I have finally done it. I have succumbed to the evil forces of 'peer pressure' (something I very rarely do) and raised my ebook price from 99c to $2.99.
My book, priced at 99c, has sold just under one copy per day for the past year. During this time I have seen countless debates about pricing ebooks, and I have to say I agree with each argument. I understand the pros and cons of high and low prices. People argue 99c is almost worthless for anything other than short stories. Flipping the coin over, however, some people say it's better to price your first book at this price in order to gain a steady readership. Some people won't go any lower than $2.99 because of the Amazon royalties rates.
Having spent a year with my first book at 99c, I often wonder just how many of those purchases are read. I remember Bob Mayer saying in one of his blog posts that people will often buy a 99c book and never read it. He states 99c is an impulse buy, and many people won't bother to download the free sample chapter. Because of this 99c books get more bad reviews.
Having read my 1 star rating on Barnes and Noble, I presume this to be the case. Whoever the person was that gave me that rating (they called themselves anonymous) they obviously didn't download the free sample, and just thought my book was going to be another Lonely Planet travel guide. Have you seen the price of those kind of books? They are certainly more expensive than 99c. The price of my book obviously drove this person to purchase it on a whim and then realising it wasn't what they thought, they obviously felt compelled to give it a one star rating.
Joe Konrath argues that although you may sell less books at $2.99, you'll make more money on Amazon's royalty system. Coming from the U.K. I still think $2.99 is really cheap as it translates into only £1.90. That is ridiculously cheap - you can barely buy a good takeaway coffee for that. Like a few people have mentioned on the Kindleboards it's all about putting value on something. Take that coffee for instance. People will pay four or five dollars for something that'll just take three mintues to make, and only ten minutes - at the most - to consume. I spent eighteen months writing and rewriting my first book. Paid a fee for my copy editor and a fee for my cover, so why should I feel compelled to keep it at such a low price forever? During this year I have received some awesome reviews and this has given me the confidence into thinking: 'Hey, maybe I can write after all.'
But having a successful career is all about being brave enough to experiment with different things. If something doesn't work out then you change things around to find something that does work.