You may remember I decided to try a little experiment with my novella Knight of the Cross recently. Since it was published a year and a half or so ago it’s been priced at 77p/99p in the UK and 99c in the USA. Sales have never been great despite good reviews, and at such a low price with the 35% royalty from Amazon KDP I was making almost nothing from it.
So I pushed the price up to £1.99 UK/ $2.99 USA almost a month ago. I hoped that even if the sales didn’t go up, the improved 70% royalty would at least let me make a little from each copy someone read.
The experiment seemed to pay off immediately as, for some reason, the novella’s average chart placing jumped from about 15,000 to 7,000, with the highest position being around 3,200 in the overall UK chart which is, I believe, the highest it had ever been outwith its original release. So I was hopeful…
Today I sat down and had a look at the sales and royalty reports for the past few weeks, and it made interesting reading.
I won’t list figures (to be perfectly honest they’re not that impressive, compared to my Forest Lord books at least), and I’m working things out in my head so it’s not going to be exact anyway, BUT, I’m guessing my royalties for Knight of the Cross have TRIPLED in the weeks since I raised the price.
I don’t believe I’ve sold any more copies, but neither have I sold less than I had been previously. So the royalty figure has jumped there. Furthermore, the average number of pages read in Kindle Unlimited has almost, I think, doubled. Presumably people see a book that costs $2.99 to buy outright and think it’s a more attractive option in KU than a 99c book that’s almost a freebie anyway.
Whatever the reasons might be, the figures are certainly up in every way – chart placing, books sold and pages read.
Again, I’ll just say, these aren’t huge numbers I’m talking about. My Forest Lord books do much better than either of my novellas but it seems clear to me that the raised price hasn’t harmed Knight of the Cross in any way. The opposite in fact.
So if you’re currently selling an ebook for 99p/99c and it’s not doing much, why not raise the price and see what happens? The great thing for authors is, if the experiment fails, you just drop things back to where they were, no harm done.*
Give it a go, and let us know how you get on!
Below is the reason I wanted to improve my earnings from Knight of the Cross: it’s the first of my books to be translated into another language (German). There was no point in me paying a translator to do this when it’d take me years to recoup their fees, so I’m hoping German historical fiction/fantasy fans will snap this up by the virtual wagonload.
*Incidentally, I’m going to leave my other novella, Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil, at 99p/99c, simply because I get the 70% royalty on that anyway since it’s in the Kindle Singles Programme, and I believe it’s good to offer ALL new readers a price point that appeals to them, just to hook them in. If some think £1.99/$2.99 is too much, they can still try the Friar Tuck novella by shelling out almost nothing. Or, they can get a completely FREE short story, exclusive to my Email List subscribers, by joining here.
I had just found Friar Tuck novel and enjoyed every minute of it…great story…..I then started to order others on my Kindle…this might be the same with others…don’t give up you are too good a writer for that…stick at it!….all the best …
Thank you Colin, always great to hear from readers who enjoy my work. 🙂 No chance of me giving up, I’m just getting started!
Two great posts Steven. I initially priced my only novella, Dayraven, at the 99p/99c level, and although it was a fair sized book (47,000 words) sales never approached those of my full length novels at £1.99/$2.99. Sales increased when I moved it to the higher level to match the others and I was braced for a few reviews from readers saying that the book was too short, but it never happened. Most people are reasonable and can see that the higher price is still good value for money if they enjoy the tale. It’s not the few £/$ that you are asking readers to invest in your books after all, it is the limited time which they have to unwind at the end of the day or at the weekend. On the kdp page where you set the price of your book Amazon have a graphic which charts the price/income ratio. Have you seen it? The £1.99/$2.99 is the optimum for histfic.
Thanks for sharing your experience Cliff. This makes me think I might just write another novella if I know it might actually make enough to be worthwhile. 🙂
I have seen the Amazon graphic on the KDP page, I used it when I was writing this piece. It seems to show no real difference in sales regardless of price.