Setting the price for your e-book

Last week, I wrote about the marketing strategy of offering your book for free. This week I wanted to address setting the price for your self-published novel.

You have spent months, even years, toiling over this book. You of course think it is worth just as much as any New York bestseller. The problem is you aren’t Stephen King or John Grisham. No one – or very few people – recognizes your name.

While bestsellers can sell for $10-18 (prices based on hard cover and paperbacks NY Times Bestsellers on Amazon), should you expect your book to sell for the same amount? To be quite honest with you the answer is no. Yes, your novel may be well-written but people don’t know you, and many will not be willing to shell out that type of money for a novel by an unknown.

You are free to price your book however you desire. If you feel your e-book should be priced comparably to a hard cover, go right ahead. But realize that many readers may not share your opinion, and your sales will reflect that.

A lot of authors, myself included, price their books at $2.99 since this allows them the higher royalty rate on Amazon but is still low enough to entice readers to give an unknown author a chance. Some authors price their novels $4.99 or higher. But I will say as a reader myself, I rarely spend that on a well-known author, so I am not spending that on someone I have never heard of and may not like.

And of course, some people try 99 cents because at that rate people might be willing to try your book on a lark. As a reader, worst-case scenario you are out a buck and some time. I will be pricing my short story, The Search, at 99 cents for this exact reason. Originally, I had considered using it as a loss leader (discussed last week) and giving it away for free, but I am going to try KDP Select and thus have to price it at least 99 cents.

When deciding on the price of your book, you should consider  how long it is. Is it a 10,000 word short story? A 30,000 word novella? Or a 100,000+ word novel?

Now you can come up with your own pricing but in my opinion, you should consider the amounts below.

Short Stories – 99 cents – can’t imagine as a reader I can’t imagine paying more for anything under 15,000 words. If you have written a short story or novella, check out this blog on pricing tips.

Novels – $2.99 – $4.99 (If you are an unknown, I would aim for the lower end.)

In the end, we have to experiment and see what the market will bear. For an established author with a league of fans, a higher price may be fine. However, for a new author, without any fans, even getting $2.99 for a novel may be hard. Thankfully, changing the price of your novels takes just a few seconds so you can try out different rates to see what works for you.

2 thoughts on “Setting the price for your e-book

  1. […] I began this blog, I wrote about pricing your e-book. This was three and a half years ago, and I was new to the industry. Today, many authors still […]

  2. […] characters, starting scenes, ending scenes, story arcs, setting, editing, grammar, covers, titles, pricing, and so many other […]

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