Thursday, March 1, 2012

Last free day for Ghosts

I'd always planned to publish Ghosts on other platforms once the 90 days of KDP Select were up and it turns out that they conveniently finish right in the middle of spring break next week. Handy, since it means I'll have time to work on the formatting and on creating a print-ready cover.

I'm going to use Create Space for the print version and Smashwords for the other e-versions. I think I'm probably competent enough to publish on all platforms by myself, but the Smashwords contract lets you stop publishing with them when you feel like it. If I reach a place where I'm making so much money (ha, ha, ha) that I feel badly about the 10% that's going to Smashwords, I can pull the book off that service, make my own editions, and publish them individually. But at the moment the 10% royalties they'll get seems as if it'll be a reasonably good deal.

Unfortunately, I've discovered why people all use the annoying 99 cent prices: Apple requires it. You'd think if they were going to be such control freaks, they could be control freaks with round numbers, but no. So I need to change my price to a 99 cent number if I want to be in the Apple bookstore. If I hadn't already been debating whether an unusual price forces potential buyers to think and potentially loses them, I'd be more annoyed than I am. But so it goes. I will join the ranks of the 99 cent pricers.

In fact, I already did. Since my time in KDP Select is coming to an end, I need to use my last free day. I wanted to experiment with the blurb again, but I decided I'd experiment with pricing, too. Unfortunately, it sort of messes up the experiment -- I'll never know whether the changes were the result of the blurb or the price -- but unless I  keep Ghosts in KDP for another 90 days, this is my last chance to try these out. Well, last chance with a free book. Anyway, I wrote a "traditional" blurb -- the kind that most people use, no quotes, no parentheses, no authorial chatting, and more or less a summary of the plot. A little more less than more. And I changed the price to $4.99. The $4.99 price is mostly because of the free day: I'm curious to see whether I get more downloads with a higher price, because it will look like a better deal. 

Immediate result: a dead stop to sales. I'd like to blame it on the blurb, but it's probably a result of the price change. But it will be interesting to see what happens next week, after the free day. That'll be the true test. The last time I changed the blurb I added details but also made it very first person -- me, the author, chatting with an imaginary reader. That time the post-free day results were terrific, averaging 19 sales a day for the week after, before steadily dropping off. If instead sales stay steady at nothing for a couple of weeks, I'll change the blurb back to quirky. With much happiness, I admit. I'll feel like my quirkiness is being validated!

Alas, however, the $3.50 price point is probably gone for good.

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