Thursday, July 21, 2011

Experimentation in bookselling

Dollar sign The book biz it is a changing.

I belong to a number of list serves where all we talk about is our self-published titles on Kindle, et al.  We talk marketing, we talk formatting, we talk money.


The stigma of self-publishing is definitely on the wane.  Then again, those of us on those lists are all traditionally published authors.  We've got backlists of proven winners.  We can write and we're not afraid to experiment.

I wish we could say we always know what we were doing, but we don't.  And even if someone lists his or her successful strategy, doing the same trick doesn't always come up with the same results. Right now I'm experimenting with pricing for the first title in my Jeff Resnick series.  It's currently at 99 cents on Smashwords (all e formats), iTunes and Kindle.  Is it selling like hotcakes?  No.  But it is selling better than it was at $3.99.  Does that mean that those who buy it at 99 cents automatically buy the rest of the series at $3.99?  No, it doesn't.  But it's a loss leader.

Have I gained a lot of new readers because of the price jumping up and down between free (in the UK for three weeks in June) and $3.99?  You bet.  TENS OF THOUSANDS of them.

Right now I'm experimenting with formatting.  I'm taking down the current versions of the books and putting up versions with hyperlinks to my Kindle/Nook sales pages for the other books in the series and other titles I have up there.

Has this worked?  I can't yet tell about the novels -- but for a number of the short stories, you better believe it!  We're not talking hundreds of copies here, but enough so that I can see a difference.

I love the fact that I have control over my product.  I love that I can change strategies and chart the success or failure of my pricing experiments.  I love that I can change my covers on a whim.  (I've "whimmed" a few times on the short stories.)

Thumbs up But the best thing of all is that new people are finding my work--and for the most part, work that was just sitting on my hard drive for years.  What's really amazing is that some readers are discovering my Jeff Resnick books and THEN finding my New York published books.

How cool is that?