing Club at Laguna Woods Village in southern California. We are a retirement community with many would-be authors, artists, photographers, illustrators, etc.
In fact it is probably the number one interest in our Village of 20,000.
We need all the advice we can get.
Your entries are very informative and will serve us well.

Good luck with your club, Peggy! 🙂

I have some current data if anyone is interested.

Just did a promo at BookBlast yesterday. I sold 108 books in the first six hours. My political thriller, Closure, jumped into 12th place in its genre at Amazon. Its overall ranking is at 1600 in the Kindle store.

Not BookBub numbers but still a nice bump. I think BookBlast will be a contender if they keep showing results like this. I’m happy.

[…] Buroker discusses various pricing tactics. She has some of the best information, strategies, and logic for pricing […]

Hi Lindsay, that was a very interesting post.

I hadn’t heard of you, or the Emperor’s Edge series till it appeared in the recent StoryBundle for books 1-3 and I was kind of intrigued by the book but not enough initially to plunk for the bundle (I have enough other books to read). So I went over Amazon’s Kindle portal and found the first book to see the reviews & discovered that book 1 was free.

Which rather than put me off, made me download it and start reading to see if I’d like it. Not long after I’d finished the first book and was wanting more so ponied up for the StoryBundle version, and down the line I’ll get the rest of the books I think. (I’m mostly through 2 at the moment, reading has taken a backseat lately, but thus far I want to keep following their adventures)

Having the first book of the series free, for me, was great because it led me to trying the series which honestly I’d have otherwise passed on.

Price pulsing definitely seems to work in the iOS app world, where the drops in price bring in those that are on the fence about buying an app as its outside what they want to pay for it but also helps down the line with visibility and word of mouth. I hope it continues to work well for you in the book world.

Thanks for giving the EE books a try, Robert, and for stopping by to comment!

Great article. I price my books at $3.99 or $4.99 but run a $1.99 or 99 cent sale and it does well. I’ve advertised twice with bookbub with good results but have had no luck with them lately. I now work for a new company that is doing what bookbub does, but has added a few things like advertising for new releases and competitions and give-aways, they also have a blog. Hopefully Booktastik.com will rival bookbub one day because authors need as many advertising avenues as possible :).

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