Now, back to the ebook eXperiment!
Before I talk about formats and pricing, I thought I would share some 411 about where I am in the process - because I promised to be totally frank and honest:
What I have spent so far: My budget is about $1,000
As a financial disclaimer - I have no money to do this. I am actually taking on a job that is crap pay and hard work but will get me what I need to put this book out right. So don't think I'm rich and throwing a bunch of cash in.
$9 for stock photo
$400 for editing with professional editor
170$ for an 3 day ad (I will talk about this next week)
Time - priceless (someone asked me to log how many hrs Im spending - right now about 5 hours a day to get everything set up. I don't expect to spend as much time once the book is out.)
Here are some of the things I've done so far:
- Added my book to Goodreads
- Added my book to my web site
- Updating my website
- Answered every email and comment of support I've gotten (I out this just so I would think I've accomplished something b/c it takes time!)
- Created widget (okay my hubby helped me :)
- Started gathering names and scheduling blog tour for Dec
- Teenbookreads scheduling blog tour for Jan :)
- Researched ebooking online (it's hard to find it all in one spot!)
- Reached out to ebooker friends for advice
- Wrote acknowledgement/dedication pages
- Finished professional edits
- Discussed secret cover project with secret person (you will find out next week)
- Tested formats online to see how they would look (okay hubby helped me)
- Researched and contacted bloggers in teen world (love them!)
- Learn about ISBN
- Come up with marketing slogan
- Find copyeditor for copyedits. (This is my biggest concern right now. And, yes I'm going to pay for this. If I do this ebook, I'm going to do it right. You get out what you put in.)
- Get free copies to bloggers for review
- Create online media kit
- Set up online launch party
- Look into CA, AU, and UK ebooking markets?
- Brainstorm creative contests
- Read blogs on ebooking
- Look into creative giveaways
- Research charitable organization(maybe in nature or animals) that I can give some of my earnings to.
Which eBooking format is best?
First, I decided I wanted my books to be available to every single person who has any kind of ereader. I assume this is common but from my research - I don't think the majority of ebookers think about many formats outside of Nook and Kindle. But there are so many I couldn't possible figure out how or where to go.
There are TONS of different format of ereaders: Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Sony Reader, Kobo reader and I'm sure there are more I don't know about.
Well I am certainly not equipped (nor do I have the time) to create every format or sell any myself.
So I heard about Smashwords - you can utilize them to create all the formats for your ebooks for a minimal fee. They also have an upgraded program that includes an ISBN process.
However, their royalty on iTunes, Kindle and Nook are not as good as the direct places themselves. I believe Smashwords is 60 or 65%. I can get 70% on Amazon which is where I foresee most of my sales.
Smashwords will let you opt out of certain ereader formats. So I'm going to do Amazon and B&N myself (opt out of Smashwords) and then let Smashwords handle distributing all the other formats. That way I get the higher royalty on kindle and B&N, which I expect will be most of my sales, and the other ereaders will be taken care of by Smashworks. Downside, I have to fiddle with more than one uploading system which will change all the formatting - yuk!
After researching - this is the model Amanda Hocking started out with too - so I'm going with my hunch.
Now, I hear the formatting is a pain and that is takes several days to upload so I am already practicing to make sure every format is aligned and perfect. And planning to start uploading Thanksgiving week.
If anyone has any other tips on formatting, please speak now!
How to choose ebook pricing?
I'm still deciding on this one - it's either 2.99$ or 3.99$.
1) Impulse Buys
It is a marketing fact - that anything under $5 is considered prime for an impulse buy.I've done research and believe that $2.99 is a sweet spot for impulse buy on books. Not that I want my book to be an impulse buy. But if a book is under $4.99, the chances of someone buying it right when they see it is much higher. Anything over $5, especially when you get up to over 10$ is a "thought purchase". This means the consumer will go away, think about it, and hopefully come back (or not). So since I am a debut author and no one loves me yet :), I'm going for impulse buy and hope that my cover and jacket copy sells the lower price when they see it.
Also on Amazon and B&N the royalty I get is higher if the book is over $2.99. If I did under that - the royalty is much lower and the benefits they offer are lower as well.
For example - From amazon - they offer 2 different pricing structures:
With the 70% royalty option, the minimum list price for a book is $2.99. The 70% royalty option also has the Kindle “Book Lending” feature enabled by default.
Any book under this price must be listed under the 35% royalty option. Under the 35% royalty option, you can disable this lending feature. So, the tricky part is to figure out where you will sell more books, either under the 35% royalty or the 70% royalty option.
3) Value vs. cost debate
Why not the infamous $0.99? I'll tell you why :)
I believe you get what you pay for. And statistically, value is ingrained in people's heads - subconsciously we go for value over price most times.
Example: This is why I still buy Philadelphia cream cheese and not Publix/Kroger brand. Even though Kroger is cheaper - the value I think I'm getting with Philadelphia is greater so I will pay the higher price - gladly. They could be made exactly the same way and I might never know in a taste test - but my perception is that I get more value with Philadelphia.
Giving consumers more value and a lower price is golden marketing concept. Finding that price point is the key. And I do not claim to know all - these are just my thoughts from what I know.
Now some will say my example above is more due to brand recognition - but the supermarket brands are just as well known as Philadelphia so I disagree.
Anyway, my book is worth more than .99$. Why? It's been edited, has a professional cover, and is good enough to justify a higher price. I want people to know they are getting a book worth 2.99$
So That's it - Untraceable will be available in all formats - I will control Amazon and B&N and Smashwords will control the rest. The price point will either 2.99 or 3.99 (I'll let you know when I decide but would love your feedback. Which one would you be more apt to buy it at?)
If you have a different opinion or different research - please let me know. I am BY NO MEANS the expert. This is a ebook test and totally a test. I'm just sharing my thought process along the way and my marketing mind set.
And BTW, any of you could do this research too. So this is not me being all brilliant. It's me taking the time to look into what I feel is important.
My goal is to take what I know in marketing, use all the best practices I know from traditional publishing, and then marry them with what I find out about ebooking process.
Hopefully a winning formula!
Let me know what questions you have or what you think!