One of the most common questions I hear from indie authors is: “How do I price my eBook?”
First, let’s deal with some wrong thinking about price. There is no one method or approach to pricing that will work for every book. That’s right. There is not a single answer to this question.
So, the real question becomes, what is some way I can determine a price for my book that the market will bear?
Let’s consider some of the information you’ll need to come up with a good pricing strategy.
1. How many titles do you have available?
2. What are other comparable eBooks in your genre selling for?
3. What are you distribution channels?
4. What are your sales goals? Are you looking for a short, big burst of sales or are you looking at building a steady stream of sales over a period of time?
Number of Titles Available
If you only have one title available, your pricing strategy will probably vary from an author who has multiple titles. For example, when my first book, A Dream Unfolding, was released, I priced it at $2.99 until the second book in the series came out. I chose the $2.99 because a lot of authors talk about that being the sweet spot price for eBooks (more on my thoughts about that later). My sales were okay – not really reaching over 100 books per month at that price point.
When I released my third book in the series, I dropped the price of the first book to $0.99 while pricing books two and three at $2.99. I was still working on building my marketing strategy, but I sold over 200 copies of the first book that month and another 150 between the other two.
After a month of some very strong marketing, selling over 700 books between all three titles, I decided to come up with a better strategy for pricing books two and three. I left book one at $0.99 to reduce the barriers for new readers to try my books as a new-to-them author.
My answer for books two and three? I priced them both at $5.99. Before you cringe and say that my sales tanked, let me offer you the next point.
Price of Comparable Books in Your Genre
I did a pricing study of the top 100 best selling eBooks in my genre. You know what I found when I did that? The average price for my genre was $5.29 with some eBooks as high as $9.99 and others as low as $0.99. I decided to go up a little from the average and price them at $5.99.
The results? I didn’t see any drop off in sales. Instead, I saw a marginal increase, which I attribute to better marketing efforts, closing out the month with 1740 books. That number has been steadily increasing each subsequent month.
How do distribution channels affect pricing? Well, if your eBook is on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other distributors, be aware of their rules. Amazon has a strict policy (see KDP’s Terms & Conditions for the most accurate info) that your eBook cannot be priced lower on another distributor than it is on their site. Apple has a rule that the book must end in 99 (i.e. $0.99, $1.99, etc). These rules must play into your pricing strategy.
Lastly, your sales goals are a part of your pricing strategy. If you’re looking for a short term burst, try lowering your price for a short period of time, like for a 99 cent sale.
If you’re looking for long term, steady sales growth, consider doing a pricing study or pick a price and stick with it for awhile. Price alone will not provide long term sales Marketing plays an important role to the success of your novel.
The Sweet Spot Price
Given my own results with books priced higher than $2.99, I disagree with the idea that there is a one-size fits all sweet spot price for all eBooks of all genres. My historical novels are doing well at the $5.99 price point.
Conversely, my new contemporary novel is not getting as much traction at $4.99. My approach to this? I’m working on beefing up my marketing efforts for it—leaving price alone. If it’s still not doing well in its third month of release, then I might play with price.
Remember, price is just one of the tools at your disposal for selling your novels. Don’t forget about advertising, distribution, and promotions.
By Karen Baney