Follow Up On Pricing

WriterA little under two months ago, I ran some calculations on my pricing experiences and came up with some conclusions. One of those conclusions was pricing the first book in a series free and the second book at 99 cents.

From my book sales numbers, it seemed like that boosted sales of the series in general. So I changed the prices of the second books in my Bytarend and Hard Vacuum series to 99 cents. The first books in each series were already free.

While I don’t have the final report figures for March, I thought I’d share my approximations for the last two months.

Firstly, free continues to be a great way to attract new readers. I still have a steady trickle of 30-40 readers per series per day downloading the first books.

However, since I switched the second books to 99 cents, the uptake from first to second has gone from 1.5% to approximately 10%. The people then reading the third book has held steady at about 50%.

This means that despite losing a lot of money on the first and second books in each series, I’m making more money overall. The Hard Vacuum series only has two books at the moment, but I’ve had readers contact me saying they’re waiting for the third book. Which I hadn’t gotten when the second book was 3.99.

All of which is reaffirming my thoughts that the ideal tactic is to write three or more books in a series, make the first permafree and the second 99 cents. That way, new readers are eased into becoming long-term readers. I also cross-promote my free series starters in other books. Which means readers are more likely to give something a try.

Something I’d seen previously is that there isn’t a lot of cross-over between series. Free series starters encourage it.

This isn’t a tactic I’ll be pursuing forever, since I expect things will change in the future. However, for the moment, it’s boosting my sales considerably.

It has had one negative side-effect that I should mention. I give away the second books in the series to email subscribers. When the price was 3.99, the signups were higher. When the price dropped, there are less signups, since it’s only 99 cents. It makes the email list less attractive, so I’ll need to find something to encourage more signups again.


Get Into The Action

For a limited time, I'm giving away the first two books in the Bytarend Fantasy series and the Hard Vacuum science fiction series for free.

Bytarend is fast, fun fantasy that'll have you on the edge of your seat. Hard Vacuum is hard-talking, violent science fiction and my tribute to 80s action movies.

Grab all four books for free:


2 thoughts on “Follow Up On Pricing

  1. Great post, Simon. It would be interesting to know how well your email sign-ups convert to sales, to identify which has more impact, your giveaway or pricing.

    • Thanks, Cathy. About 45% open emails about Bytarend and 25% about other books. So I expect that’s about the same effect as the pricing. About 50% buy the third book in a season. However, I’ve no way of knowing if people who buy the 99 cent book go on to sign up anyway.

      If they did, that would be a better tactic, since I don’t want people on my email list who don’t like my books 🙂

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