I belong to an online list (and Facebook group) called Murder Must Advertise. Recently, author Andy Straka sent a message about his experience with moving his traditionally published books into the e-world. He not only has his books in e-form, he’s been experimenting with the sales price of those books.
It was an interesting post, so I emailed and asked if I could re-post it here on Straight From Hel for those of you who aren’t on the MMA group. He said yes …
So, please welcome Andy Straka.
Experimenting with E-Sales
Like many previously published authors (traditional--or are we supposed to call it "legacy" now?) I've been somewhat slow to move into ebooks. I control the rights to my backlist of five titles. My books have been formatted and available on just the Amazon and the Nook since last November, but I've been busy writing, not paid much attention to them, and done no promotion whatsoever. I haven't even had time to deal with Smashwords, or whatever. I've been selling an average of twenty ebooks a month until the beginning of this month. (Pretty pitiful, I know, but hey, they're all found sales, as far as I'm concerned, requiring very little, if any effort.)
Since I have three new books coming soon--one novella, a new standalone thriller, and a new "Adult Fiction for Teens" edition of my first book--I decided three and a half weeks ago to try lowering the price of my five ebook titles to .99 each, just to see what happened as I begin some promotion work this summer. In looking at the numbers, I figured I had to increase my sales to 120 copies per month to match the small income I was receiving from the same books at $2.99. (Remember, these are all backlist titles. The latest book came out in Sept 2009.)
The experiment has been a success. I've sold over 400 copies in the last three weeks, and if current trends continue will easily eclipse 500 copies for the month. A number of these titles sold in excess of 10,000 copies when they were first released years ago, but to have them find new life as ebooks is especially gratifying. I can't wait to see how things develop as my new books are released over the course of the next few months. Not sure if I'll keep these backlist books at .99 or not. (I'd appreciate opinions on that.)
Thank you Andy.
Publisher's Weekly has featured Andy Straka as one of a new crop of "rising stars in crime fiction." His books include A WITNESS ABOVE (Anthony, Agatha, and Shamus Award finalist), A KILLING SKY (Anthony Award Finalist), COLD QUARRY (Shamus Award Winner), KITTY HITTER (called a "great read" by Library Journal), and RECORD OF WRONGS, hailed by Mystery Scene magazine as "a first-rate thriller.