I personally have tried twice now to have the novels available for .99 cents from the start date of the pre-order going live through release day. Then I change the price to usually $3.99 or $4.99 based on the novel's length. I'm a nobody, but this has worked so far. I get a trickle of sales depending on how I market my permafree titles or my KU titles after I increase the price and while I sell less copies, I do make more money overall. This will be my ninth published book so that may be why it seems to work for me. I'm not a known author, but I do have a pocket of readers returning for each new book. Just my two cents.
I've never released a book at 99c. IMO it wastes your discount ammo up front. I'm not saying it can never work, but it is no panacea. Maybe if you did a rapid release of the first three in a series with the fourth in pre-order and book 1 started at 99c, I can see it.
But releasing subsequent books at 99c? No way, IMO and IME.
All of my Ksennia shorts are 99 cents, so I launch them there and leave them. And all of my smutty shorts I launch at 2.99, and I leave them there. I have experimented a bit with price changes over the years and have never seen much of a change, either way. So I have gotten lazy, and the price they release at is the price they stay.
If that's what authors in your genre are doing, it's probably what you'll have to do.
There's more to releasing books than free or .99. You have to know what works in your genre, whether that's for only books or books from those with a good back list, and what will work for you (which you only learn by doing). And then there's advertising. A free or .99 book is pointless if people don't know it's there.
The sweet point for my novellas is 0.99. I've tried increasing them but get little traction. And I can always say they're discounted as I'm small fish and nobody has looked at them ebforehand to compare prices.
You can promote a new book if you've got enough reviews after 1-2 weeks. So I price my new book for 1-2 weeks at $0.99 right off the bat, then raise to my normal price at $3.99. I've done this successfully for my past three launches.
I like promoting new books with promos, but if you don't run launch promos, I wouldn't do this (maybe discount just for the preorder).
This works for getting my book ranked high on Hot New Releases (and some regular categories).
Its a fallacy. People think if their book is priced at $.99 more people will read &/or buy it. Why sell yourself short? I started my series "The Centurion Chronicles" at $5.00 & gradually upped my price. Remember, writing is a business.
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