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LarryOnLI
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Registered: ‎01-04-2010

E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)

A few months ago Paul Goat-Allen reviewed "Red-Headed Stepchild" by Jaye Wells.

 

While the book looked interesting, I had so many other books to read and wasn't about to "waste" $7.99 on an unknown, to me,  author. So I decided to add the book to my wish list and forgot about it.

 

On August 6th B&N featured this book as a special for $0.99. I remembered that I was intrigued by the review and downloaded this "bargain" book.

 

I didn't start reading it until Friday August 10th as I had another book to finish. By Saturday night I had finished "Red-Headed Stepchild" and purchased the next book in the series at full price ($7.99). This morning I finished the second book and just purchased the third. I figure by Wednesday or Thursday I'll be buying the 4th.

 

Publishers!!! Selling the first book in a series at a significant discount (or even giving it away for free) does work. I would not have started this series if the first book wasn't on sale for $0.99. Now I'll be buying the other 6 books (so far) in the series at full price.

 

Other series I've started at the first book was cheap are:

 

Billy Boyle World War II Mysteries - first book free, bought 5 more at full price, book seven coming out in September.

 

Temeraire - first book free, bought the remaining 6 at full price.

 

Jane True - first book free, bought 4 more at full price, another one coming out in May 2013.

 

There are more, some that I had already started before getting the first book free, but if I had not already been hooked on them, this would have gotten me started.

 

 

 

 

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keriflur
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)

This works for me too.

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patgolfneb
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)

I have started several series this way. The price of the rest of the series does matter to me. For one series of 6 the follow ups were 7.99 and I bought them all. Another series priced the rest at 9.99 and I passed. I wouldn't say never, I would have to really, really like a series to pay 9.99 for each.
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kamas716
Posts: 1,510
Registered: ‎09-28-2011

Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)


patgolfneb wrote:
I have started several series this way. The price of the rest of the series does matter to me. For one series of 6 the follow ups were 7.99 and I bought them all. Another series priced the rest at 9.99 and I passed. I wouldn't say never, I would have to really, really like a series to pay 9.99 for each.

I agree that the concept works on me as well, and that price of the subsequent novels is also important.  I don't mind paying $10 or less, but anything over that better be darn good.

 

I'm a fan of William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Connor series.  But, the pricing seems rather random.  Most of the early titles are $7.99 for the eBook, but Boundary Waters, the 2nd in the series is $11.99 for the eBook ($7.99 for the paperback - regular price, not discount).  Others are $9.99 and some are $11.99.  I keep waiting for the next one in the series that I haven't read to drop to $9.99, but I fear it could be a long wait.

http://www.goodreads.com/kamas716
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LarryOnLI
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)

Well I over estimated the time till buying the next book in the Sabina Kane series.

 

I bought the 4th (a short story) and 5th books on Tuesday, and will probably buy the final book in the series on Thursday.

 

So in the course of one week (I really need to read slower) I will have spent $33.95 (plus $0.99 for the first book in the series) as the result of getting a bargain book.

 

Not a bad return on investment.

 

 

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DCLOVELL
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Registered: ‎05-19-2011

Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)

This works for me as well.  What does not work is when the free or discounted book is in the middle of a series.  I find myself thinking...I have enough to read especially series and why start in the middle.

 

That being said, I understand that some people will scoop up these type of discounted books because they have started the series, but I wonder how effectively it brings new readers in when they discount a middle of the series book.

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MacMcK1957
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)

I think sometimes there's a good reason for offering one of the middle books in a series rather than start at the beginning.  I've read a number of series where it took the author a few books to get the characters right, and the very first books were frankly not very good. 

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LarryOnLI
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)

I have passed on free books that begin in the middle of a series. Like Dave I just don;t see the point in starting in the middle.

 

As for why publishers release a middle book free, I think it might be related to the fact that the author changed publishers mid-stream in the series, or earlier books aren't available as e-books (which would really p*** me off, if I couldn't get an e-book after becoming hooked on a series).

 

 

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Desert_Brat
Posts: 1,734
Registered: ‎12-14-2010

Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)

@LarryOnLi -- what a great thread, thanks for starting it.

 

Offering the first book for free or at a steep discount also goes a long way toward maintaining a "friendly" feeling for the purveyors.

 

The sample books often don't give enough info for the reader to get a feel for a book. More often than not in a sample, by the time the reader gets past licensing agreements, endorsements, acknowledgments, and maybe a table of contents, there's no room left for the story. I've actually had samples that cut off midway through the endorsements. I've always felt like these things should be placed at the end of a book, not the beginning. At least it would provide for more of the story in a sample.

 

But offering the first book in a series for free or $0.99 lets the reader decide whether they would enjoy additional titles or the story really isn't something that would hold their interest.

 

However, if a reader paid $11.99 for a first book and really didn't like the story, they tend to get upset about being "ripped off." People place the fault on Barnes & Noble, not the author or publisher who set the price. It's odd, I know, but in reading through the threads here you'll see this happens more often than not (blaming B&N). It also means that a reader will likely not try additional work by the same author, even if it's not the same genre. So those bad feelings get translated across the board.

 

Recently author Paulo Coelho challenged his publisher to offer his books for $0.99. I read an article that said his sales jumped more than 6,000% and sales on his other non-discounted books skyrocketed as well. It definitely proved his point, though, that discounts don't mean the sale is a loss. It proved just the opposite, discounts create a gain, just as Larry pointed out in his initial post.

A lifelong reader, now may my life be long enough to catch up on my reading!
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keriflur
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)


Desert_Brat wrote:

 

Offering the first book for free or at a steep discount also goes a long way toward maintaining a "friendly" feeling for the purveyors.



I agree completely.

 


Desert_Brat wrote:

 

Recently author Paulo Coelho challenged his publisher to offer his books for $0.99. I read an article that said his sales jumped more than 6,000% and sales on his other non-discounted books skyrocketed as well. It definitely proved his point, though, that discounts don't mean the sale is a loss. It proved just the opposite, discounts create a gain, just as Larry pointed out in his initial post.


Neil Gaiman's publisher offered American Gods for super cheap when the 10th anniversary editon came out, and it made the bestseller lists.  That's pretty impressive for a 10-year-old book.  I'm sure this will help (probably already has helped) the sales of Ananzi Boys and his other fiction for adults, and my help sales of all his books.

 

As someone who buys more than she can read, I'll often pass on buying books I'll probably love because I've already got too many books waiting for me.  But if I see one of those books offered for a limited-time discount, I'll absolutely buy it, and that gets the author on my reading list.

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LarryOnLI
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$0.99 vs. Free

So I've spent over $33 to finish a series that I was introduced to by a discounted $0.99 book.

 

I've spent similar amounts, or even more, reading series that I discovered through a free book.

 

So which works better? $0.99 or Free?

 

I started "Red-Headed Step Child" because the book was available for 99 cents and it was a genre (Urban Fantasy) I was interested in.

 

I also have been reading the Billy Boyle mystery books. I started this series because the first book was free. If the first book was $0.99 I would not have started it, because I am more of a SF/Fantasy fan, and even 99 cents would have been to much to buy the book. This would have been my loss since they are really great books.

 

So my opinion is the 99 cent price point is good for getting readers to try a new author/series if they are already fans of the author or genre. However if you want to attract readers from outside the genre the first book needs to be free.

 

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keriflur
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Re: $0.99 vs. Free

I think $0.99/free depends on the person buying, and the author.  If a the author is a big name, there probably won't be much difference in the download numbers between free or .99, in which case .99 would be better for the author/pub.  Of course, the really, really big names would likely see diminishing returns from either option, as so many people are already buying their stuff.

 

I wonder also if books "sold" at 0.00 actually count as sales for purposes of sales rankings.

 

Regarding free books, I think it's possible to offer something for too cheap and devalue it in the eyes of the consumer.  So I do think there's a sweet spot for the author's popularity - the author needs to be popular enough that people will jump at the free book and won't dismiss it as low quality, but not so popular that the difference between .99 and free won't matter.

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toesinthesand79
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)

This has always worked well for me as well.  If the first book is cheap and I loved it, I will buy the rest of the series at full price.

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MacMcK1957
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)

[ Edited ]

keriflur wrote:

...

Regarding free books, I think it's possible to offer something for too cheap and devalue it in the eyes of the consumer.  ....


The totally free books can actually discourage me in some cases, when it's an author I don't know and it seems everything they write is free.  To me that screams amateur, or in some cases fanfic (there are a couple recent free Star Wars and Galactica series that I've wondered about).

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frantastk
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)


keriflur wrote:

Neil Gaiman's publisher offered American Gods for super cheap when the 10th anniversary editon came out, and it made the bestseller lists.  That's pretty impressive for a 10-year-old book.  I'm sure this will help (probably already has helped) the sales of Ananzi Boys and his other fiction for adults, and my help sales of all his books.

 

As someone who buys more than she can read, I'll often pass on buying books I'll probably love because I've already got too many books waiting for me.  But if I see one of those books offered for a limited-time discount, I'll absolutely buy it, and that gets the author on my reading list.



Yep, I bought American Gods when it was on sale.  I had Neil Gaiman on my wishlist for ages since he had been recommended to me by dozens of people, but just hadn't gotten to any of his books yet. After I got American Gods (I think it was $1.99) I ended up buying most of Gaiman's backlist. That was an expensive book month for me. :smileyembarrassed: I don't usually buy that many e-books in one month.

 

I love when publishers offer the first book for very little. I've bought quite a few of them. Some I still haven't gotten to read but will eventually.

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MacMcK1957
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)

Actually picked up that copy of American Gods when it was marked down.  Didn't start reading it until the other day, and I can hardly put it down.  Now I wish I'd started earlier, and will be looking for more of Gaiman's work.  I hadn't read any before, though I'd heard of him.

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LarryOnLI
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)

Bought the last book in the Sabina Kane series last night. This has been an expensive e-book week for me.

 

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DCLOVELL
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)


MacMcK1957 wrote:

Actually picked up that copy of American Gods when it was marked down.  Didn't start reading it until the other day, and I can hardly put it down.  Now I wish I'd started earlier, and will be looking for more of Gaiman's work.  I hadn't read any before, though I'd heard of him.



Gaiman is a very talented writer and has crossed many genres.  He has done novels, comic books- he wrote a story with Alice Cooper called The Last Temptaion that was made into a comic and went along with Alice's CD of the same name.  He also did many other cutting edge comic series and I think he also did some TV in the UK.  Sorry to get off track!

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keriflur
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)


DCLOVELL wrote:
...I think he also did some TV in the UK.


He wrote a couple episodes of Doctor Who.

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MacMcK1957
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Re: E-Book marketing that works (at least on me)


keriflur wrote:

DCLOVELL wrote:
...I think he also did some TV in the UK.


He wrote a couple episodes of Doctor Who.


Gaiman was nominated for a Hugo this year for the episode tiled "The Doctor's Wife".