If you’re like most authors, you probably toiled for a long time to get your book “just right” and now it’s on Amazon and not selling. That’s pretty discouraging. Marketing folks may tell you to ramp up your promotion or beef up your social media presence and while all of that is great advice, there’s one thing that you may not be considering: your book’s price point.
Most authors when they price their books, they price it with their time and effort in mind. I get this, but it’s not a good model for pricing. In fact the surest way to kill your book success is to price it to earn back your investment as fast as you can. If that sounds counter-intuitive to you, consider this:
Consumers are price sensitive, especially when it comes to eBooks. A few years ago, Amazon got into a huge pricing dispute with Hachette which became national news. And while there were a lot of facets to this dispute, one of the main ones was pricing. Amazon has said publicly that eBook pricing in particular needs to be modified down, for sales to go up. Pricing your eBook so that it nearly matches your print makes no sense. And while I understand that the return on eBooks is higher and that this pricing model is tempting, you’ll wind up missing out on more sales.
Level 1: So What Should I Do?
Well, let’s start by taking a look at your competition. Have you analyzed similar books in your market? If not, start there and see what other price points you’re finding, You should be in that ballpark. When I spoke to someone from Kindle Direct Publishing, they told me that their sweet spot for eBook pricing is $2.99. If that number horrifies you, then consider this: Let’s say you are marketing like crazy and have your eBook priced at $9.99. Seems reasonable, right? Well that depends on the research you did about what other books are priced at for your market. My sense, however, that you’ll be the highest priced book, which is of course not good. Not only because you won’t sell but you could be promoting the heck out of your book only to help someone else make the sale – when they see what other books Amazon recommends that are similar to yours. The reality is this: if your consumer doesn’t know you, they may decide, “Well, I liked the idea of that book but the price is too high so I’ll grab this one instead.”
Level 2: But What About My Print Book?
The same rules apply to print books as well. If you have a print book that’s priced too high, you won’t make sales. The issue with print books is often this: you had your heart set on a hardback, but the hardbacks (especially with print-on-demand printing) are pretty pricey. Additionally, if you have a lot of color interiors, graphics, etc. you may have to forgo your book size preference or format to make a sale. Things to look for are heavy graphics (do you need all of them?), hardcover when you could do paperback, or perhaps you need to find a printer that can do these at a much more affordable rate. This means you may have to shop around.
Level 3: But I want to have a higher priced book, what should I do?
Well you know the old saying: the best way to sell your first book is with your second and so on? What that means essentially is: grow your platform. We all have authors we love, right? We buy all of their books the second they come out. This happens because we are part of their fan base, we love their work and we want to read everything they write. So while the idea of lowering your book price may seem discouraging, it’s not something you will have to live with your entire career. Build your fans, build your email list. Get more reviews! Seriously focus on getting more reviews. If you have twenty that’s ok but it’s not great, you need over one hundred to really start making a dent in your book discoverability.
Start lower and build higher, don’t let the price sensitive consumer pass you by because once you build a loyal following, price will no longer be an issue and they’ll be willing to pay a bit more for a product they know is a sure thing!
BONUS – Sell More Books!
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