Pricing Books Like A Pro
Many writers don’t know how to price books. That’s fine--you specialize in creating awesome stories in your head and putting them into words--but a badly priced book can easily sabotage your sales. An overly low price looks cheap and could leave your book overlooked while making it harder to earn back your investment. A price too high will place your book out of the reach of casual or curious readers, also making it hard to sell.
Where’s the middle ground, and where should your book fit in?
One easy way to guess is simply to check out your genre on Amazon or another popular ebook store and list the prices you find, but even that shows a lot of variation. Are you better off pricing at $0.99 or at $9.99?
Here are several things to take into account when choosing the best price for your books so you can get it right the first time.
This is the big one, and the most traditional strategies publishers and self-published authors use when choosing an appropriate price. If nothing in your genre sells for over $3.99, then that $12.99 price tag is certain to scare people away. But if the average price is sitting pretty at about $7.99, you can easily hit that sweet middle spot.
This price will vary on different marketplaces and in different countries, so if you publish wide, check out multiple storefronts so that you can match your prices more effectively to competing hit sellers.
Note: If you’re confused about your price after reading this post, always come back to the standard market prices. The other tips here are only to help you further tweak and optimize your price, but this is the end-all factor when deciding how much you should charge for your books!
Publishers have a long string of people to pay in addition to a book’s author. Artists, editors, publicists, and book designers each need a cut of the book’s listed price per copy sold. When you publish independently, the same principles come into play.
If you produced your book on a budget, you can get away with selling it for less. You didn’t pour as much into it, and readers will likely have lower expectations on a rushed book than on one produced by a team of professionals. On the other hand, if you spent half your life savings into publishing the perfect book, you can confidently charge more for it, knowing that you produced a work of quality.
Your format will tell you a lot about your price. In general, ebooks are the cheapest and simplest books to publish and should cost the less. Above them, we can find paperback and hardback editions costing about two or three times as much as the ebook price. Audiobooks cost more and often have a new party to pay to produce: the narrator.
Many authors publish only an ebook edition starting out and then branch into other formats as they want to grow their own publishing business. If you’re currently working to branch out into a new format, be careful not to over- or undercharge your copies.
Single books frequently sell for more than books in a series. If you’re publishing a long series of interconnected books, you want to make it as easy as possible for readers to binge on your releases. You can think of this approach as a classic case of not putting all your eggs in one basket.
However, if you plan on releasing only one book (or one book at a time) and not connecting your writing or spreading it out as a series, you’ll want to charge more to make up for the fact that
you don’t have anything else you could easily direct your readers to.
Many authors organize their publishing business heavily around strategically pricing their books. The popular reader magnet method involves giving one book (often the first in a series) away for free to attract readers onto your list. Your other books will follow a more standard pricing strategy, and you’ll have a bunch of prospects to email about every future release.
A second popular pricing strategy is Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited publishing, in which you limit your releases to Amazon’s store in exchange for promotional opportunities. Readers who subscribe to Amazon’s program will have the opportunity to read your books for free as a part of their subscription while you still get paid.
Note: Sadly, Amazon no longer allows authors to price books for free on their store except as part of a brief Kindle Unlimited promotion. To make the most of a reader magnet strategy, you’ll need to provide your own landing page and off the book directly in exchange for an email address to send it to.
How do you like to price your books? Please share in the comment section below or join my Facebook group for further discussion.