Available as eBook?

The world of the Wizard in Rhyme.
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Ortho the Frank
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Re: Available as eBook?

Postby Ortho the Frank » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:20 pm

I couldn't agree with you more. Unfortunately, the price for Feline Wizard is out of our control. For Chris' last few book contracts, the publishers kept the eBook rights (and got to set the ebook price). We're in the process of converting his older books (before ebook clauses were included in contracts) into digital format, and we usually set the price between $3 and $6. I'd be really curious to see the sales data for Feline Wizard, actually... at more than twice the price of Her Majesty's Wizard, I have to wonder how the sales compare.
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Re: Available as eBook?

Postby kf6eml » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:10 pm

Ortho:

Don't forget that your numbers may not reflect true consumer preference. The publishers have marketing departments that already have all kinds of channels and connections. They may sell more at a higher price through exposure to a larger market. If the lower-priced book could take advantage of that marketing sales would be higher.

On the other hand, if your sales are much higher, you can take that to the publisher and tell them that if they have any financial sense at all, they will lower their price.
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Re: Available as eBook?

Postby Ortho the Frank » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:28 pm

It's times like this that I wish I had a MBA instead of BS. How does one find the right price to hit that goldilocks zone where income and sales volume balance in the middle? The last study I read on this topic (a year ago) supposedly found that $9.99 per ebook was the sweet spot... but I've always found that hard to believe, as it's just a few bucks below the price of a paperback. So we went with $5 instead... but now I wonder if we could charge more without affecting sales volume? Chris could definitely use the extra income...
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Re: Available as eBook?

Postby kf6eml » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:19 pm

Well, you start a little high, see the response, and then gradually bring them down. It's a pattern that works on a couple of levels; First the people who really want it can get it right away for the premium price, then later, discount shoppers feel like they're getting a deal because the price came down.
On the second level, once the market has been satisfied for higher priced shoppers, you make nothing because people aren't buying. Lowering the price moves more product after the rush, and it continues to trickle in.

Going the other way, lowballing then raising, doesn't work.
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Re: Available as eBook?

Postby cstasheff » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:46 pm

Sound thoughts and a fascinating dialogue. This doesn't include the five books I've written that haven't been published, some for good reason -- there was no way I was going to try to rewrite THE DAY OF TAI-PING after I'd read James Clavell's TAI-PAN. I can't afford to live in China for a year. Fortunately, Sichuan University sent us a corps of Chinese exchange students, but that doesn't really give me the ambiance of Hong Kong.

Thanks, guys.
Chris
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Ortho the Frank
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Re: Available as eBook?

Postby Ortho the Frank » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:09 pm

Hmm, you raise a good point, kf6eml. We'll try that with the Oathbound Wizard ebook (we're pretty much just waiting on the cover at this point). What price should we start at? $10, then work our way down? Or more like $8 or $7?
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Re: Available as eBook?

Postby kf6eml » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:52 pm

That is totally up to you.

I have no experience in publishing or sales, and only know what I've read. There are a few authors out there who have explained the mysteries of the world of publishing, but not in the manner of a textbook, where one feels truly educated when he walks away from it.

That said, from what I understand of it, the first book or two from an unknown author won't sell as well as later books - but after the author gains popularity, his first books may actually be in greater demand than his contemporary works. (I know that I'd like to get a look at the good Doctor's unpublished things, even if they're complete drivel!)

In a popular series, it seems to work best when the first book or two are given away free of charge, no strings attached.

Eric Flint wrote a good piece on giving away the first book free:
http://www.baen.com/library/prime_palaver6.asp

He is the official librarian for the baen.com free library. Authors with that publisher, at their own discretion, can put any of their titles in the free library and leave them there as long as they like.
Anybody is allowed to download any of those titles, free of charge, no strings attached. The only thing they ask is that you not share the files - ask anyone who wants a copy to go to the website and get it there so they can keep statistics on how popular the titles are.

Given how many books there are in the series, and the intent to have all of the books eventually available, my personal opinion, for what it's worth, is that the first book should be priced low enough to attract readers who are unfamiliar with the series, and then a more normal price for later books.
There is a certain psychology to be considered, though - If you make the first book a dollar, then people will expect the later books to be similarly priced. You cannot just offer it for $0.99.... You must emphasize that $0.99 is just a promotional price, limited time, yadda yadda yadda. Even offering it free is much better, because people tend to understand that freebies are mostly for advertising. You get better sales in later books at $5 when the first one is either free or $5 than when the first one is $1, unless you have all the balloons and flashing lights to go with it.
In short, people understand promotion, but it you make something refreshingly cheap then jack up the price, they feel somehow cheated.

As I said, I don't have any direct experience in marketing, except as a consumer, nor do I have any experience in publishing, so you may take my $0.02 for what it's worth (probably a negative number ;) )

Promotions like this really only work well when you already have the other books in the series ready to go.

Incidentally, the guy who was wanting to do the cover art is in Afghanistan, and a few soldiers who were expected to go got injured and had to stay home, so he's a bit more busy than expected.
Who has the rights for the art that was on the paperback? Is that DelRey, or Mr. Sweet? (Looks like Darrell Sweet's work) I know less about that than most other things.

(Hmmm... I knew less than I thought - Darrell Sweet died last year. I guess his estate may own it?)
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Re: Available as eBook?

Postby Ortho the Frank » Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:52 pm

Yes, the original cover was done by Darrell Sweet, and I'm sorry to hear that he died. I'm not sure if his estate owns the cover image, or Del Rey (the original publisher). I think you told me before that your friend was too busy for cover art, so Chris's daughter/my sister Elea is planning to do it. It'll hopefully be out by June or July. By the way, can we put his drawing of Fadecourt up on the "Fan Art" section?
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Re: Available as eBook?

Postby kf6eml » Tue May 01, 2012 5:40 pm

You can. That drawing was a sample, or a study, and not a finished work. He won't mind, as long as you're not trying to make money off it without some sort of royalty agreement. He does some commercial work, and as long as it is properly attributed, he'll consider it "advertising."
The artist's name is Luis Mendoza, and if you ever need to contact him, I can pass a message.
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Re: Available as eBook?

Postby Ortho the Frank » Wed May 02, 2012 12:32 pm

Awesome! Thanks!

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