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Which of these Options do You Favour and Why?

  • Book #1: Free, Book #2: $2.99, Book #3: $3.99, Remaining: $4.99

    Votes: 2 50.0%
  • Book #1: Free, Book #2: $2.99, Book #3: $2.99, Remaining: $2.99

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Book #1: Free, Book #2: $3.99, Book #3: $3.99, Remaining: $3.99

    Votes: 2 50.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Working on a new series right now under a new pen. This series will be in KU, probably with Book #1 permanently set to free. It won't be ready for a while, but I'm thinking about pricing options and wondered what other people thought. What is your present pricing strategy for a series and why?
 

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Hi, Kathy.

None of the above in the poll. All are enrolled in KU - Post-apocalyptic - dystopian

I started out publishing a trilogy all on the same day. I priced them all at $4.99. then reduced them in stages to the current $2.99 each. The first month I earned around $300+

As a general rule @ $4.99, taking the first book as the bench mark, sales and page reads were as a percentage of income to the first book 100% first book. 50% second book, 20% third book.

@$3.99 it was 100% first book , 60% second, and 30% third book

@$2.99 100% first book, 80% second book, 50% third book as at day 12 of this month.
. As of the first 12 days of this month, page reads for those 12 days are at 16,000

Page reads run at around 70% of income. I'm not a bestseller, but the trilogy produces a steady monthly income.

The reason I started out as $4.99 was to encourage page reads as a considerable saving on the sale price. At publication the trilogy had 50,000 page reads in the first month, I gradually reduced the price and noticed an uptake in sales of the later books until I reached the sweet spot @ $2.99, but in doing so page reads have reduced.

I run sponsored ads on the first book ,but spend very little on clicks. It was 11 months before I ran a free day on the first book, but I will avoid it like the plague in future unless page reads and sales tank..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I started out publishing a trilogy all on the same day. I priced them all at $4.99. then reduced them in stages to the current $2.99 each. The first month I earned around $300+

As a general rule @ $4.99, taking the first book as the bench mark, sales and page reads were as a percentage of income to the first book 100% first book. 50% second book, 20% third book.

@$3.99 it was 100% first book , 60% second, and 30% third book

@$2.99 100% first book, 80% second book, 50% third book as at day 12 of this month.
. As of the first 12 days of this month, page reads for those 12 days are at 16,000
That's really helpful Decon - thanks.

I am going to start with a trilogy and if it goes well, I'll keep going.
 

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Writing the next books in my Martin Billings series.
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I'm publishing a series with a 99 cent book one and $3.99 for the next two (still writing #3). When they are all out, I'll do a bundle and make book one permafree. This is NOT in KU.
 

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One thing I just wanted to note is that I voted for option #1, but I wanted to provide a little context in case it's helpful. So back in 2018, through total dumb luck and random happenstance, I bumped into New York Times bestseller Ilona Andrews on Twitter. From my Twitter reply, she looked me up, downloaded my UF novel, read it, and then contacted me to ask for a phone conversation. I know, right? I'm still in shock years later. Anyway, the reason she called was that she wanted to promote my book on her website and there were things she wanted to discuss after she confirmed I was interested. One of the things she told me to do was raise the prices of my books. At the time, I had done the first book free, the short story collection and the novella for .99 cents, and the other books for around $2.99-3.99. She told me to do so in order to maximize my profits for when she posted about the book, and she was right. I received a MASSIVE number of downloads the day her blog post about my book went live and since I'd bumped the books up a dollar or two, I also received a lovely cut from royalties as well. The reason I mention it here is that there is a little bit of a trade off in terms of pricing competitively.

I'm a nobody author, for your reference. I first self-published in 2013 and in my experience, when the UF genre was popular between about 2015 - 2017ish, I was regularly selling copies at the $2.99 price point, but by 2018, sales flatlined. This was with me doing monthly promos to the usual places (ENT, Robin Reads, MyBookCave, Fussy Librarian, etc) and Ilona's post got me great royalties for around 6-8 months. But I kept the pricing the same after she told me to raise it and noticed that while I didn't sell as many copies as when it was $2.99, before my sales went off the cliff again in 2021, I was still making a decent amount in royalties. Less people bought the books, but they were still consistently being purchased at the higher price, which showed that there are people who don't spending a little more on titles from a self published author. I was selling 20-120 paid titles per month around that time with the two permafree first-in-series selling between 165 and 1,300 free copies per month altogether. The world has drastically changed since then and unfortunately I'm right back to zero across the board, but I wanted to give my two cents that it is still possible to sell at the range shown in Poll Option #1 depending on what you want out of it. If you want to do sheer numbers, then I would say maybe you'd want to do $2.99 across the board, but if you don't mind less copies sold but at a higher royalty rate, that's possible too. It might be good to decide which of the two you'd like to do.

The other thing I do is when I have new book coming out, like I do this April tentatively, I sell it for .99 cents pre-order pricing ONLY. I try to get it available 90 days ahead of the release date. As soon as it's 24 hours after release day, I pop it up to $4.99 or $5.99 (depends on the final length, I'm doing the editing and revisions as we speak). So far, I've found that it seems to work. Readers seem to be fine spending the dollar on a new sequel book and sales eventually trickle in when it goes to full price afterward. For the UF series that's now finished, I put the three novels into a boxed set, raised the individual titles, and then set that one for $9.99 and sold it wide release to see what I can capture out there. I ran a few .99 cent promos when it first came out as well. Sadly, the boxed set's not doing squat, so that's a bust unless I invest more time and money into the .99 cent promos moving forward. Still, it's something I've learned--folks don't wanna pay for the set at this time, so I'm gonna have to probably try something lower like $4.99 or just rely on the .99 cent promos to move copies.

Again, all of this is just stuff I've run into that may help you with the future decision. I know results vary WILDLY in what we do. I hope you do well. Good luck to you out there.
 

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I don't do free books, first or otherwise, but I chose the 1st as the preferred option.

My first books are 3.99 or 4.99, and subsequent 4.99 or 5.99.

Edit: I tried a free promo some time ago, and while it certainly led to a very impressive number of downloads, I simply didn't see the value of it. I will likely never do a freebie in the near future. I've also noticed not much change in sales patterns when I cut price, so I'm either going to stay where I am or actually increase for some.
 

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My current pricing is book 1: $3.99, books 2-4: $4.99, books 5-infinity: $5.99.

Back in the days when I relied on permafree, I did book 1: $0, Books 2-infinity: $2.99. If I had it to do over, I would have been less timid with pricing and priced all my permafree's sequels $3.99 or even $4.99 (and depending on the genre, maybe even a ladder up to $5.99) but I was over-cautious back in the day and believed readers would only pay rock bottom prices for a new indie author. It took me years to realize indie wasn't the turn off I thought it was and neither was being a new author.

Of course, no general pricing strategy can really be finalized without knowing genre, length, and pricing of competitors. And lastly, your budget for ads and other expenses might play into the prices you need to charge. My expenses are certainly reflected in my prices.
 

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I have 4 wide series. The first books are all free and the others are 2.99. Sometimes I drop the prices of the installments to do discounts, etc. For my KU series, it's a short story series so it's 0.99 across the board. I also have box sets of all my series. Permafrees are a must (in my opinion) for a wide series so that's why I go free. For my KU series, these are short, steamy billionaire books and I promote them on the promo sites so the 0.99 price works for them. I often also do KU free days for different books in the series.
 

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I can't vote on any of the above options because I don't sell books permafree. My witch series is sold as $3.99 for the 1st book, $4.99 for the 2nd and $4.99 for the 3rd. That works well for those books. My other books behave differently.

I, personally, don't find $2.99 sells better than $3.99. If my book doesn't sell at $3.99 it still doesn't sell at $2.99 or even $0.99. But that's my experience.

I like free promos for garnering reviews and bringing attention to a series, but I run them seldomly. I run more $0.99 bargain promotions for new releases and renewing interest.

I have limited daily advertising through BookBub. And I run a promos about every month through Kobo & the usual (used to be 3 months, but now I have 10 books out). All my books are sold wide.
 

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IMO, ladder pricing looks cheap. I don't want my books to look cheap.

I'm in KU, so I don't have permafrees, but I have a mix of:
3.99, 3.99, 3.99
and
3.99, 4.99, 4.99
and even one
4.99, 4.99, 4.99

IMO, one price jump is fine. Two is pushing it. Three is totally unacceptable.

Now, I don't generally go and look at what the price was on the previous book in a series when I buy the next book in a series, but I do notice the first time I look at a series. The last series I bought into was:

free, 5.99, 5.99

And I'm happily on book six with plans to buy the rest of the series at 5.99. If it suddenly jumped to 6.99, I'd probably still buy it. But if I had noticed that initially, I might not have downloaded the freebie.
 

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When in doubt @ $4.99, accepting the principal book as the seat imprint, deals and page peruses were as a level of pay to the primary book 100 percent first book. half second book, 20% third book.
 
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