The Ultimate Book Pricing Guide: How to Price Your Book
So, you’ve finally got a manuscript you’re proud of. Congratulations! You’re probably ready for the work to be over. But the truth is there’s still a lot of work to do to share your manuscript with the world.
You need to get your book published and get it on the shelves, both in the real world and the digital world. As any modern author knows, there more ways to get a book published today than ever before. Regardless of which path to publication you choose, one of the crucial decisions you’ll have to make is book pricing.
If you’re working with a traditional publisher then this decision will likely be made for you. But if you’re working with an independent press or self-publishing, the decision about how to price your book will be largely or totally up to you.
Most authors find book pricing overwhelming. You’re an artist, not a businessperson, right? Luckily, we’ve gathered some of the best advice about how to price your book out there to help you out. Read on to discover the most important things to consider when pricing your book.
Research the Market
The first thing you should do when you’re trying to figure out how to price your book is to research the market. This means checking out what books in your genre are selling for in different places and different formats.
You’ll need to find out what books in your genre are going for online as well as in bookstores. You’ll also need to discover the pricing differences for each book format like hardcover, paperback, and eBook.
Of course, you only need to research the formats you’re planning to publish in, so if you’re not doing a hardcover printing, skip that research. The same goes for researching the places where you’ll sell your books. If you’re only going to sell in independent bookstores it doesn’t make sense to research what books in your genre are going for on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.
The best way to start researching the market is to head to Amazon and bookseller websites. Search for books in your genre on these sites and scroll through a few pages of results. Note the prices for each book, then take an average of those prices. This will give you a good starting point.
Keep in mind, the general market price is far from the whole picture for book pricing.
Consider Your Goals
Your goals for your published book and your ideas about success have a big impact on effectively pricing your book.
If your goal is to make a profit on your book, then effective pricing is essential, and a little more complicated. You’ll need to actually do the math.
Take into account the cost of producing your book, how many books you’re producing, and how many copies you’ll need to sell to break even and make a profit given a certain price. This math becomes even more complicated if you’re using a self-publishing service and your profits will be based on royalties.
If your goal is to sell as many copies of your book as possible to just get it out there, then pricing your book is a little simpler. You can set an attractive price that encourages readers to purchase without worrying about the complicated math involved in turning a profit.
Beware of setting your price too low though. Sometimes setting a rock bottom price has the effect of making people think the book isn’t high-quality. So you’ll want to use the market research you did to choose a price that’s on the lower end of what books in your genre and format are selling for.
The exception to this rule is eBooks, which traditionally sell for $.99 or $1.99.
If you’re unconcerned about profit or book sales and you just want your book out there, pricing is simple. You can choose whatever price you think reflects the quality of your book and the effort you put into producing it.
Let the Experts Help
If you’re still completely overwhelmed by the book pricing process, there are services that will help you make this decision. This website will do the market research for you by analyzing all the books in your genre currently on Amazon and suggesting the price that will work the best for your book!
Use Online Platforms to Experiment with Pricing
Selling your book via online platforms usually offers the ability to adjust your book prices as you please. You can start by selling your book at one price and if that price doesn’t lead to the sales you’re looking for you can adjust the price accordingly. You can also run promotions on your book so a lower price is only applicable for a certain period of time.
Selling online in multiple formats also allows a lot of flexibility when it comes to book pricing. You can set a very low price, maybe $.99 or $1.99 for the eBook version of your book, but keep the price for a paperback or hardcover version much higher.
And don’t dismiss low eBook pricing as unprofitable. It is possible to make a profit with low priced eBooks because of the potential to sell so many more copies.
This pricing method offers the best of both worlds. You can sell more volume because of the low priced eBook, but you can still recoup costs via the higher-priced paperback/hardcover copies. And if you find that the price you set for either your eBook or print book isn’t getting the results you want, you can try out a new price for a bit and see how that impacts sales volume and profit.
Some Final Thoughts on Book Pricing
While all of these considerations are important to making this crucial decision, pricing your book really comes down to what feels right and what makes the most sense given your goals. You put a lot of hard work and soul into the writing, editing, and production of this book. That mental, physical, and spiritual effort should also be reflected in your book pricing.
You need to feel that what you’re selling your book for is representative of all that work and your value. There’s no formula for that, so just make sure that you’re checking in with yourself before you set that final price.
For more advice about writing, publishing, and selling your book, check out the Writing section of our website. We’re happy to offer our expertise.