I'm writing blog posts instead of writing or polishing off some production chores--bad I know. But I'm taking a break. Everyone gets all excited about flow, but I'm realizing that I missed some routine-yet-important tasks while I was caught up editing, so I need to reconnect with real life for a little bit.
Anyway, something happened last year that people are assuming is going to happen again this year (remember, self-publishing has been viable for all of two years, so there's not a lot of data to extrapolate from)--there was a big surge in e-book sales after Christmas. The assumption is that many people received e-readers for Christmas and then went looking for e-books to fill them.
Reading through the archives of The Passive Voice (which I am now shamelessly addicted to), I found a link to this article charting self-published best-sellers on Amazon for the first half of 2011, which finds that self-pubbed books did really well in February and considerably less well by June. Now, Selena Kitt makes the case over on Joe Konrath's blog that 99-cent e-books aren't going to sell more than higher-priced (by which she means $2.99-$4.99, not $12.99) e-books, because Kindle readers have tried the really cheap books and decided that most of them weren't very good.
Trying to see a pattern here, it seems that the people who receive e-readers go through an initial period of scooping up everything that's really cheap, and then after a little while, become more selective, and start looking only at the pricier titles. Soooo...how should you play that? Put the book on sale in, say, February, and then crank the price back up a month later?