Do I hate it when one of my books goes on sale? My hard work, hours and hours spent over the course of a year or more, sold off for pennies?
And here’s more: If my book sells for 99 cents, I don’t even receive that much since my publisher takes the lion’s share and the vendor (Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Apple) also takes a cut.
I get this question often, usually with the questioner somewhat indignant on my behalf. I have a few answers to this. There are several very good reasons I benefit from a 99-cent sale.
First, I’m gaining readers, and for a pretty unknown author, this is very important. Gaining traction in a vast marketplace is daunting. If readers have never heard of my books, or me, then they can’t possible buy one of my books. But a 99-cent sale makes it easier for someone to give one of my books a try, and then perhaps they’ll read another of my books, and then another.
Second, discounting the first book in a series is commonplace. “Crime and Paradise” is the first in a three-book series, and the third book just came out in December. If someone likes the first book, they may buy the next two. This type of marketing technique is used with lots of products we buy every day (sort of a buy-two-get-one-free formula).
Third, I want people to read my books. I want my stories out in the world. Just as a painter wants people to see her artwork, I want readers. I’m thrilled when libraries buy another one of my books for their collection, even though people can then read for free. If you get a chance, request that your own library buys one of my books and adds it to their collection. Usually, it only takes a simple request, and a library will do this. You do me a big favor by exposing my books to more readers.
Fourth, I don’t expect to make a fortune as a writer. This has never been my goal. I just love writing stories and am very grateful for this time in my life. Whether one of my books sells for 99 cents or $4.99 isn’t going to change my bank account substantially or how I live my life. So I get a little thrill when one of my books goes on sale. I see my sales numbers climb and that means more readers! (See reason #3)
Fifth, a sale reminds me to not forget my older books. It reminds me to put on my marketing hat, the hardest part about being an author. I hate being a salesperson and am pretty terrible at it. But having a sale gives me a reason to promote.
And now comes the best part: Back to writing!
P.S.: See how bad I am at marketing? I forgot to say which book is on sale. Yes, it is Crime and Paradise. On sale for 99 cents for a few weeks. On Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.
Here’s a couple of links: