Author Topic: Full Price Launch  (Read 4481 times)  

Offline Elizabeth Barone

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1267
  • Gender: Female
  • Watertown, CT
  • Contemporary Romance & Suspense
    • View Profile
    • Elizabeth Barone: Contemporary Romance & Suspense
Full Price Launch
« on: January 13, 2018, 08:26:45 PM »
In August, I went back to school to get a B.S. in marketing. It's one of the areas I've struggled in throughout my career, and I wanted to learn the basic principles of marketing so that I could more effectively sell my books. One of the things I learned about last semester was new product pricing strategies.

Common practice in our industry is to run a pre-order and launch sale, usually $0.99, and then bring the price up to full. This is called market-penetration pricing. That's what I've been doing, too, and though I can move a lot of copies -- and even grabbed three Top 100s for Any Other Love -- it's been hard to make real money. After all, I'm a business. My goal is to make a profit.

There's another pricing strategy for new products, though: market-skimming pricing. You launch the product at a higher price to hopefully gain as much revenue as possible, later dropping it. Apple, for example, does this with their iPhones.

Since every product has a life cycle, your pricing strategy will vary depending on a lot of factors. But I thought this market-skimming pricing concept was interesting, especially since after 30, 60, or 90 days, ebooks tend to move into the mature or even decline stage of the product life cycle. It seemed to me that I'd been doing things backward, that I should be launching at full price and then utilizing a $0.99 promotion to rejuvenate the ebook's sales once it moved into the decline stage. If all my readers are grabbing it at the sale price, there's no one left to scoop up the later $0.99 promotions I tend to run -- unless I want to pour money I don't have into advertising.

This month I released my 12th novel (A Disturbing Prospect), and I launched wide at full price ($3.99). It's ranking about the usual for my releases (I'm not a rockstar by any means). It's also selling comparably to my previous releases. The key difference here, though, is I'm making money.

Your mileage may vary, of course. I know a lot of authors do well with $0.99 launches. However, it's not your only option, and there's science to prove it.

I'm really glad I went back to school. A lot of things are finally clicking for me!

Connect With Me: BlogFacebook | Instagram

Offline C. Gockel

  • Status: A A Milne
  • ******
  • Posts: 4377
  • Chicago, IL
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2018, 08:58:42 PM »
I launched my sci-fi series at full-price and made the money back the first month, despite not doing much in the way of paid advertising.

I launched After the Fire, my PNR series at 99-cents. I didn't do much advertising (I want to save up for when book 2 comes out.) I didn't make my money back until about 3 months later. Maybe if I had spent a lot of money on advertising it would have taken off? Who knows. But next book I will release at $2.99 as the discount price, and run a sale at 99-cents of the first book with lots of paid promo.


I write books about Change, Chaos, and Loki
C. Gockel | facebook | tumblr | website

Offline AmpersandBookInteriors

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1836
  • Because & means more.
    • View Profile
    • Ampersand Book Interiors
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2018, 09:06:00 PM »
In August, I went back to school to get a B.S. in marketing. It's one of the areas I've struggled in throughout my career, and I wanted to learn the basic principles of marketing so that I could more effectively sell my books. One of the things I learned about last semester was new product pricing strategies.

Common practice in our industry is to run a pre-order and launch sale, usually $0.99, and then bring the price up to full. This is called market-penetration pricing. That's what I've been doing, too, and though I can move a lot of copies -- and even grabbed three Top 100s for Any Other Love -- it's been hard to make real money. After all, I'm a business. My goal is to make a profit.

There's another pricing strategy for new products, though: market-skimming pricing. You launch the product at a higher price to hopefully gain as much revenue as possible, later dropping it. Apple, for example, does this with their iPhones.

Since every product has a life cycle, your pricing strategy will vary depending on a lot of factors. But I thought this market-skimming pricing concept was interesting, especially since after 30, 60, or 90 days, ebooks tend to move into the mature or even decline stage of the product life cycle. It seemed to me that I'd been doing things backward, that I should be launching at full price and then utilizing a $0.99 promotion to rejuvenate the ebook's sales once it moved into the decline stage. If all my readers are grabbing it at the sale price, there's no one left to scoop up the later $0.99 promotions I tend to run -- unless I want to pour money I don't have into advertising.

This month I released my 12th novel (A Disturbing Prospect), and I launched wide at full price ($3.99). It's ranking about the usual for my releases (I'm not a rockstar by any means). It's also selling comparably to my previous releases. The key difference here, though, is I'm making money.

Your mileage may vary, of course. I know a lot of authors do well with $0.99 launches. However, it's not your only option, and there's science to prove it.

I'm really glad I went back to school. A lot of things are finally clicking for me!

This makes total sense to me and I've thought about it often. I'm glad to hear there are names for these! I feel like I'd benefit from a business course or two.


Ebook formatting starting at $25.00. Print typesetting starting at $75.00.
Colleen Sheehan | Ampersand Book Interiors

Offline David VanDyke

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1640
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2018, 09:06:37 PM »
I've never, ever launched at 99c, and I make a living. I understand trying 99c launches for those who have no fan base yet, but as soon as you have a fan base, it's better to launch at a "sweet spot" price point and, once you have a few books in the series, promo the book 1 at the 99c and free price points, IMO.


Futuristic Thrillers, Mysteries and Science Fiction
David VanDyke | Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Contact

Offline Elizabeth Barone

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1267
  • Gender: Female
  • Watertown, CT
  • Contemporary Romance & Suspense
    • View Profile
    • Elizabeth Barone: Contemporary Romance & Suspense
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2018, 09:13:38 PM »
I launched my sci-fi series at full-price and made the money back the first month, despite not doing much in the way of paid advertising.

I launched After the Fire, my PNR series at 99-cents. I didn't do much advertising (I want to save up for when book 2 comes out.) I didn't make my money back until about 3 months later. Maybe if I had spent a lot of money on advertising it would have taken off? Who knows. But next book I will release at $2.99 as the discount price, and run a sale at 99-cents of the first book with lots of paid promo.

Yeah, I'm only a week post-launch and I've already made back 40% of my production costs. I think I'll be sticking to this strategy!

This makes total sense to me and I've thought about it often. I'm glad to hear there are names for these! I feel like I'd benefit from a business course or two.

You can't go wrong. Sometimes I feel like it's a lot of information being shoved into my head -- I'm in an accelerated program -- but it is sticking, and things are getting better for me. I feel much more prepared and capable of running a business now.

I've never, ever launched at 99c, and I make a living. I understand trying 99c launches for those who have no fan base yet, but as soon as you have a fan base, it's better to launch at a "sweet spot" price point and, once you have a few books in the series, promo the book 1 at the 99c and free price points, IMO.

That makes sense.

Also, can I just repeat how incredible it feels to actually make money?

Connect With Me: BlogFacebook | Instagram

Offline Ryan W. Mueller

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 224
  • Gender: Male
  • Missour, United States
    • View Profile
    • Ryan W. Mueller
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2018, 10:21:31 PM »
So far, I've always launched at full price. My sales aren't exactly great, so I don't know if it's working that well. Usually, I'll do a $0.99 special once every three months (I'm in KDP select, so that works out pretty well for me). I'm also trying to release a book every three to four months.

Ryan W. Mueller | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Mailing List

Online PaulineMRoss

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3056
  • Gender: Female
  • Nairn, Scotland
    • View Profile
    • The Brightmoon Annals
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2018, 12:47:13 AM »
My strategy for my newest series is to launch book 1 at 99c with mucho promo to build a readership, then up to $2.99, and back to perma-99c when book 3 comes out. Subsequent books in the series release at $2.99, going to $3.99 after a few days. So far, book 1 took 3 months to cover its costs, but book 2, at a sensible price, was in profit the instant it launched because of pre-orders, and book 3 will be, too, when it comes out on Tuesday.

You don't get the high rank, and it likely wouldn't work for a start-from-scratch pen name, but if you already have an established readership it can work very well.

 

Pauline M. Ross (epic fantasy) Website | Mary Kingswood (Regency romances) Website 
Bookbub rejections: 60; SUCCESS!; rejections: 8 and counting...

Offline JBengt

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2018, 02:41:42 AM »
Thanks for this post Elizabeth. Ive been debating this very thing for my upcoming release. Ive always released at full price $3.99 and done well but this next one Im working with a publicist and some of her other clients have been releasing at .99 for one day and then going to full price. They are launching big so I contemplated doing that myself but this post makes me rethink that strategy and stick with the full price launch instead.

J.Bengtsson

Offline The 13th Doctor

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1276
  • Gender: Female
  • Here
    • View Profile
    • Three-Headed Writer
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2018, 05:51:18 AM »
With my next book release, I'm pricing it at least 3.99. I'm done with 99p launches.

Offline ADDavies

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 809
  • Gender: Male
  • Staffordshire, UK
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2018, 05:56:09 AM »
I've found that now I have a small but committed following, $3.99 is the best release strategy. It's probably best for anyone writing in a series or those who have established bases. No promos needed - just a note in the newsletter that it's available. Those following on Amazon/BB/D2D, etc, will be informed automatically.

When I'm close to releasing a new book, I do step up promos on my first(s) in that series ahead of that launch.
Adam Park #5 : 100%

Offline WyandVoidbringer

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 197
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2018, 06:00:57 AM »
0.99 launches don't make sense to me. I've launched both of my books at 3.99 and will continue to do so for every book going forward.

My primary reason for this is to communicate value to the reader by differentiating my books from the glut of 0.99 titles on Amazon. Also, I don't want people scooping up my title just because it's 0.99 and then letting it sit without ever reading it. I prefer to engage people that buy and actually read the book because they are willing to pay a bit more for a quality product.

So far it's working out okay for me.

Sandell Wall | Sandell's Website

Offline Elizabeth Barone

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1267
  • Gender: Female
  • Watertown, CT
  • Contemporary Romance & Suspense
    • View Profile
    • Elizabeth Barone: Contemporary Romance & Suspense
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2018, 08:44:58 AM »
...now I have a small but committed following...

I think that's the key here.

Connect With Me: BlogFacebook | Instagram

Offline anniejocoby

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2180
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2018, 09:12:26 AM »
I would like to offer a dissenting opinion....

The reason to launch at .99 is that the tail is longer when the book becomes full price. Here has been my experience with .99 launches: I launch at .99, and my book stays <3,000 in the store, sometimes <2,000, for the month that it is .99. Then, I make it full price ($3.99) after about a month or so, and it stays high for a long time. It'll be around <3,000 for a month at $3.99, then it gradually, gradually, goes down, and stays in the top 10,000 for months. I think that the reason for this is that I give the algorithms enough time to "catch," when it I do it that way.

Contrast this to my last experiment with not launching at full price, but making the book full price within days of launch. I did that, and, almost overnight, it crashed down to 3,700 in the store. If I would have kept it at full price at that time, it probably would have sank much, much faster than the ones that I launched at .99 and was patient enough for the algorithms to catch them and put my books into also-bought and lists and things.

So, that's why I launch at .99 and keep it there for at least a month - the tail.

YMMV.

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby | ]Badge[/url] | Annie Jocoby website

Offline Amanda M. Lee

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 5089
  • Gender: Female
  • Listen to me, you will.
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2018, 09:18:54 AM »
I think .99 is fine for a loss leader but I really am worried that those who launch every book at .99 are crippling the ecosystem. I can't change that, though. People are going to do what they're going to do. I launch at full price -- or have up until this point. I just raised prices so I will actually launch $1 lower than the new price for at least several months (kind of easing readers in). That means launching at $3.99 (which I've been launching at for years) and moving to $4.99 a couple of months after launch. I'm hopeful that's just a stopgap, though.

Amanda M. Lee

Offline Joseph Malik

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
  • Gender: Male
  • Pacific Northwest
    • View Profile
    • Writing and Fighting with Joseph Malik:
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2018, 09:40:26 AM »
Looking at last year's numbers, it appears that dropping to $0.99 was stupid every time, with the exception of Bookbub. I sold books at $0.99, but I lost money, and any rank boost from dropping the price--with the exception of BB--vanished upon a return to full price.

It appears that the only way to make money at $0.99 is to stay at $0.99, and build your model around it. I don't have that option. I knock out one book per year--I have a day job I love--and I'm in this for the long game.

Going forward, with the exception of Bookbub and the like, my books (edit: ebooks) are $5.99. It's on me to ensure that my readers get what they pay for.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2018, 09:44:56 AM by Joseph Malik »
Dragon's Trail: 100%

The New Magic - 99.5% (out to beta readers)

Coin of the Realm - 5% (treatment complete)


The New Magic, coming in September, 2018.
Website | Blog | Instagram

Offline Lorri Moulton

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1517
  • Gender: Female
  • Author of Romances, Mysteries, and Fairytales
    • View Profile
    • Lavender Lass Books
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2018, 09:57:02 AM »
I plan to launch full price for my second in the series books.  After it's been available for a while, then I'll do some 99c promos.  I'm done having books at 99c unless they're first in a series.  Even then, I bounce back and forth from $3.99 to 99c for newsletter specials. :)

ETA: I am submitting a book to Kindle Scout this spring and plan to have it Free the first five days...after they probably reject it.  Great for marketing and hopefully will bring in new readers.  It's a stand alone that ties in with one of my series.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2018, 09:59:53 AM by Lorri Moulton »

Author of Romances, Mysteries, Fairytales and Historical Non-Fiction.
Lorri Moulton | Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Offline Rosie A.

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 603
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2018, 10:09:19 AM »
With the exception of my first in series, I've launched full price with my books. I don't have a following. It's only been a year since I launched my first title. The reason why I go full price is because I'd like to eventually price high someday, and figured I'd start off with price point in mind. Who knows what it's done for me, probably nothing good...? I don't know. It's nice making a little money because I do sell enough books to pay like, one bill per month or put back into the books. This means pricing high is valuable for me so I have something to work with money-wise.

Elizabeth, you are the picture of what persistence and love of writing looks like to me. This is your 12th published title but you've been working for years, toiling away at what you love while also learning how to market your work to readers. I enjoy reading your posts and just wanted to wish you good luck in school and your writing career. :) Thank you for the inspiration!

20th Century & Western Historical Romance
Rose Historicals Website | Pinterest!

Offline Seneca42

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2018, 10:43:16 AM »
Full priced launches should be the norm for any writer with a following. The only reason they aren't is two-fold:

1) The bigger name indies have been using 99c so everyone thinks that's the key to success
2) Amazon rewards low pricing; and that is the big issue overall... that amazon discourages high profit margins.

Meanwhile, over on Kobo, they are running the book business the way it should be and encouraging authors to price based on the product having some value.

I mean, $3.99 for a full length novel is what we should consider DIRT F'ING CHEAP. Compared to TP, that's 70-90% off!

But because of KU and amazon, 99c has become the new cheap. It's absolutely ludicrous.

I see some pretty big indies with high ranks at 99c and everyone thinks they are huge successes. I just shake my head that this is the new definition of success... basically giving your work away for next to nothing.

Online Mylius Fox

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 402
  • Cognitive syntactical wizard.
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2018, 11:00:32 AM »
Thanks for this post Elizabeth. Ive been debating this very thing for my upcoming release. Ive always released at full price $3.99 and done well but this next one Im working with a publicist and some of her other clients have been releasing at .99 for one day and then going to full price. They are launching big so I contemplated doing that myself but this post makes me rethink that strategy and stick with the full price launch instead.

Welcome to Kboards, I've heard about your book a lot!  :)

Offline Joseph Malik

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
  • Gender: Male
  • Pacific Northwest
    • View Profile
    • Writing and Fighting with Joseph Malik:
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2018, 11:05:37 AM »
basically giving your work away for next to nothing.

This.

Even at $5.99, I'm giving away my life's work for the price of a cut-rate martini.
Dragon's Trail: 100%

The New Magic - 99.5% (out to beta readers)

Coin of the Realm - 5% (treatment complete)


The New Magic, coming in September, 2018.
Website | Blog | Instagram

Offline Lorri Moulton

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1517
  • Gender: Female
  • Author of Romances, Mysteries, and Fairytales
    • View Profile
    • Lavender Lass Books
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2018, 11:23:15 AM »
This.

Even at $5.99, I'm giving away my life's work for the price of a cut-rate martini.

Maybe charge more and include the recipe for a really good martini?

Author of Romances, Mysteries, Fairytales and Historical Non-Fiction.
Lorri Moulton | Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Online Mylius Fox

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 402
  • Cognitive syntactical wizard.
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2018, 11:33:19 AM »
I see some pretty big indies with high ranks at 99c and everyone thinks they are huge successes. I just shake my head that this is the new definition of success... basically giving your work away for next to nothing.

The amount those indies with low rankings and a minimal-barrier-to-entry price point are making on page-reads is probably astounding. They're primarily pricing like that for visibility, I think... like Annie was describing upthread.  ;)

Offline Seneca42

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2018, 11:41:48 AM »
The amount those indies with low rankings and a minimal-barrier-to-entry price point are making on page-reads is probably astounding. They're primarily pricing like that for visibility, I think... like Annie was describing upthread.  ;)

Yes. They are all trying to trick the algo into thinking their book is "hot" so they get visibility with the KU reader and rack up page reads. And I don't know how to say this politely, and it's going to sound way ruder than it's meant to be, but is this what anyone envisioned their life as an author would be? Basically giving their work away to influence an algo in the hopes that they'll be able to be seen by a bunch of bargain-basement readers in a subscription program?

I'm not trying to be critical or pass judgment or anything... I just find it almost impossible to believe this was anyone's ambitions when starting out writing.

Zon has turned this industry into a crying shame.

Online Mylius Fox

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 402
  • Cognitive syntactical wizard.
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2018, 11:44:58 AM »
Yes. They are all trying to trick the algo into thinking their book is "hot" so they get visibility with the KU reader and rack up page reads.

Actually, I suspect it's because they are advertising their launch as well, and $0.99 is an impulse buy.

Offline Cassie Leigh

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1689
    • View Profile
Re: Full Price Launch
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2018, 11:45:12 AM »
I did a post a while back on my blog about something similar: https://mlhumphrey.com/2017/11/08/lets-talk-pricing/ that looked at what you would earn assuming you had customers willing to buy your book at different price levels. There are lots of assumptions behind the analysis (like all the people who'd be willing to buy your book regardless of price find it which is a big one), but basically, all things being equal a price higher initially and then run sales at a lower price point model earns the most.

Problem is, pricing high initially requires a lot of patience. I tried to take that approach with my fantasy series and failed at it more than once by hitting points where I just wanted more sales regardless of what I was paid for them so dropped the price and ran promo on it.


8 Pen Names. Genres: Non-fiction, Speculative Fiction, Romance.
Blog | Video Courses

Buy Scrivener for Windows or Mac