Pricing your book can be a tricky subject…
…if you don’t do your research, you could wind up not selling any books, or you could sell a ton and not make any real money from the sales. Self-Publishing means all of the work is on you, and that includes pricing your books. Luckily, the research has already been done for you.
For the sake of argument, let’s say we’re talking about pricing a book on Amazon. As most of you probably know, Kindle gives authors a 35% share of royalties for books priced from $0.99 to $2.98. From $2.99 to $9.99, Kindle gives authors a 70% share. Anything above $9.99 goes back to a 35% royalty structure. I assume this is to keep eBook prices low while not cutting into paperback sales. Traditional publishers will tend to price their eBooks between $7.99 and $9.99, which is consistent with a mass market paperback cost. In fact, the publisher is probably making more money in Kindle form because they have less overhead.
Self-Published authors usually charge near the low end of the spectrum for a number of reasons. Readers are more likely to take a chance on a new author if the price is $3.99 or less. Self
Published authors also make more from each sale than if a publisher published their book. You know, fewer mouths to feed and so on. So you should just price your book at $0.99 and sell a million of them, right? Not exactly. For most full-length novels, $2.99 to $3.99 is the better way to go. At $2.99, you’ll sell more than at $3.99, but at $3.99 you’ll make slightly more money. At that point, it depends on what you’re going for, sales numbers or money. If you’re just starting out, gaining new readers might be more important than the money.
For the first book in a series, I usually like to price it at $0.99. You won’t make as much money, but it’s critical that you sell as many of the first book as possible. Some people even opt to make it free. If you want to make a Kindle book free, there’s a method to do so, which I’ll get to in a later blog post.
Pricing Short Fiction:
For short stories and novelettes I like to price them at $0.99. It seems like readers won’t pay much more than that for short works. Exceptions would include works from very prominent authors. Some people can get away with selling short stories for $1.99 or $2.99 and still get good sales. I envy them. It helps to think of short stories and the like as promotional materials, works that will get people into your other books, especially a series.
With nonfiction works, you can definitely get away with charging a bit more even if the work is short. I’ve seen 50 to 150 page nonfiction eBooks selling for $2.99 to $3.99 and people are willing to pay that amount. Even Self-Published authors are charging $4.99 and up for full-length nonfiction books. I think with this one it will depend more on what kind of following you already have. Try a price of $2.99 or $3.99 to start and if you think you can increase it, do so, and keep track of your sales. If they decrease too much, lower the price again. Play with it.
What do I do?
No matter what you publish, find three to five authors writing similar books and see what they charge. This isn’t something you should only do one time. I would check back once or twice a year and keep track of trends in the industry. For a while, selling books at $0.99 was THE thing to do. It worked for a lot of people I know. Now, however, selling for just a few dollars more s
ends a signal that your work isn’t “cheap.” It sends a signal that you are more professional. With that in mind, you should always strive to be worth the money your readers pay.
In the comments below, tell me what you write and what you charge. What pricing models have you had success with?