Sales Numbers Don’t Equal Success

I think indie authors are too hung up on sales numbers. Having thousands of sales at 99c (approx 70p) does not mean that the author is more successful or better than one who prices their book at $2.99 and sells a few hundred. I know I have bought several books at the lower price on impulse without looking at the sample (lazy, I know) and then ditched the book after only a few chapters. With a 2.99 book I do take more time to buy and I am more likely to continue reading.
As authors we need to also think like business people. Because of Amazon’s split royalty rate the percentage you get for a 99c book is half that you get for a $2.99 book. So:
35% of 99 = 35.
70% of 299 = 210.
210/35 = 6
So you need to shift six times more books at the lower price to make the same amount of money.
For anyone who missed the last line that’s SIX TIMES!
To put it another way an author who sells just 166 books a month at 2.99 is making the same as one who is selling 1000 at 99.
Or another way: to make $10,000 selling at 99c you need to shift 28500 books. At $2.99 you need to sell less than 5000!
What do you need to live on? $50,000 (£31,000)? At 99c you are going to need to sell close to 150,000 books. At 2.99 just 25,000.
The trouble is there is a weird sort of kudos that seems to be attached to selling 1000/10,000/whatever books a month (see for instance this thread on Kindle Boards) when it doesn’t really tell you anything about the quality of the work compared to books priced a higher amount. Note: I am not saying that higher priced books are better, I am just saying the items shifted seems to be the measure that a lot of indie authors use as their yardstick.
Of course introductory offers, loss leaders into a series or aiming at a particular market (YA for instance) may necessitate having a low price. That aside I feel my work (when it is published) is worth more than the 24p I would get if I priced at 99c.

Oh, and happy Valentines Day!

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