Publishing a book is like running a business, and like any business, one of your primary goals is to generate revenue. Whether you’re traditionally or indie published, and whether your book was published one year ago or ten, you’ll need to do some marketing to get people’s attention. Temporarily dropping the price of your book is one sure way to get more eyeballs on your work.
Although running price promotions is a tried and true book marketing strategy for many, it still seems counterintuitive to some authors and publishers. How can dropping the price on a book make you more money?
1. More people will download your book
Famous authors only seem to get more popular over time, often hitting bestseller lists with each new release. But here’s the thing: people are willing to fork over cash for a book from an author whose work they already know they enjoy. Unless you’re as popular as John Green, J.K. Rowling (aka, Robert Galbraith), or Diana Gabaldon, there probably aren’t millions of people willing to drop $10.99 on one of your books without knowing if they like your work.
But readers are more apt to spend between $0.99 – $2.99 on an author they’ve never heard of if the premise of the book sounds interesting. The vast majority of the readers we surveyed said they’ve discovered a new author through an ebook price promotion.
2. You’ll get exposure to a new audience
By discounting your ebook for a limited time, you’ll be eligible to promote your book through services like BookBub. For example, BookBub sends a daily email of Featured Deals to millions of members who’ve specified which genres they like to read. This way authors and publishers can reach readers they know are likely to be interested in their price drop.
Each genre has anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of subscribers, and books that are selected as Featured Deals get sent to these massive and highly engaged email lists. That’s some serious exposure.
Authors featured by BookBub see huge spikes in revenue within the span of a few days. In fact, they generate more earnings at the lower price point than if fewer people had purchased the book at full price. Hundreds of our partners reported an average 196x increase in earnings from their books at an average 74% lower price than in the same timespan prior to dropping the price.
And if the book is free, readers aren’t risking anything but space on their e-readers. Because the risk is lower, downloads are often 10x higher than a $0.99 promotion. But if you make your ebook free, how can you make money? And what if those $0.99 sales don’t add up to what you expected for full-price sales during the same time period? Think of it as a long-term investment that will pay off for the next few reasons…
3. Gain momentum and hit bestseller lists
By dropping your book price and promoting the price drop effectively, you can gain enough momentum to hit some of the bestseller lists like The New York Times or USA Today, garnering even more exposure. When this happens to authors and publishers who promote their ebook via BookBub, we call this the “halo effect” — when the increased visibility driven by downloads from BookBub subscribers gives rise to additional downloads from readers who find the title through these other outlets.
For example, hybrid author Cheryl Kaye Tardif increased book sales 130x by running a joint BookBub and Kindle Countdown Deal promotion because her promo gained enough momentum to launch her book into Amazon’s Top 100 overall bestseller list. Even after her price drop completed, her book sales continued to climb at full price, whereas sales were flatlining beforehand.
4. You’ll get readers hooked on your series… or your author brand
Now here’s where things get really interesting. If people who spent $0.99 on your book fell in love with your writing, they’ll be more willing to fork over $4.99 or $7.99 or $10.99 on your next book, especially if they’re dying to know what happens next to your characters.
Over 70% of BookBub partners report that after running a price promotion, sales increased for other books on their backlist. This is especially apparent when the discounted book is part of a series — authors we surveyed who promoted an ebook that was part of a series via BookBub saw a five times higher average percent increase in sales than authors who promoted a standalone ebook.Also, more than half of BookBub subscribers reported that they went on to purchase other books by an author they discovered on BookBub. Bargain ebook buyers become loyal fans who are willing to buy full-priced ebooks when it comes to authors they already know and like. So by running a price promotion, you can build up your base of long-term fans who will spend money on your full-price books in the future. This shows that offering the first book in a series for free or at a deeply discounted price is a great way to hook new readers.
5. You’ll get people talking
Price promotions can lead to that elusive phenomenon of word-of-mouth buzz. More than 60% of BookBub subscribers we surveyed said they’ve recommended a book they found via a BookBub Featured Deal to a friend.
More than 70% of authors we surveyed reported that avenues of exposure such as reader reviews, Facebook likes, and email list signups increased noticeably after their price promotion. Since readers are more likely to purchase books with reader reviews or that their friends are reading, the exposure and credibility generated by a price promotion will pay off in the long run by making your book more appealing to readers.
You could spend thousands of dollars to produce a book trailer… and hope people will watch. You could spend hundreds to get fancy book plates printed… and hope people don’t throw out your swag. Our you can run a price promotion and get people hooked.
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