I am sitting in an airport lounge early in the morning, bleary eyed and wishing I drank caffeine. I’ve never been a morning person, and I can’t drink caffeine anymore, so… yeah, not a good combo. The reason it’s an issue this morning is that I am trying to make sense of my marketing calendar. Now, theoretically, this calendar keeps my marketing strategy organized. And it certainly keeps me more organized than not having one. But I wouldn’t say I have developed a fool-proof system quite yet!
My problem today is that I was supposed to raise the price on Undaunted Love last night and forgot (we were celebrating my son’s 17th birthday, so I do have an excuse!). I had lowered the purchase price of the Kindle edition to $1.99 after my super successful free promo, and the sale ended yesterday. Amazon takes anywhere from 6-24 hours to make changes when you use the Kindle dashboard, although I’ve found it’s really more like 6-8, so I’d intended to do it last night. Oh well…
And what my brain was working on was what price to use. For the most part, my books are priced at $3.99. I think that’s a good price, which I arrived at after having them at $2.99 awhile and experimenting. I didn’t see any dip in sales when I moved them to $3.99, so that’s where I landed. So that seems straight forward, except nothing in this business is! I have left IXEOS at $2.99, since it is book 1 of the IXEOS Trilogy for the last couple of weeks, and probably will keep it there as an inducement for people to start reading the series. I may do the same for Solomon’s Throne, or I may wait until I have the 3rd book out. Undaunted Love is basically a stand-alone book, as it’s the only historical romance. There’s nowhere for the readers to go from there, although I do think that most of the Undaunted Love fans would enjoy the Quinn Adventures. So as my fingers hovered over the keys, I tried to decide: $2.99 or $3.99. Yeah, it’s only a buck difference, and a buck difference in my bank account. But with enough sales, those bucks add up!
I decided to leave it at $2.99 and see what happens over the 10 days I’m gone. I may or may not have internet, and even if I do, I discovered last year that I can’t change anything on my Amazon dashboard from an ISP out of the country. I could text my daughter to change things for me – she’s in charge of changing the price on my husband’s book next Friday – but I’ll probably leave it for 10 days and see what happens.
And there’s the “moral” of this tale… Most of what we do as indie authors is “try it and see what happens.” KDP Select works for me, but some people have very little success. Smashwords, Kobo, Apple and Barnes & Noble work great for some people; I’ve heard tell of authors who get 50% of their Amazon sales from those combined. For me, Amazon accounts for 98% of my sales, so the exclusivity issue isn’t an issue. (And I like getting the borrows on my books (about $2/ea), and the free days can be fun.) BookBub works great for me, as I’ve written about before; some people either can’t get listed or don’t have a lot of downloads from it. Ditto the many other marketing outlets. (I had 2 free days with IXEOS earlier this week, and used Book Gorilla and eBookBooster. I just over 1,000 downloads, as opposed to over 20,000 last time when I used BookBub.)
So don’t be afraid to experiment. At first, you’re going to “waste” a good bit of money on marketing. That’s okay! First of all, it’s a tax deductible business expense. Second, you don’t know what does work until you’ve tried a lot of things that don’t. When you find what works, ride it until it starts to fade. Then start over. Kind of like the old “lather, rinse, repeat” that shampoo bottles used to endorse. Even the best marketing plan will go stale with time, and you will have reached all the people using those outlets. You can do one of two things – stay with what you’ve done and wonder what’s wrong with your book (nothing), or adapt to the changing times. Just like all businesses, those who adapt have the best chance of survival.
Marketing is hard (and book pricing is part of marketing). But it’s not impossible, especially if you approach it with the right mindset. And if we all stick together!