Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Sale and Unmentioned Benefits of Amazon Kindle

The Dragon's Tear

For the next seven days, my novel, The Dragon's Tear, will be on sale from $3.99 to $0.99. That's 76% off in marketing speak. The price isn't too far from what was originally planned.

When I started this nearly two years ago, Self-Publishing was first making big waves. Amazon's Kindle was redefining the book publishing business, and everyone else was trying to catch up to it. Traditional publishers had ebooks, they were available, but terribly overpriced. It was normal to find a New York Times bestseller pricing its ebook at $14-$18, nearly the same price, if not the same price as the physical copy. Self-published authors turned the world upside down by establishing two tiers of prices for ebooks, $0.99 and $2.99.

This was the response to Amazon's royalty structure, that is still around today. The author makes 35% off $0.99, and 75% off $2.99. At $2.98, the author makes 35%. People were buying ebooks by the cartload, because of how cheap they were. Authors were making less off $0.99, but they were getting a hell of lot more readers. The $1.99 never took off, and a Smashwords study shows that it's a black hole of no sales.

The times have changed, and a new price tier has arrived, the $3.99 level. A common, and valid, complaint to self-published authors is they are undervaluing their work. Authors don't make much, and with lower prices, they are making even less. The $20, $12, and $8 book author now has to compete with $2.99, $0.99, and even free. Ebooks were a devaluing force. What no one talked about, was self-published authors would increase their value, and consumers wouldn't mind.

The new price has been accepted openly by readers, and has increased the revenue and power of self-published authors. I loved this idea, and I wanted to take part in this change of perception, so I put the price of The Dragon's Tear to $3.99 and watched. Originally, I debated whether to be a $0.99 or $2.99 author. I'm new and need readers, so $0.99 was appealing. One the other hand, the devaluation of work is real, so I wanted to stand against it with a price of $2.99 and help my fellow writers out.

By being exclusive with Amazon via their Kindle Direct Select program, I can create my own sales promotions to allow the chance to get my book out in the world. I can simultaneously be on the front lines of self-publishing, as well as receive the benefits of the lower tier price points, namely, readers.

What I've never seen mentioned, is the flexibility of Amazon's exclusive three month contract. If I had uploaded to other retailers, such as Nook and Kobo, I would not be able to do a sale without plenty of hassle. The price on Amazon cannot go lower, unless it's the same price elsewhere. This means The Dragon's Tear would have to be $0.99 first, before the price reflects on Amazon. the tricky part is, it's automatic, it can take a week or more before the price changes.

At the end of the day, I couldn't have done a sale like this without being exclusive to Amazon. It simply wouldn't have happened. The sale would have been a price drop, and I want to keep helping the self-publishing cause. Since I started writing, nothing has made me happier, so enjoy the book. I enjoyed making it.