99¢ ebooks here!

Do I really have to say anything else?  I have dropped my ebook prices, across the board, to 99¢ ($0.99US). Well, except for the free books.  They're still free. Okay, maybe I need to say a bit more about this.  As in: Why did I do it?

The short answer is, I did it because my book sales have been in a slump for the past few months.  I could, of course, speculate on all sorts of arcane market forces, bad breaks, genre popularity slips and pirate conspiracies to account for that, but I’m pretty sure the primary reason is that no one knows about my books, and no one who’s bought my books is telling anyone else about them.  That’s a shame, because my original marketing strategy was supposed to take advantage of word-of-mouth to get my books going in the market.  Unfortunately, it looks like the initial push I got from word-of-mouth did not generate enough inertia to get them very far, and now the books are stranded in stagnant waters.

That means I must ramp up my marketing efforts to keep the books going.  I’m still looking into many other strategies I can apply, but one of the quickest and easiest was to drop my prices; so I decided to do that now, while the other strategies are in-process.

Why 99¢?  That was a tough one for me, for two reasons.  First, my books were previously on sale for $2.99US.  Compared to most of the ebooks out there, at $8 and up, I thought that was a great deal, and I didn’t think my books would need to be priced any lower to make them stand out in the market.  The second reason is that there is still a stigma against the 99¢ ebook; it is often perceived that it must be cheap in content because it is cheap in price, and probably not worth buying except as a curiosity, an impulse buy, a throw-away purchase.  It’s a tough stigma to break, especially as so many 99¢ ebooks really are garbage…

However, at $2.99 sales of my books were about as dry as our East Coast summer.  Also, there is also a lot of evidence that 99¢ ebooks can do well in the market, providing the jump-start for many books and series.  And apparently a lot of ebook consumers are committed to the idea that ebooks in general cost far too much—being, like, just electrons and all—and fight against paying more than a few bucks for any but the most best-selling authors.  Many ebook consumers base their ebook searches on price, making 99¢ ebooks prominent on their search lists.

The 99¢ ebook hasn’t done magically well for all authors, of course; however, there are enough authors who have reported notable success with the 99¢ ebook, and recommend it to other authors (including me), that I have finally overcome my reluctance and decided to take the plunge.

So, that’s it.  Nothing philosophical or personal or Machiavellian about the decision… just a practical marketing ploy by a practical ebook writer.  Obviously, I’m not expecting Hocking numbers (if I wanted that, I’d be writing about sparkly vampires), but hopefully sales will get a noticeable bump from the price change, and I might earn enough to take my wife out to dinner.  Once.

 

6 Comments on 99¢ ebooks here!

  1. Alexander Inglis // July 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm //

    You might consider lobbying existing readers to post reviews on Amazon and continue to work more indie blogs, etc. Debbi Mack “Identity Crisis” and Gary Ponzo “A Touch of Deceit” each have two novels, well review (40 to 60 reviews) and pop up regularly in writers online events, have active Facebook and other push marketing to drive sales. Word of Mouth is critical. Cover art is another investment worth making as Lee Goldberg has shown. You got great assets in a ready to go “back catalogue” and you work in a very popular genre. So, good luck!

  2. Brian / AnemicOak // July 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm //

    I picked up Verdant Pioneers (thanks for the help Steve), but then I’d have picked it up for $2.99 if I’d known it was out. I’ve read all of the Kestrel books as well as Verdant Skies and liked them all.

  3. Logan Kennelly // July 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm //

    Unfortunately, I’ve still read only a single Steven Lyle Jordan book, Evoguía, but it is quite good and well worth your time.

  4. Robert Nagle // July 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm //

    I notice that you host and sell some of your ebooks. YOu use paypal; do you use another service to generate the download URL? Robert Nagle http://www.imaginaryplanet.net/weblogs/idiotprogrammer/

  5. Steven Lyle Jordan // July 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm //

    Yes: I use LinklokIPN, a PayPal-approved software set that automates the process of generating the download URL and emailing it to the purchaser. It’s easy enough for a web developer moderately familiar with HTML coding and CGI accessing. One-time charge for as many products as you want… I recommend it.

  6. Edit: I did receive an email with download links: it just took a bit longer. It would help to say on the download page that the purchaser will also receive an email with those links. Less confusion means a happier book-buyer. :)

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