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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

$.99 is the New Free

Hey, indie writer. Guess what? Things change.

I know, right? It's crazy. But what worked last year might not work this year. Yes, lots of new Kindle and Nooks and iPads, lots of new readers. And lots and lots of free books filling them up.

Sure, it's great to have 1500 books at your fingertips, in case the zombie apocalypse comes ahead of schedule or whatever, although in that case I hope you have invested in some sort of solar charger. Guess what? Most people will never read 1500 books in their lifetimes.

Game over.

So to sell a book to these people, they'd have to flip through this digital metric shit-ton of books and say to themselves, "None of these are what I want to read. I think I shall go purchase a new one, instead." Then they have to find your obscure ass.

Do you see how unlikely that is? Not to mention, the new ebook machines aren't ebook machines. They're web browsers and Twitterboxes and mobile Facebook units. Angry Birds delivery devices. Do you think your book can compete with Angry Birds? Fuck off.

$.99 books suck all around. People turn their noses up at them, increasingly. The profit margin is practically nil. $.99 screams indie writer. For some reason, a lot of people don't seem to like indie writers. Fuck 'em.

$.99 books move units, though. And they move up the sales charts. Moving up the free charts on Amazon is like...some clever simile I don't feel like coming up with. I don't know. Pissing in the bathtub. Yay! I gave away X amount of books!

Yes, and that is X amount of books you are guaranteed not to sell. Because those people got it for free.

I understand about getting your name out there and acquiring fans. But who wants a bunch of broke people as fans? How likely are they to buy your next book when they already got this one for free? All you really have to do is lay back and wait for the next free run of any given KDP book and it's yours for the clicking.

You're also much more likely to get shit reviews from kooks with an agenda if you give books away. But if you paid $.99 for a book and you didn't like it, that's your fault, not the author's. That's also $.35 in the author's pocket, whether you liked it or not, and actual sales rankings, not a worthless jaunt up the free charts.

So, the next time your KDP Select free promo time rolls around, try making your book $.99 instead. I think you'll be pleased with the results. We need to cultivate book buyers at this point, not book readers. At least I do. I have expensive habits and kids to feed. Girlfriend needs a diamond ring of considerable value. I still want that all black 2010 Chevy Camaro. Hawaii beckons.

You're not going to make it with one book at $.99, no matter what. 10 books at $.99? It could happen. Once you're charting well and things are otherwise running smoothly, then you can switch your price to something profitable without falling back into obscurity. Sure, you have to sell 6 times more books at $.99 to make what you do at $2.99. I'd rather sell 6 than zero, personally.

Writers are as fickle as their readers. I'm sure I'll change my mind in a week or two.  But for now, all of my books are $.99, from the 85,000 word thriller to the stoner zombie novella that seems to piss people off to no end.

I wanted to be a writer, not an economist...

Pageburner, Zombie Killa, Radar Love, Hurricane Regina, Perfect Me, Six Stories Short & Sweet - $.99