Don’t hate me cause I’m marketing!

My previous post on pricing a first self-published book at $0.99 generated quite a discussion! Once again it shows just how many opinions are out there – some support my strategy, other authors are unhappy with having to give the work away practically for free. My personal view is “this is just what it is” – a free market, where prices are set by the laws of supply and demand. I do think my 2.5 years of hard work are worth more than $0.99, but I will just concentrate on promoting it so hard that before you know, it will be a series and a movie, and I will buy a pair of Manolos, just to see what all the fuss is about. My goal is to get the book into hands of as many readers as possible, with the hope that one of them knows Coen brothers. Seriously, does anyone here know even one of those guys?

Back to the argument of $0.99 vs $X.99. My limited research of two or so months shows that you will get not only better sales, but also better royalties with the $0.99 pricing. How can I prove it? With the power of screenshots and basic math.

Here is the snapshot of my sales and pages read for the last month:

12 Nov sales

For simplicity, let’s concentrate on sales alone (it looks like “pages read” was pretty even over time). During the first half of the month, my price was at $2.99, and it was $0.99 in the second half. I sold 1 copy at $2.99 and 27 copies at $0.99. The royalties were $2.04 and $0.35, respectively. The math, ladies and gentlemen!

1 x $2.04 = $2.04

27 x $0.35 = 9.45

During the second half of the month I did run a disappointing BargainBooksy promo, which resulted in 10 sales. Let’s take them out of equation:

17 x $0.35 = $5.95

I’m depressed now, because the numbers are so dismally small, but that’s besides the point. The point is that I had 17-27 times more sales and about 3-5 times more royalties when I’d dropped the price. The hope is that some of those people will talk about it to their friends. The goal is to get a snowball rolling, so that I (eventually) get a million of these tiny sales.

I guess the time will show if this is overall a winning strategy. The only concern is the inability to advertise with some of the websites that require the book to be discounted by at least 50%, but I hope that by zig-zagging the price, I will comply with that requirement.

Oh, and I have a very exciting update about Bargain Booksy! I’ve emailed them, asking if 10 copies is what I should expect from a promo, and they responded! Not only that, they apologized, said it was too low for the quality of my novel, and offered a $25 credit towards another promo! I was speechless and promptly scheduled a promo for 5 December with a different audience, this time with Chick lit/Romance readers, at a cost of $70. I’ve updated my post on The Most Super-Duper, Exhaustive, Comprehensive, and Current Listing of Free and Paid Book Advertising Websites and Ideas accordingly.

Once again, only time will tell if that was a good decision 🙂


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

59 responses to “Don’t hate me cause I’m marketing!

  1. Very clever, indeed! Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I self-published my first novel my senior year of high school (big mistake but oh well haha). Print only, and all the copies I sold were to people I knew. I bought them myself for a little over $3 a book, sold them for $10. Wigged out when I sold 3 copies on Amazon, but they were for my second grade teacher. Haha. If I did it again, I’d definitely follow this advice. Though I read through the comments on your previous post and maybe starting higher and running more promotions works better. Who knows. I’m hoping I can do something with this year’s NaNo. Thanks for writing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll never hate you. In fact, you’ve given me lots to think about with regard to my own books. Thanks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We’re fighting to float in such an evolving market–I’ve been trying a similar strategy and if participating in the freebie days gives you an edge, why not?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Meghan

    Posted about Shizzle on my blog yesterday. Started it over the weekend and am loving it!


  6. You are such wealth of knowledge! Thanks again for sharing your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Josh Wrenn

    I just bought it. Would have bought it at a higher price, but I’ve been saving money for a move. After I read it, since you basically gave it away, I will do a review on my blog-type-thing, which might be seen by as many as 1 people.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. “I do think my 2.5 years of hard work are worth more than $0.99, but I will just concentrate on promoting it so hard that before you know, it will be a series and a movie, and I will buy a pair of Manolos, just to see what all the fuss is about.” Love this!

    Of COURSE your work is worth more, but those higher prices will come as you write and publish more quality books for your growing fan base.

    I’m about 20 percent through Shizzle, Inc. and am thoroughly enjoying it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. olivia barrington

    I personally think your strategy is a very brilliant plan of action for today’s market. You have to get your book into reader’s hands to become known as an author who writes books that are enjoyable to read. Amazon is a great format to do just that. Anyone with good business sense would know that selling 100 books at $.99 is a better money maker than selling 20 at $2.99. But the most important fact in this scenario is your an author who is trying to become known. So the more readers you reach the better your chances for success. You, my dear, have common sense and a head for business. You will become a successful author, of this I have no doubt. How it is done now is different than it use to be and you have adapted. That alone shows how smart and talented you are. Did you find out about your leave yet? I’ve been sending positive thoughts your way! I know you’ll have your down days but just look at all the things you have accomplished so far in your life. When you do, that alone will prove to you this success will happen. Now back to that sequel!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Alanna Chari

    good read. thanks for checking out my page! follow when you can 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. One other factor to consider is what price will encourage readers to not only buy the book, but also actually read it. I know from experience that I never get around to reading many free books I download. I’m somewhat more likely to read a $.99 book. I’m much more likely to read a $2.99 or $3.99 book because I have more monetary skin in the game. I guess there’s no easy answer to the pricing question.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No there isn’t…here’s something else to consider – I’ve had one reviewer almost apologising for getting the book for free – are people who read free books more likely to post a review as a sort of “payment”?


  12. Seems like writing a book is one thing, a bigger factor is selling them. You need to be an author and a business woman. Both of which you already are.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been following your experience with a lot of interest. As I think I may have commented before, it is extremely helpful to get some insight into the reality of what is involved rather than the, er… somewhat misleading accounts that I tend to find almost everywhere else. I have no idea what strategy is best, but I really hope it all works out for you in the end. Sadly, I don’t know the Coen brothers or I’d definitely put them onto you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Don’t hate me cause I’m marketing! | Toni Kennedy : A Writing Life

  15. No hate, I enjoy the posts and feel this type of blog is useful in this community. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Reblogged this on Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie and commented:
    well said…


  17. I do it like you. Try to get more sales while dropping the price. To be honest: as a no name writer it’s important to get a base before making the price expensive.
    Maybe One or two of those readers will make a review and get other users and followers. The internet is huge and everyone “knows” others. Why not using the market and make it possible.
    Meanwhile you can make readers happy because the less the more. There are lots of people out there who just wanna read but haven’t much money.
    And some authors dropp their books out for free and not to forget Kindle Unlimited.

    The business is hard. Why not true to find an easy way between all the sharks.

    Make it as you like it and find your way. I hope I can sell as much as you once. Even it’s not the world for some but as for an unknown it’s all.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’ve enjoyed both of these posts! I think you’ve exposed a lot of the ins and outs of self-publishing and marketing and for those of us who are new or barely treading into that arena, it’s really an eye opener. Thanks!


  19. Pingback: Don’t hate me cause I’m marketing!    –Some insights from Ana Spoke | Michael P King

  20. Thank you Ana,

    I’m still a long ways from being ready to make a decision about publishing, but you’ve given us such an enormous information about marketing a self-published book that it is more and more of a option. Other authors I’ve met have had similar strategies, but none laid out (or at least explained) so precisely. Thank you.


    • Thank you so much! Sorry, just saw that I never replied – I’m so glad it’s of help! Hope you continue reading – I have a very exciting promo coming up over Thanksgiving, will tell all 🙂


  21. Nice One.. Kudos…!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I for one love these posts. They’re always insightful and give me plenty to think about for when my publishing journey begins. Thanks for paving the way!

    I think it is clear that you are willing to adapt and do what you need to do to adapt. Hope you get your leave of absence. What do you hope to do during the time off?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Anna

    I’ve written 4 books (one of which I pretend doesn’t exist / was never published). A great marketing strategy is to build suspense for the book- especially if you have a blog. Sales this way in the first month are usually pretty high- and the royalties are amazing ($200 on my first one the first month, and $300 on my fourth one in the first month; I didn’t use this strategy for the two books in between them). The problem is drop off sales after the 1st month. If you play the momentum game just right, people will be too excited about the book to complain about the price (with the 4th book, my coauthor and I raised so much excitement about the book that we even got away with a $31.99 price tag on a 180-ish page book- but that price tag was also because of our printing requirements with Amazon, so it wasn’t that we were intentionally gouging the price). So personally, I think it’s much smarter to lower the cost of the book after the first month as opposed to releasing it at $0.99 right off the bat. The price drop should be to keep or maintain interest, not necessarily a strategy to get it in the first place. But that said, if you didn’t do much prior marketing before its release, that rule can also be turned on its head. Same if it is a planned series, where making the first cheap builds interest for a fully priced second or third (etc) book. So either way, it really depends on your base goal and initial marketing strategy to begin with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Anna – perhaps you’re right, actually this is what I did unknowingly – started at $3.99 and then kept dropping prices. My blog is has gone leaps and bounds in just the last few months, so it will be interesting to see what happens with the sequel release.


  24. annapauthor

    Ana, when you changed the price to $.99, did you announce it in any way?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. It’s the battle we authors fight every day. Thanks for the insight, and I can’t wait to read your book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s awesome – thank you! I see it as a game, that way it’s a lot more fun 🙂 Check back in after Thanksgiving – I have a huge promo over 4 days, my prediction is that I’ll get to #1 in Satire 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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