How to price your book
A common challenge indie authors face when self-publishing their work is deciding on how to price it. Money can get a bit awkward when you tangle it up with art. How can you put a price on a labor of love?
While you may want to make sure you cover your costs and make a little profit, you also don’t want to out-price yourself so that no one buys your book. You can work as hard as you want on marketing and selling, but if the price isn’t right your efforts may end up falling flat. There are a few important questions you can consider to help you work out a price that will make both you and your readers happy.
Have you researched what your book is worth?
A common mistake authors make is not conducting the proper research before pricing their work. However good your book may be, it is important to price it competitively, especially if you are relatively unknown in the market. Work out its real market value by comparing it with books of similar length in the same genre, and then coming up with a price range. If this is your first book, it may be best to price yourself below premium, bestselling author prices, and instead, place yourself within the same range as other authors who are just starting out or who have yet to amass a large following. This doesn’t mean you need to undersell your work, but just to stay within a competitive range.
What is your end goal, financially speaking?
Are you looking to recoup your costs and make a profit? Or are you just looking to sell as many copies as possible, never mind profit margins or loss of initial costs? It is best to determine what your financial goals are upfront. If you are aiming to cover costs and make some extra money, then you need to factor these numbers into your price. Research the different royalty percentages that each retailer offers and see which price range and percentage will work best for you. It is important to remember that if you decide to distribute your book via different online retailers, you have to price your book the same for each retailer (even if the royalty percentages are different).
Are you more interested in exposure rather than financial gain?
If wider exposure is your end goal, rather than financial gain, then you can price your work as low as you’d like—though be sure to keep in mind you will still need to continue marketing and promoting your work. Online retailers such as Amazon also have specific Kindle promotions where authors can promote their books for free or at a very low price for a specific amount of time in order to gain exposure. You may already know of KDP Select, but Amazon recently rolled out a new program some of my authors are trying called Kindle Scout. In case you haven’t heard of Kindle Scount before, the program is like a rolling contest of sorts. If there is enough interest (nominations), Kindle is more likely to offer you a contract on the book.
You can also look into pricing your work at a mid-level price and then slashing the price as a promotion for a few days to gain traction. A two-day promotion can boost your sales, which in turn boosts your ranking. Following the flash sale, you can then go back to selling your work at your initial price. If you’d like, you can get my Free Download that includes the Top 10 Ebook Deal Newsletter Sites. Full disclosure, my full-time job at Riffle is the last on the list.
Where are you selling your book?
Are you planning on selling ebooks alone, or do you also have print in mind? This is an important question to ask yourself up front because depending on how you go about it, your initial costs may be lower or higher than you expect. If you are selling via Amazon alone, your initial costs may be minimal, but if you are planning on distributing your work via a brick and mortar store, or even selling your work on your website, the cost of sale may begin to ramp up. It’s important to get a realistic idea of what you would like your profit margin to be before setting a price on your work. Remember, you can always check out the work of other authors online as well as in stores, not only to see what prices they go with but to test your own reaction to them. If you’re shocked to see a certain type of book at a certain price, well then it’s not hard to put yourself in the shoes of your potential buyers.
A bit of upfront research can really help you to price your work competitively. And if you feel that you have missed the mark the first time around, you can easily adjust to something more effective. In the digital landscape, nothing’s ever set in stone!
If you’d like me to take a look at other books in your genre and give you my opinion on price, please send me an email. I’ll give you my opinion and you can take it or leave it.
— Marquina (@Marquina) January 31, 2017