Book pricing seems pretty straightforward, but it’s something many authors struggle to get right. Here are some pointers to make sure you get a fair price for your creative work.
Why Book Pricing Matters
Pricing your book is a delicate balance between what you want—to make as much money as possible—and what your reader wants, which is to get a good book as cheaply as possible. You don’t want to turn people off with book pricing that’s too high, and you don’t want to undervalue your hard work and creativity. Here are some things to consider when setting book pricing.
Book Pricing and Royalties
How high are your royalties? The term royalty refers to the percentage of the book’s sales that you, as the author, will make. When setting book pricing, it’s important to know how much you will make from each sale.
In traditional publishing, your author royalties might be around 10% to 12%. That’s because when you publish with a commercial or scholarly publisher, you don’t have to pay for editing, layout, proofreading, cover design, or marketing. The publisher pays for all this upfront, so your royalties are lower to reflect that.
You are also likely to get an advance of upfront money, which could be around $10,000, even for a first-time writer. Established writers can get much larger advances and may be able to negotiate better royalty terms.
If you’re self-publishing in the standard formats, your percentage of the royalties will be higher. These rates range from 60% to 70%.
On Amazon, you can choose your royalty rate from two options. If you set book pricing under $2.99 or more than $9.99, you get 35% of royalties. If your book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99, you will get 70% of the royalties.
Why the difference? It’s clear that Amazon wants to keep most books within that price range, which is why you’ll see a lot of book pricing similarities among their authors.
So, how much will you make? If you price your book at $1.99, you’ll get 35% of every book you sell, which comes to about 70 cents per book. Pricing your book at $2.99 gets you the 70% royalty, which means you’ll make about $2.00 for each book sold.
How do other self-publishing platforms compare?
Barnes & Noble Press
Like Amazon, Barnes & Noble is a free e-publishing platform. It also offers the flexibility of offering your book in both print and print-on-demand versions. You can set up your book on the company’s online bookstore quickly and easily. Although Barnes & Noble Press reaches a small percentage of readers compared to Amazon, these are serious readers, and it may be easier to stand out in a smaller space. It offers a 70% royalty rate to authors.
Apple eBook Store
Thousands of authors have found a home on Apple’s iBook store and iTunes U, two free self-publishing platforms that allow you to design and upload your book directly from a Mac or iPad. Apple offers a 70% royalty on all e-books.
Start Low to Entice New Readers
If you’re brand new to self-publishing, you know the toughest part is standing out above the crowd. How do you get your book noticed among all the others in your genre that are rolling off the presses and appearing on self-publishing formats? One good way is by setting book pricing very low at the rollout.
If you price your book under a dollar, you are likely to entice new readers who are looking for something new but aren’t sure about an untried writer with only one or two positive reviews. At 99 cents, most readers who have even a slight interest in your book will feel they can afford it. If your self-publishing platform regularly highlights bargain books, you’ll be on those lists.
Offering books at a steep discount is a good way to get your sales off to a brisk start. Don’t feel that you must always stay in the depths of book discounts. You can always raise your book pricing later as your popularity increases.
Offer It Free as a Reader Magnet
The ultimate in competitive book pricing is to offer your book for free. Nobody wants to work for free. When you’re creating a reader magnet, however, the point is to offer a book in exchange for something more valuable than a straight sale.
What is a reader magnet? Also known as a lead magnet or lead generator, it’s something you offer to readers for free, in exchange for the reader allowing you to put their contact information on your email or newsletter subscription list.
Lead magnets are called that because they’re one of the best, most proven ways to pull readers to your website. In this case, your goals are high visibility and high traffic to your site. The book is the lure you offer to readers who are eagerly waiting to get more information. Reaching any goal requires some sacrifices. In this case, reaching the goal of higher visitors to your site means offering a book or other object at no cost.
Reader magnets and lead generators are usually a good choice for nonfiction books because readers usually want practical information they can use right away. Whether you’re offering a guide to floral arranging or your personal 10-step approach to becoming more mindful, there is something that your potential audience wants and needs. Address those wants a need with a well-written reader magnet.
Can you create a reader magnet with a fictional book? Some authors have had success doing this, but these are usually writers who have already had some success getting readers and whose readers are eager to get more.
For instance, you might offer an exclusive short story about one of your novel’s characters, or the opening chapters of an upcoming book. If your book already has fans, they’ll probably be thrilled to get these works for free in exchange for their contact information.
Book Pricing by Genre
The genre of your book can influence book pricing for your work.
- Romance: Most self-published romance novels range from $2.99 to $6.99.
- Young adult: Most of these books range from $4.99 to $8.99.
- Thrillers and mysteries: These usually go for $2.99 to $7.99.
- Nonfiction: Most nonfiction books range from $7.99 to $10.99, depending on the complexity and length.
Look at book pricing for books like yours when pricing your book. You don’t want to go too far out of the upper or lower ranges.
Book Pricing to Sell
When pricing your book, consider your royalties, the genre, and your goal. Look at similar books to see how authors have priced them. And remember, you can always change the price at any time.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to book pricing. If you need help with any aspect of printing your self-published book, talk to the friendly, helpful experts at Dazzle Printing.