The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Pricing a trailer ebook

Trailer landscapingTrailersteading is entering the editing stages this week, but I've discovered that Amazon's policies have changed (or maybe just been tightened) so I won't be able to sell it for 99 cents.  As my regular readers know, I think a picture is worth a thousand words, so I can't seem to talk myself into including any fewer than 124 images in the book.  But pictures make the file larger, and that means the lowest price Amazon will allow me to set for the book is $1.99.

So I thought I'd check with you all and ask which option you think is best:

  • Trailer pavilionSell the whole book for $1.99.  I'm afraid I might lose some impulse buyers at such a "high" price, even though this book is as long as three of my Weekend Homesteader ebooks combined, so it would still be a good value.
  • Break it in half and sell each half for $0.99.  I'm not as sure about breaking the book up because it's really written to be one coherent whole.  On the other hand, I can see a reader being more willing to take a chance on the first half for 99 cents, figuring if they hate it, they don't have to buy the second half.
  • (I know there's the option of taking out pictures, but I'm just not willing to do it.)

Incognito trailerOther than the price issue (and the sinking suspicion that I'm going to get a lot of bad reviews due to trailer stigma), I'm very excited about this book.  Eight fascinating trailer-dwellers shared their experiences with great honesty and depth, and I was intrigued to discover that even energy use (a mobile home's biggest Achilles' heel, in my opinion) was below the national average for every homesteader interviewed.  I'm taking the time to edit the ebook within an inch of its life, though, so you won't hear more for a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, if you want to make my day, please consider leaving a review of Weekend Homesteader: April (equivalent to the first month of the paperback, with a few bonus pictures).  I'm trying not to let it bother me that half of the reviewers gave it three stars, Trailer-movingreminding myself that by reaching beyond my choir, I'm bound to hit a lot more negativity.

(Okay, I'll admit it, the bad reviews are driving me nuts.  I'm quite adept at figuring all of the really nice reviews are written by people being kind while the bad reviews are by honest people.  So if you honestly liked the first chapter, your review would cheer me up considerably.)

To thank you all for your kind input, I'm giving away Weekend Homesteader: September today on Amazon.  Enjoy!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Anne, I have a Kobo, which as far as I can figure out does not read Kindle books. I have an up to date Mac computer and the software that says it will read Kindle books just doesn't. Would love a more universal format.

Why not two editions, one without the pictures for .99, the other a special edition with pictures for 1.99.

Comment by Maggie Sun Dec 9 08:39:54 2012

I had my ebook (a permaculture design) up for $.99 for a long time, and got more purchases than I expected. I recently did a 3-day free giveaway and then upped the price to $2.99-- the dropoff in sales have not been significant since the price increase. Of course, I probably need more time to see the overall trend.

I would venture to say that you're a little better known, and more widely published, than a lot of ebook authors who really need to sell at the $.99 level in order to get noticed. Also, since the book is so niche, maybe you want serious readers to purchase it, rather than impulse buyers. You don't want to encourage people who aren't really interested in the topic to come in and blast you for promoting trailer living. (On the other hand, maybe the not-so-serious readers will pay the money and be even angrier that they paid a higher price? Hah. This is what I worry about with my book.)

And don't you get better royalties too? That should make up for any loss in impulse buyers.

I'd say go for the higher price on this one.

Comment by Sara McDonald Sun Dec 9 09:16:27 2012

Maggie --- That's good feedback. For my other ebooks, I've been getting a lot of benefit from Amazon's monopoly, but I think I might have enough in the KDP program (which requires I not sell them anywhere else but lets me set books free) that I could keep Trailersteading out. That would allow me to sell it myself in pdf format, which would make it much easier for folks with non-mainstream systems to read.... I think I might do that rather than making two editions.

Sara --- How did I not realize you had an ebook out? I should have listed that in my bio of you in Trailersteading --- I'll do so. :-) Also, I just read it and thoroughly enjoyed it and plan to make a post about it here soon.

You may be right that I'm well enough known now that I don't have to toe the 99 cents line. I guess I should remind myself of that upside when I moan over bad reviews from the non-choir. :-)

I'd have to increase the price to 2.99 to get better royalties, and they're not really better since they take out a percent based on how big the file is. So, yeah, maybe 1.99.

Comment by anna Sun Dec 9 09:59:12 2012

Anna I have to admit I am addicted to Walden Effect. But we live in an old moble home on our homestead and would love to read the stories and view ALL the pictures for the $1.99 price.

We are constantly changing things around here and are stumped on what to do with other projects. So being able to read about other homesteaders and what they have accomplished would give us a new source of ideas.

Thank you for all the work and stories that you and Mark have made available to us.

Comment by mona Sun Dec 9 10:08:26 2012

Hi Anna,

Yes, I would like to buy your pubs.

No, I will NOT do business with a 3rd party (period!).

Yes, I will send you cash or money order.

No, I will NOT send you my personal check.

I would rather receive whatever by US Mail CD or whatever than by download.

No, I DO NOT use ANY Microsoft products. I am ONLY interested in an open format such as text or open pdf.

Yes, I REALLY love your website and as long as I can I will read it.

No, I will NOT log-in to read it.

---- Sorry for the rant! ----------

I really do enjoy your and your husband's writing and also the others you choose to include and am happy to support your efforts alnong the lines above :).


Comment by john Sun Dec 9 13:39:50 2012

My opinion would be to go ahead with the whole book with all of the pictures for $1.99. That's such a low price, about a cup of coffee, so if folks can't see the value in that, they are clearly missing something. I love the Kindle download for my computer and thank you for pointing me to it with your other e-books. I will definitely review them but have not read them all yet (sorry). Sadly, life gets busy.

Best of luck with your new e-book.

Comment by Heather W Sun Dec 9 15:37:12 2012

Mona --- Thanks for your kind words! Hopefully the book will give you lots of ideas --- it gave me several, which is pretty funny, since I wrote it. :-)

John --- I understand your concern about third party sites, but unfortunately, that's the way to reach beyond the choir. If I don't enroll the book in KDP select, though, it'll be easier to sell it in a non-third-party way too, which hopefully won't water down the Amazon sales so much that no one sees the book.

Heather --- Thanks so much for continuing to read! I have books piled up all the time waiting to be read, so please don't apologize for not having read them all yet.

Comment by anna Sun Dec 9 16:32:35 2012

Anna, it's good to hear that you liked the ebook. The design was one of the most popular pages of my website so I converted it to an ebook, but I haven't really promoted it. It was kind of experimental when I decided to offer it.

I went ahead and updated a few format issues and added a table of contents, just in case you do want to feature it here. I think you can download the update for free.

I was checking out Smashwords, where one of the other authors you featured was selling, and that seems like a decent third party site to publish non-exlusively. From what I understand, their royalties are around 85% and it looks like you can price how you like.

Comment by Sara Mon Dec 10 07:37:07 2012

I am far from rich or wealthy but as stated on another comment, 1.99 is but a cup of coffee - Certainly all this creative effort warrants 1.99 + Photos are a must. .99 price point actually prompts a thought of a "less than stellar product being hawked for sale" in my mind and I have to think about it more than the 1.99??? The psychology of the sales.

Comment by Jayne Wead Mon Dec 10 09:06:17 2012

Sara --- I'm not very adept at getting updates, so I couldn't seem to see the revised edition, but I'm still going to post about it this week. I really liked it! And everyone else can see the updates when they go to check it out. :-)

I've considered Smashwords, but my understanding is that you're not likely to get many new readers there the way you do on Amazon --- a bit like selling on your own site. The Amazon machine really does work, despite evilness....

Jayne --- You may be right, although I wouldn't want to go higher than 2.99. (It's only about half to a quarter the length of a print book, after all.) Hmmm, more to think about. :-)

Comment by anna Mon Dec 10 09:18:59 2012
Anna, I don't have an e-reader, but my husband and I are looking to set up a "trailerstead" in the Appalachians soon. I think $1.99 is VERY reasonable, and I am excited about reading it. I don't plan to get a kindle, but look forward to it coming out in pdf or something. Love your site - its got so much information!
Comment by Neca Mon Dec 10 12:03:51 2012

Hi Anna, I've been researching and thinking about this too for my own books. Do you know your readers can download, free, Adobe's Digital Editions and read your ebooks on their desktop or laptop. Just google for the link. It's easy, fast and it works.

Good luck with your books. You're publishing some very valuable information.

Comment by Rhonda Hetzel Tue Dec 11 23:44:07 2012

I haven't actually played around with Select yet, but I thought the terms required that you give Amazon exclusivity for 90 days, then you could list it elsewhere.

Also, have you tried optimizing the images? There is a plugin for Gimp called "Save for Web" that losslessly compresses images. The photos taken with my phone are about 1MB each. I crop them and resize them down to about 900 pixels wide and then run it through the plugin and get images that usually around 70KB.

Comment by Edward Antrobus Sun Dec 16 12:18:37 2012

Edward --- You can opt out of the system after 90 days, but then you lose the benefits too. So, if you want to be able to set free days and have your book borrowed (which has been bringing in $2+ per borrow), you have to stay enrolled.

I do scale down my images a lot, but haven't tried compressing them further. I may try that....

Comment by anna Sun Dec 16 12:54:55 2012
Good to know. The promotional material makes it seem like you just have to stay exclusive for 90 days and then can list it elsewhere while staying in Select.
Comment by Edward Antrobus Sun Dec 16 16:16:03 2012

Can't wait to buy this book Anna.

I've been doing some of my own research on how to do this trailer buying thing and would love to see your take on it.

Just know that I think your and Mark's content both free/paid is head and shoulders above the rest of the stuff out there.

Mac in WI

Comment by Mac in WI Thu Dec 20 04:02:26 2012

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