Aspects to consider when pricing your eBook that no one talks about #WriterWednesday #AuthorMarketing #MarketingTips

When I first started publishing my writing, I wasn’t concerned with how I was going to price my work. I was just excited if someone actually read it! In fact, my first published novel, Unforeseen Consequences, is now permafree because of that philosophy. (Truth be told, that book probably should be free. Not trying to beg compliments here. Just being brutally honest.)

Anyway, when I realized that being an author was about more than writing books, I dove into researching all aspects of the writing profession from author platforms to marketing books to – wait for it – pricing your novels. If you do your research about pricing your novel, you’ll come across a whole bunch of headache-inducing graphs indicating which book prices sell the best. That’s one (of many) ways to price your work. I’m here to offer you another way or at least a bit of guidance.

Newsletter marketing. The vast majority of my sales are the result of newsletter marketing. Not my own newsletter – not by a long shot. No, I’m referring to professional newsletters such as choosy bookworm, the fussy librarian, book bub (although they like to snub me), etc. One requirement for nearly every newsletter worth its cost is sales point. Your book needs to be at least 50% off or free to feature. Personally, I don’t like giving my work away for free. It kind of offends me that people are willing to spend $ 4.50 for a Starbucks coffee but rail against spending more than 99 cents for a book. But a good bargain? Now that’s something I believe in. I now price all of my books higher than $1.99 to ensure I can use the majority of the commercial newsletter services without giving it away for free.

Amazon ads. Being totally honest, Amazon is the reason I started writing this blog. I went to KDP to start a new advertising campaign (I’ve been experimenting with several) and discovered I couldn’t make a campaign for Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker because of its original price point. To be honest, I’m not sure if Amazon ads are worth it yet, but I’d like to at least have the option. (Stay tuned for more on Amazon ads. I’m currently running an expensive ad and watching the result with bated breath.)

Better bargains = more sales. One thing that is painfully obvious to most marketing gurus is that the larger the discount, the higher the sales. In my experience, this is true of eBook sales as well. My books that are priced above $2.50 make more sales when discounted to 99 cents than my books priced at $1.99.

Well, that’s my 2 cents worth of advice today. Go forth and sell some books!

26 July 1

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  1. Hello,

    Long time follower and reader. Infrequent comment-er.

    So you know where I am in life, I have finished the first two books in my series. I am prepping for a editor and following down the path towards self-publication. My long term goal is world domination but until then, my goal is to enjoy the process and hopefully find people in the world that enjoy my work.

    If you are pricing at 2.99, how are you making any money?

    Just by my rough calculations, it will cost me at about 1000-1500 per book per edit. I am planning a developmental edit even though the books are complete. I have read about so many authors skipping that step and it hurting them. So for book 1 my budget is ..3000 in edits…500ish in cover art (I have heard more and less) but I also heard that this is a place where you dont want to be cheap. And then having a professional website and other small things like the ISBN…guestimating another 500 dollars. That is 4,000 before advertising.

    I havent even considered the price of the book itself when you sale it. I figure 15 to 20 dollars to have a single copy printed. I would love to get that price down but being honest, my wife would kick the ever living snot out of me if I dropped 20,000 dollars on a run of books. And that is assuming that I actually had that kind of disposal income, which I dont.

    In my mind, I was thinking I would be pricing a single hard copy book somewhere around 23 to 25 dollars.

    Are my estimates wrong?

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Oh gosh, make money. What’s that?

      But seriously… I spend about $500 per book with editing. I’m sure spending more would make my books better, but that’s just not realistic with the amount of books I sell at the price I sell them. My husband does the cover art. He’s artsy. We bought him some special computer programs and spend around $100 per book cover on pictures. I have a free wordpress website so that costs nothing (but lots of time!). I use the free ISBN from Smashwords, Amazon and Createspace. I also do all the formatting myself (benefits of being a recovered lawyer – I’m VERY familiar with word programs).

      I concentrate on ebook sales. The vast majority of my sales are ebooks. I print a run of about 20 through CreateSpace that I give away for promotional purposes. I’ve printed more in the past but it’s just not worth it. I write in English but live in a non-English speaking country. I’ve printed more in the past when I’ve done book launches (and usually sold about 20 copies per book store event).

      If you want my honest opinion, a single hard copy for $23 will be tough to sell. Hard copies don’t sell well to begin with and even the latest for NYT best selling authors is less (In comparison, Dan Brown’s latest book is $20 for the hard cover). Although indie authors don’t have the bad rap they’ve had in the past, readers are still cautious when buying a book from an unknown author.

      Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. Take it or leave it. I’m not a best selling author by a long shot although I do sell enough to earn more than enough to pay for my marketing costs each month. Some months more, some months less …

      1. 2 Cents worth? That is more like 5 cents worth. Actually, it is probably a whole nickel’s worth. Ha ha.

        Seriously, I really appreciate your honesty and openness in your answer. Everyone is so willing to tell people like me how to write. But very few are willing to pull back the curtain and show the mechanics of the business. I am approaching this as a business and while I most definitely want people to read and enjoy my work, I cant let that desire get in the way of providing for my family. They would prefer to go to the beach rather than have me spend that money on book promotion.

        I am a dinosaur when it comes to books. I love a hard copy. I don’t have a electronic tablet for reading although I have one for work.

        I really appreciate the answer and you have given me somethings to ponder in the upcoming year.


  2. Hi D.E.,
    Thanks for the price point tips. There is so much to marketing that one small thing can affect sales. Interesting that with promotions, the more discounted the more sales. There is so much more to writing than writing I find. Julie

  3. Great post and it follows the one I did last week on marketing. I agree, when you self-publish determining price, where to list it, etc. is difficult and for each genre the formula is usually different. I haven’t tried any of the discount strategies. My first book, I set the price at KDP Select minimum price. Once my friends quit buying it and sales diminished, I tried raising the price. I found it odd, that I started getting sales again. Then I tried the market plan that I discussed in my post. It rejuvenated my sales and now I have some consistency. I still think it is a hit and miss challenge and what works for one may not work for another. However, I agree, price is a strong factor in sales. I look mostly at my competition within my genre and follow the ones that are selling.

    1. I agree that what works for one author may not work for another. The market is constantly changing as well. Strategies that worked 2 years ago are less successful now (eg blog tours).

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