#36-Successful-Book-Price-PromotionOn the heels of all our discussions of organic social media book promotion, the timing is perfect to look at another key option to add to your marketing strategy mix: book price promotion! Our thanks to Ricci Wolman, founder and CEO of Written Word Media, for this insightful guest contribution…

Once you’ve written a book and published it as an eBook, how do you find readers? That is one of the key questions all authors ask. You’ve put all of this work into a story: Now what? There are a variety of tactics available to authors to help you spread the word about your book, from social media to paid advertising. The most common, and typically most effective, tactic is a price promotion.

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A price promotion is the act of putting concentrated marketing activity around a title for a short period of time while the title is free or priced under $3.99. The key to a successful price promotion is to identify your goal and then set your price accordingly.

book-price-promotionHow do I set my price?

If your goal is to generate reviews for your book, then setting your book to free for a limited time is the strategy to choose. Pricing your book as free will get your book into the hands of the most readers, and will ultimately generate the most reviews. Let’s look at the math: If 1,000 readers download your book, and over the course of the following three months 200 of those readers actually read your book, you can expect 10-20 new reviews to appear on your Amazon book listing at the end of a three-month period.

If your goal is to increase your earnings, then setting your price to $2.99 is the optimal course of action. At $2.99 you may sell fewer books (than if you priced your book at 99c) but you will earn more royalties due to Amazon’s royalty payout tiers. Amazon pays a 30% royalty on books priced at 99c and $1.99. That royalty jumps to 70% for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99. The exception to this rule is if your book is enrolled in KDP Select. You can run a countdown deal within KDP Select where you price your book at 99c AND earn the 70% royalty.

If your goal is to teach Amazon’s algorithm how best to recommend your book to readers, then I recommend setting your price to 99c. At the 99c price-point you should sell enough books to reach the point where Amazon’s algorithm can identify the types of readers who purchase your book and the types of books these readers like. Armed with this data, Amazon can now show your book in the “Customers Who Bought this Item Also Bought” section underneath other book listings.

If your goal is to hit the top 100 ranking charts on Amazon, you will increase your odds of getting there by pricing your book at free or at 99c. Amazon keeps free eBooks separate from priced eBooks, so which chart you climb will depend on the price of your book. If you want to hit the Top 100 Free Kindle Books you will set your price to $0. If you want to hit the Top 100 Kindle Books you will set your price to 99c.

For how long should I run a price promotion?

The most important component of a price promotion is putting concentrated marketing activity around a title for a short period of time. We recommend focusing all this activity over a 48-72 hour period as that will give you the time to effectively market the book, and it plays to Amazon’s algorithmic preference toward recency.

What should I do during the price promotion?

Once you have identified your goal, set your book price and scheduled your promotion, you are ready to create your marketing plan. There are two types of marketing tactics you can deploy during a price promotion: organic promotion and paid promotion.

Organic promotion includes sending an email to your mailing list on the first day of the promotion, posting to that social media platform you’ve been building, a few times every day that the promotion is running, and asking friends, family, other authors and bloggers to spread the word. How effective your organic promotion is will depend on how large your audience is.

Paid promotion includes using promotion sites (like Freebooksy, Bargain Booksy and Bookbub) and running Facebook ads. Promotion sites have the advantage of being quick and easy to use. You send in your book information and they take care of the rest. Facebook ads have the advantage of you having complete control over your ads and audience targeting. For most authors, paid promotion will be a required element in running a successful price promotion. I recommend setting aside a budget of at least $50-$100 to put behind your price promotion.


Running regular price promotions is the cornerstone of most successful authors’ marketing plans. According to our research, authors earning over $5,000 a month from their books continue to invest in price promotions month after month. You too can leverage this technique with a little planning and a small budget. Go forth and promote!

Have you run a price promotion or paid promotion with your book? Share your results with us in your comments below!

ricci-wolmanAbout the Author

Ricci is the founder and CEO of Written Word Media. Written Word Media’s mission is to empower authors and publishers to reach their audience and help readers find their next great book.

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