Last week we discussed the idea of giving your book away for free. This week I thought we would actually talk about pricing. We all know the frustration of having a book on the market that isn’t selling. It’s very easy to get disheartened—but sometimes it just comes down to finding a sweet spot? What’s that? The right price for the market. That’s what it is…
Test Your Pricing
If you are looking for a sweet spot you will want to experiment. Try reducing your eBook price by .50 cents every three days until you reach $0.99. Wait three days, and then raise your price in .50 cent increments up to say $6.99. If you see an increase in sales at a certain price, repeat the same exercise again to check if the same pattern occurs. If you don’t see enough sales to form a conclusion, try again with a longer frequency of perhaps five days.
Raising Your price?
This may sound strange if you are struggling with sales, but a higher price can work on two fronts. One, a higher price often gives a potential buyer the sense of a better eBook and secondly, sales at a higher price will increase your ranking much faster.
Sacrifice…. For Gain
If you have published a series, sacrifice the price of the first book in the series at say, $0.99 to bring in new readers, and then set each subsequent title in steps of $1.00 more up to say, $4.99 for the latest title in the series.
Raise The Paperback
Did you know that Amazon compares the price of the paperback version with the Kindle version on its book sales page by putting a strikethrough line across the print book price above the Kindle price. It makes it look like a discount. So, why not make it look like a bigger discount? How could this hurt anyway?
Okay… we’ve looked at getting the book out in front of people by using free giveaways. But have you considered one of the steps before the giveaways? Is your book ready to be put in front of a mass market audience? Is it ready for a free audience to consume? Before you set up your free giveaway give some thought to the two points below.
Are People Too Tight?
So, you gave away your first book for free, and now you expect me to spend $1.99 on the next one? Unfortunately, people who get things for free keep expecting the same level of quality for free. While it’s true that some (if you’re lucky or talented, then many) of those free readers will convert into paying customers, it can be hard to get people to pay once if you’ve introduced them to a quality product for free.
Don’t expect all of those free downloads to turn into sales. For example, you might have given away 10,000 books, but you might only sell 50 when you expect people to pay.
Is The Book Good Enough?
Honesty time: is your book good enough to sell? Does it have the quality the make it a winning product? Yes, people will download anything for free, but a defective product can have devastating consequences. If you introduce them to your writing style and it’s terrible, then people are going to remember that. Those few people who would have been willing to spend money on you will spend them on more qualified authors.
If your book isn’t very good, then all those downloads can damage your reputation. However, you can avoid this by ensuring that the book is good enough to sell. That means being professionally edited and offering a good story or premise to the reader.
So… you’ve set up your free giveaway and now you want to know how to promote it. That’s a tough question—but let’s start with the basics. These three ways to promote your free book giveaway should form the bedrock of any promotion you run. Let’s take a look at them…
Using Your Email Contacts
Email remains a medium where you are able to contact your users in a one-on-one format, unlike social media or paid ads where you are one of ten messages that the user is viewing at once. If you do not currently, start collecting email addresses from your website visitors.
If you don’t think you have the budget or time for designing and setting up an email program look into free, automated options like a simple Feedburner email or sign up for MailChimp and use RSS templates to automate the process for you.
Rather than just using giveaways as a user acquisition tool, inclusion of giveaways and special promotions in your emails is a great way to keep your open rates up and let your subscribers know that they are appreciated.
The Beauty of Facebook
Try not to just toss a link to your giveaway into a post and call it a day. Like any marketing message you need to have the basic information plus a call to action. Tell your users what you’re posting about (it’s a giveaway), when they can act, who’s involved and why they should care.
The Art of Twitter
When it comes to utilizing your Twitter account to get the word out about a giveaway there are a few best practices that can drastically increase effectiveness. Sending a single Tweet out is not going to maximize the exposure of your promotion.
Tweet often and try to use unique messaging for each Tweet. Don’t just send the same Tweet over and over.
Add photos and images to your Tweets to let them jump out in your followers’ Twitter feeds.
One of the most common questions by authors is… “how do I set up a free giveaway?” I thought that would make a good topic for this week’s blog article. Free giveaways can be one of the most effective selling tools in your book promotion arsenal. But what does a free giveaway do? Well for a selected time you can make your Kindle book free on Amazon. This removes any barrier between your book and your potential readers. Some authors use these giveaways regularly to boost their sales. So… how do we set one up?
Okay before we start… your Kindle book must be enrolled in the Kindle KDP program. You can check this by looking to the right of your book on the Kindle dashboard. Click on the “Promote and Advertise” button. If you are not enrolled it will ask you if you want to enrol your book in the program. If you are enrolled you will be able to set up a free giveaway.
Now there are some rules to the program. Once you enrol your book in the program it needs to stay in the program for 90 days at least. During that period, you cannot sell it in any other site on the internet. However, while your book is enrolled it will collect “pages read.” These are pages read by those who have downloaded the book through the Kindle Unlimited Program.
How To Make Your Book Free For A Limited Time on KDP
- In your Bookshelf, click on the promote and advertise button next to any book enrolled in KDP Select.
- Scroll down to “Run a Price Promotion.”
- Under “Run a Price Promotion,” select “Free Book Promotion.” (“Kindle Countdown Deal” will be selected by default.)
- Click “Create a new Free Book Promotion Deal for this book.”
- Enter the desired start and end date and click “Save.” Avoid ending on the final day of your KDP Select term.
This week I thought we would look at how to find beta-readers. The easiest way to simply go where writers go… Facebook author groups, Twitter, blogs, forums and start making connections. When you find someone who you feel will be a good fit, offer to trade critiques. Eventually, the right person or people will come into contact with you. When judging whether to use a beta reader I thought you might like to use the checklist below:
The Beta-Reader Checklist
Enjoys your genre.
Understands your intentions for your stories.
Likes your stories, in general.
Isn’t afraid to tell you what isn’t working.
Is already an experienced reader and/or writer.
Reliable and trustworthy.
You’ll need to do some research to discover which reader is the right fit for you. Keep in mind that finding a good beta reader is often as much about being a good beta reader yourself as it is anything else. Be prepared to give generously, use wisdom in selecting appropriate groups and partners, and take advantage of this resource to help you polish your writing to the next level.
While we are talking about reviewers… we should talk about beta-readers. Beta-readers are one of the most popular ways for authors to get feedback on their work. It’s always a good idea to find out how people will react to a book, or story… and beta-readers provide a valuable service… but how do you get the best out of your beta-readers? Try these tips for size….
A beta-reader is still a reader who may tell other readers about your book. It’s important to treat your beta readers well, and that begins with what you ask them to read. Don’t give them your first draft. In fact, be sure that what you give them is the very best writing you can produce on your own. Write your draft and set it aside for at least a week. Go back to it and rewrite it if you need to. Then set it aside for another week — again. Revise, revise, revise, until it isn’t remotely possible for you to do any better.
Before you send your manuscript to your beta readers, ask them what format they’d like it in. Beta readers might want to print your manuscript or read it on a Kindle. If they prefer the latter option, send them instructions for how to get your manuscript on an e-reader. Do whatever you can to remove any obstacles that will prevent your beta reader from carving out time to read your book. Don’t just dump them with a word document.
What Would You Like?
Before you send your book to your beta-reader try to work out what you’d like them to look for. Maybe it would be a clever idea to develop a checklist with questions you’d like answers to. Do you want readers to comment on the strength of a plot line, or the development of a concept? If you create a specific list of questions around content, beta readers won’t spend their time punctuating sentences. Adapt your revision checklist to meet the needs of each book your write.
it takes a great deal of time to read and respond to a book. And your beta readers will have opinions that might sting a little. Be gracious for any feedback a beta reader gives you, even if you don’t agree with it. Ask yourself, “Will addressing this comment make for a better book?” If so, take their advice and apply it to your next revision. If not, whatever you do, don’t defend yourself. Your beta reader already knows your position (you’ve done as you’ve seen fit, as evidenced by your manuscript) but they don’t agree. Thank them for their comments and move on.
Writers are always looking for help with getting the word out about his books. If you’re looking to help an author you may want to take a look at this list of easy things that can be done to help your favorite indie author out. These are all easy-tips that will go a long way towards getting that author in front of a wider readership.
- Write a review for an online bookstore. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even copy and paste that review onto several of your favorite shopping spots.
- Add the book to your Goodreads shelf. And when you write the review for the online bookstore above, copy and paste it onto Goodreads too.
- Write a blog review and then invite your followers on Facebook and/or Twitter to come over and hear what you think.
- While reading the book, post comments on Facebook or Twitter about what you’re reading and what you like about it. Make people curious about the book you’re reading!
- When finished reading the book, let your followers know your concluding thoughts on the book and include a link to the author’s website or book page.
- Write a review for a print newspaper, magazine, or newsletter.
- Donate your copy of the book to a public, school, or church library, or ask them if they’d be willing to purchase a copy to add to their system.
- Offer to host the author on your blog. Ask unique and interesting questions that you think your blog readers might enjoy. Be sure to invite your friends and family over to “meet” the author.
- Start a discussion about the book over on Goodreads in one of your groups. You could even consider asking the author to join you for a question and answer session.
- Most importantly… talk about the book. When you’re genuinely excited about the book with others, then they’ll want to check out the book for themselves.