Wonders and Questions

Pricing News and Question

So, Beginning of a Hero is back to 2.99 pricing.  This brings out a few questions that I probably should ponder.  What would be successful sales at this price to keep the price sensible?  Should I drop it back to .99 cents once the sequel debuts?  A lower priced first book might help the sales of a second book, but I’m still not sure I’m powerful enough to go for a 3.99 pricing.  Maybe I should look at this 2.99 experiment as something to do until the next book comes out.  Then I revert to the original plan for a while.  Maybe price boosts from my original plan should be saved for when sales bottom out and I have nothing else to lose by taking the price change risk.

Writing Question

One thing that always confused me about comics and multiple series that took place in the same world was the ‘Big Event’.  These are the major events that revolved around a few characters while the other heroes of the world are absent.  Where exactly are the Avengers whenever Galactus shows up to fight the Fantastic Four?  Nobody took interest in an army of Spider-Clones running around?  Batman didn’t have any curiosity when 4 Supermen showed up after the original ‘died’?

This always threw me off.  I can understand in a fantasy setting at times when you’re playing in a whole world instead of a single city.  Though, this puts one of my series in a problem spot.  At the end of the Mylrixians, the ‘end of the world’ sort of happens.  At least for that continent and it leads to a series that deals with the post-Apocalyptic world where a group of immortal superhumans rule.  Serum (blood-based power dude) was to be the hero who awakens in this world and gathers the remaining heroes to take back everything.

I don’t know if or how I could keep other heroes out of this.  The surviving champions from Legends of Windemere might step in.  Darwin, Sin, and so many others might try to undo all of this before it becomes a problem.  There are options like having the entire continent cut off from the rest of the world or Gabriel, the destiny god, refuses to let anyone get involved.

So, is it possible to have part of a world be in a post-Apocalyptic state for the sake of a series while the rest of the world is untouched?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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64 Responses to Wonders and Questions

  1. I find the whole pricing thing really fascinating. I wonder if we get quite worked up about something that the average kindle reader doesn’t even think about. For the most part, even a book priced over $2.99 is unlikely to be much more expensive than a cup of coffee, so I suspect unless someone is a voracious kindle person the pricing is less important than the hook of the genre of book etc. of course I could be completely off the mark here, but I sometimes wonder about this.

    This is probably me projecting myself onto the average buying public, LOL…but I barely register the price of a book I like the look of… probably would if it was the difference between, say $5 and over $20, but when its all around the same amount I spend without thinking each morning to get a cup of coffee at work, it just doesn’t register. 🙂

    It’s probably more complicated in the realm of pricing paperback copies etc as you have to factor in the price of production, but for the ebooks I would have thought there wasn’t all that much difference between 99c and $1.99 or $2.99…but then, I’ve probably missed something very specific here and you are much more experienced with this than me.

    Sorry for raving!!! 🙂 🙂

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    • That’s an interesting thought. Paperback pricing is definitely different than eBook pricing. For example, 1.99 eBooks sell terribly while 3.99 seems to be a sweet spot. Yet, nobody knows why this is. So, it’s an area that people are still trying to figure out.

      You also have Kindle readers that wait for authors to start a free deal and will only buy from established authors. Others won’t get free eBooks or anything less than 2.99, but no higher than 4.99. It’s really confusing when I ask for opinions because everyone seems to have their own theory on it.

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      • It’s all very mysterious, I agree. As I said, I was just projecting myself onto more general behaviour. For what it’s worth, though, I think a novel of the length, quality and scope of yours shouldn’t be under-valued or under-priced. In the end, maybe that’s as good a barometer as anything. 🙂 🙂

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      • True. I could also be changing the price at a time where any price would be a downer. I might still go through with dropping it to .99 cents when the new one comes out to help new readers start the series.

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      • Good luck with whatever you do!! 🙂

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  2. Hi.

    Thank You for Following my Blog, MUCH Appreciated. 🙂 🙂

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  3. sabcooke says:

    Re: The pricing – I forget how exactly Amazon works, I just remember that there’s two different royalty rates. I think it was 35% when .01-2.98 and 70% when 2.99+. I could be wrong, but it’s something to that effect.

    Basically, when at .99, Beginning of a Legend really got you out there. But let’s be honest, you’re making relatively nothing from it. When you actually make money is when you hit that 70%, which is what you want to do with the sequel. If you put it at 8.99 you still get 70% but you limit the amount of sales. Solution? Hit that base rate. Sell the sequel and everything after it at 2.99 (assuming I’m right with my numbers there). I would personally leave the first at .99. However, if you’re putting it to 2.99, continually drop it to .99 at events. New releases, Christmas, Memorial Day, all those moments can have a “big sale” to get the series announced to new readers.

    On a side note, never stop advertising about the first book. That hooks people. What gets the rest out there are subtle links and your actual writing. You don’t need a huge promotional push on sequels, it just has to be clear they exist.

    So, to summarise that rant… Hit the base rate with your sequel for that 70% royalty, it’ll work out more profitable. Continue to push that first book and continue to do sales and promotional events around it. Your overall sales will increase in unison with that first book. Nobody buys the 4th book in a series if they haven’t read and liked the first.

    Regarding the writing part:
    It’s very possible. People might not believe the situation is that dire (Ever watched a zombie flick? East say West is better and West say East is better). Since it’s fantasy, they don’t have TV and internet, the chances of knowing are far lower.

    Hell, look at the world we live in. Compare America to Africa, and that’s when we’re aware of it!

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    • You’re right on the royalties. It’s 35% for anything below 2.99 and above 9.99. The rest is 70%. I’m thinking of keeping the book at 2.99 until the sequel and then do a permanent drop to .99 cents. I know there’s quality, but it could help get new readers into the series. It only works if there are other books out, which is probably why it isn’t working now.

      For the promotional part, I’ve seen a lot of authors promote all their books. I was thinking of doing a tweet for each book until the series gets much bigger. By that point, I might have to send a link to a page that has all of them listed. With eBooks, it seems later books help the earlier ones. Especially if the first book is much cheaper. Value by association I guess.

      Good point. I just figured it would be strange to have so many powerful figures not involved in something like this. That’s why I’m wondering about having a magic barrier to keep the heroes out of the area.

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      • sabcooke says:

        God bless my number crunching memory! That’s a very good plan, Charles. Hit the high number when it’s going to be in a down season. I’d definitely recommend dropping to .99 then upon the release.

        Definitely promote your books. Promote them within an inch of your life. Just definitely don’t forget the value of the first one! You could even drop it to free some weekends once you’ve a few out. 🙂

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      • I’m still iffy on the free one, but I thought about doing a free weekend when the new one debuts. See if that helps it out.

        The hard thing with promoting within an inch of my life is that it wouldn’t give much time to write the new ones. 😉 I was told once that the best promotion for a book is to write and publish another book.

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      • sabcooke says:

        It’s definitely the best promotion, but unless you’re putting a new book out every week you’ve gotta stick with your promotion. 😉

        I always say that putting something free is completely undervaluing it. But a strategic free book for a weekend can do wonders for your other books. It’d only be a big deal if you have at least the 2nd and 3rd out, though.

        Out of curiosity, can you do bundle deals on amazon? Like the first three books for 4.99 and you get 70%?

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      • Amazon doesn’t let indie authors do bundles. They’re typically the ones to set those types of sales.

        Good point on the free weekends. I did mine when my book was solo and I never recovered after it went back to .99 cents.

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      • sabcooke says:

        That’s a real shame. I thought that might be the case, unfortunately.

        Just thinking, an alternative option could be to place Beginning of a Hero at 1.99 and on “special occasions” drop it to .99. You’ll still have the discount buzz while not risking a flat out burn.

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      • 1.99 is a price of doom. For some reason, 1.99 eBooks sell terribly. The magic numbers seem to be .99 cents (for a bit), 2.99, and the big magic number is 3.99. No idea. I’m looking at 3.99 as a future price for when I get more books out.

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      • sabcooke says:

        That’s quite odd! I remember a big ranty comment I posted on an old post of yours about pricing and it could be relatively easily adjusted within those parameters (might have met it already, but can’t remember for sure).

        Book 1 @ .99
        Book 2 @ 2.99
        Book 3+ @ 3.99

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      • I remember that post and checked it a few times. I’m going by that plan, but probably putting 2 & 3 at 2.99 then do the 3.99 jump. Still, I’m leaving a lot for flexibility.

        I’m thinking if I don’t sell any of my books in the next few days, I’ll drop back to .99 cents. Doesn’t hurt to test out 2.99 for a bit, I guess.

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      • sabcooke says:

        True, it’s very much a case of testing what works and doesn’t. Smell what sells and then stick with that!

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      • Well, one 2.99 sale equals about 6 .99 cent sales. So, I’ll have to remember that.

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  4. Thanks Charles, MUCH Appreciated

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  5. MishaBurnett says:

    What does “in the same world” mean for these characters? In the 1700’s The New World might as well have been another world for most Europeans. Travel was rare, and generally one way, reports coming back were highly sensationalized and very suspect. Would the characters in one series even be aware of what was happening on another continent?

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    • They’d be aware to some extent. Even though this is fantasy, areas aren’t as isolated as one would expect for the standards. A powerful being takes over an entire continent and news is going to spread. Might not have the internet, but a lot of magic-users and seers keep an eye on things. This stems from a time in history when an evil race conquered the world. Things were set up to prevent such things from happening again.

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      • MishaBurnett says:

        Then probably what you’ll be looking at is something like Americans prior to America’s official entry into WWI. They knew things were bad over there, and a lot of adventurous types joined up with foreign legions of the nations involved. (Yes, Virginia, there really was a French Foreign Legion.)

        The question would be what to the characters hope to gain from it? Honor and glory? A chance to rack up a huge body count without worrying about local constabulary? Plunder?

        I could see good stories coming out of the crossover, characters who are cut off from their local support system, facing monsters and fighting styles that they aren’t familiar with, magic that’s different from what they know…

        Look at Michael Crighten’s “Eaters Of The Dead” (filmed as “The 13th Warrior) a civilized Arab scribe from Southern Europe going off to fight monsters in the barbaric North. Fantasy works often suffer from a cultural monotony–there is one common language, one group of common customs, dwarves are short and rude, elves are tall and rude, but basically they are the same people with different skins. This could be a chance to play with culture shock in a fantasy world.

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      • I was thinking of that. My only concern is that heroes from other series might overshadow the new ones. For example, any hero that survives Legends of Windemere is going to be very powerful. Having someone like that walk into this mess would make the newer, less experienced heroes more background characters. I can have some heroes from the other continents appear, but I’d be keeping them as either minor or new ones because the established heroes would be too much. They’re also going to be needed for the final battle of Windemere where anyone who made it out of his or her series is getting tossed into the fray.

        Interesting question about the reasons though. The reasons for most of the characters heading into this fight would be to stop it from covering the rest of the world. Unless I have the rest of the world take the option of containment, so they do something to cut this continent off before the evil spreads. This could also cause future issues between this continent and the rest world after they clear their problem.

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      • MishaBurnett says:

        That’s a good point, too–not only are the characters more powerful, readers who follow a group from one series into the other are going to be inclined to pay more attention to the characters they already know.

        Michael Moorecock did a lot of internal crossovers–most dramatically in “Sailor On The Sea Of Fate” where he brings characters from three or four different worlds together.

        It might be better if the Legends heroes are just referred to in the new series. Having the survivors hear tales of heroes from another land who have come to help fight would be good for morale, and it would be a nice occasional tie-in without overshadowing the main focus of the story.

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      • I planned for the survivors to be in positions of power, so they make cameos in a few series. They’re retired as far as adventuring goes. I have some of their children show up in later series.

        I’ll have to think about this a little more. There are a handful of established heroes, including a few from this continent. Worst part of this is that I can feel that the answer is right in front of me in my world’s mythos. Ever have that aggravating feeling that you’re missing something so obvious about your own world and you just can’t put a finger on it?

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  6. Kira says:

    From a buyers perspective I honestly don’t pay much attention to the price until it hits 7.99 then I think maybe or no! But I love to read and if it’s an author I like I’ll pay whatever the book price is posted. I usually find the 1st books at a lower price and then once I’m hooked they’ve got me at whatever they price their next book.

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  7. greenembers says:

    That was a great conversation Misha and you had Charles. Enjoyed it thoroughly. 🙂 Don’t ask me about pricing, nothing makes sense, lol.

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  8. I would say with the pricing it would depend a lot on how many copies you sell. If you sell a small amount 0.99. If you sell a medium amount 2.99, and if you sell a large amount 3.99.
    That would be how I’d look at it anyway.
    Good luck with the pricing Charles I hope you figure out your pricing. 🙂

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  9. kingmidget says:

    The issue of pricing a book is exactly the type of question I’d like to see discussed over at TheSelfPublisher. 😉 It’s most likely going to be the subject of one of my next posts.

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    • It’s definitely becoming my personal headache. I think working on a series alters the perception and plan of pricing.

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      • kingmidget says:

        I started at $4.99. After six months, went to $2.99. A few weeks ago, went to .99. Novel #2 is coming soon. Seems to me I need to keep novel #1 low and find a way to get it back out there when novel #2 does come out.

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      • I’ve been told that novel #2 will help sell novel #1. People who see you have two books out will believe you’re serious about being an author. So, they will have less apprehension about buying both books. I plan on doing the same marketing for book 2 and use twitter to help with that. I really don’t know how much my tweeting to the same 552 people is working out. I’m sure most of those people are bots anyway.

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      • kingmidget says:

        I have a dozen followers on twitter. I won’t get much help there. I’m not all that convinced that social media is as helpful as people think it is. Whenever I post about my books on Facebook (people who are actually supposed to be my friends), it doesn’t do anything for my sales. I think my blogging is doing more than anything.

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      • Blogging is definitely more powerful than the others. FB does very little for me if anything. Twitter at least gives me the illusion of doing something. All about faking myself out at times.

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  10. Hi Charles,
    I don’t envy you the pricing issue – it sounds like such a minefield! Just thought I’d add my two-cents to the mix that for me, its never so much about the money as the time you invest reading a book. I wish it were possible to get statistics on how many people actually read the books they download “free”. I’ve got a kindle library full. They’re all in the fantasy genre, and when I downloaded them I really liked the covers, and intend to read them “one day”, but instead I’m reading a $6.99 ebook novella (because I met the author and he was a nice guy), a $9.99 ebook novel (because I met the author and she was lovely) and a book from the library. Yours is the first free self-published book I’ve ever read (because the author was such a nice guy, funnily enough). I guess my point is that YOU are way more important than your pricing point. Also, I think its a matter of balancing out trying to get people to buy a book vs not lowering people’s expectations of whether they’re going to get a good read out of it. At 99c, your book is an absolute bargain. At 2.99, at 3.99, its still a bargain. As you’ve said, you’ve got to play it by ear, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with keeping the price higher and attracting “readers” rather than “downloaders”. 2-cents worth finished!

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    • Good point. There is a difference between readers and downloaders. Meeting the author definitely pushes a book up the reading list. I’m slowly making my way through a physical book after meeting the author in person. I have such little time these days that I get to it when I can.

      The best way to figure out if a person ‘read’ your book was with reviews, but that doesn’t hold true any more. I’m hearing about some reviewers reading the free sample and working off that. I love to know if a person read the book or quit or didn’t even try.

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  11. Karen says:

    Not sure if you saw this post over on Jemima Pett’s blog, but here’s the link

    http://jemimapett.com/2013/05/20/some-interesting-book-data-from-smashwords/

    It discusses how pricing affects sales, at least in the world of Smashwords (info was taken from a presentation given by Smashwords founder, Mark Coker).

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    • Thanks. I saw that, but it didn’t have the chart. It definitely lends power to my idea of staying with .99 cents, 2.99, and 3.99 pricing. I wish Amazon would put out something like this to see if they have the same trend.

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  12. Olivia Stocum says:

    I talked to some people (friends, family, anyone who would listen) and they said they wouldn’t blink at buying an e-book at 3.99 to 4.99, especially if it has an appealing cover. Dunno, leaves me a tad confused. I might start at 2.99 and just see what happens. My ‘influencers’ who I planned to give free PDF’s to have now gone on strike on me saying they want to pay at least 3.99 for the file! The file? LOL. what it comes down to is that they want to see me writing. I feel so blessed!

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  13. Pingback: Week 9: What Caught My Senses This Week | Keep Calm and Write On

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