As a two-time self-published author, I tell people writing the book is the easy part. Marketing it, that’s the hard part. There seems to be no right or wrong answer on which route to take.
Before I published my first book, I looked into all kind of expert advice. Some claimed giving away your book for free for a few days was key to success. Then I talked to others who told me not to do give it away but to price it high. Some suggested to price it at 99 cents. Plus, of course, there’s the matter of trying to decide between Amazon KDP Select or just Amazon KDP.
We all want our books to be successful. We want to help and inspire people. And, of course, we want to claim that bestseller spot while making a decent income in the process.
Trying to decide which route to take was difficult but in the end I choose to launch my book on Amazon KDP and on my own site for $4.99.
For the first month sales were okay. My launch team helped share the book on social media and leave reviews on Amazon. But then it started to flat line way too often. After not selling a single book for a week, I started to feel a bit discouraged. Had I picked the wrong strategy? Should I have given my book away? Maybe I should have opted to go with KDP Select.
I was curious as to why even seasoned authors put their books on 99 cent promos. Why would bestselling authors discount their books?
Testing the 99 cent Theory
I’m a big believer in testing things. Two months after the initial launch, I put my book on a 99 cent promo for five days. I blasted it everywhere. The second day I hit No. 1 in the Personal Budgeting category. I was screaming of joy! My book—a bestseller! A few days later my book was featured on Buck Books and that pushed me into No. 1 in another category. Things were happening.
The 99 cent promo gave my book huge exposure, which lead to amazing reviews and continued sales. People recommended my book to others. They picked it up simply because they felt they had nothing to lose with 99 cents. I’m not sure why, considering Amazon will refund you, people are so hesitant to buy a book priced at $4.99, but they are. Personally, I do the same thing. I’m more likely to try a book I have never heard of at 99 cents than $4.99.
After the promo, I lowered the regular price from $4.99 to $3.99 to again, test pricing. I kept selling. Week after week after week. I had good sales every single day for almost three months before I hit a day of no sales. Now my book continues to sell but have started to do more of a roller coaster ride. Some days are great, followed by no sales or low sales, followed by good sales.
Should you price your book right out the gate at 99 cents or wait a while and then do a 99 cent promo? I don’t have a perfect answer for that, but I know now why even seasoned authors do 99 cent promos for their books. It gives the book a boost, exposes it to more people and allows people to try it for almost free. In turn, if you have a good book, the promotion helps you with the best marketing tool of all: your readers recommending your book to their friends.
Comment and share! What marketing strategies have you tested? What has helped drive sales for your book?