Sunday, April 18, 2010

The readers have spoken...

...and what they've said is, "We're not spending $1.99 on an Ellen Fisher book."

I posted Never Love a Stranger at $1.99 in the hopes that I'd developed enough audience to get them to pay that much. It sold anemically (eight copies), and worse, my hoped-for spike in other sales didn't happen. Then we got to the point where it didn't sell at all. For two days, it just sat there, looking sad and neglected, while no one purchased it. (Meanwhile, In the Mood kept selling merrily; it's been on the contemporary romance bestseller list for a while now and seems gleefully determined to stay there. More power to it. Go, little book! Sell many copies!)

But I digress. Late yesterday afternoon, I gritted my teeth and decided to lower Stranger to 99 cents. Of course, it's possible that if I stubbornly kept it at the higher level, its sales would eventually pick up. Maybe. But there was no guarantee of that. Anyway, Amazon took it offline for a while. They always say it'll be unavailable for purchase for 24-36 hours, but within a couple of hours it was back at the lower price. And within fifteen minutes, two people had purchased it, even though I didn't promote the new lower price on the boards.

More interestingly, my other sales took off. I sold 46 copies of all my books for the day, a lot of them after I lowered my price, when I ordinarily sell about 30. And overnight I sold 16, which is a lot more than I usually sell overnight. Stranger so far has still only sold 11 copies in total (I won't pimp out the new price on the boards till Monday, so I may not see a big rise in sales today), but my other books have really improved their sales. In fact, all three of my contemporaries are on the Kindle contemporary romance bestseller list again.

I really can't figure this stuff out. Why do my other books' sales improve when I lower a book's price? Are those two events really related, or is it just coincidence? And why do readers ignore me at $1.99, but then buy at 99 cents? There's really not that big a difference there. But the difference seems to be enough to matter.

I still don't understand a damn thing about how to sell books on Amazon. But I'll keep plugging away at it, experimenting, and trying to improve my sales. That's really all anyone can do.


  1. You are doing fantastic!! I find it all very interesting.

  2. There's really not that big a difference there.

    To many readers, there is, especially if it's a new-to-them author. Me, I love trying out new authors.

  3. I had another thought--what about changing the cover at Amazon to the one featured on your site? Not that the Amazon cover is bad, but the dark, shadowy one creates much more mystery, imho. Just a thought.

  4. The one I have on my site IS the one on Amazon, Heather. It's here:

    The other one is my old NCP cover, and should be coming up only for paperback searches. I can't get rid of that one!

  5. Ah. When I did a search of both your name and the title, both the paperback and NCP Kindle edition showed up with the old cover. But I searched again just now and saw the new cover.

    Odd. Must be frustrating for you. Well, when I link to your book @ Amazon I'll be sure to use the updated link. Thanks for clarifying.

  6. Yes, Heather, I wish I could get Amazon to remove the old NCP Kindle edition listing (which was never supposed to be there anyway-- NCP accidentally put my book up on Amazon when they'd already returned the rights to me). I might try emailing customer service and see if they can get rid of the old listing for the Kindle book (the paperback one isn't a problem).