The Ultimate Ebook Pricing Guide for Indie Authors
After the long process of writing, editing, and perfecting your ebook, it’s finally time to get it published! And while there is a lot that goes into the publishing process (such as selecting a publishing platform and writing the book description), one of the most important decisions you have to make is pricing this ebook. Because the truth is, setting the right price can significantly impact its success in the market, and hence your success as an author.
You need to know how to price your book in a way that’s not too expensive for your target readers, nor too cheap that you end up without any profits. And that’s exactly what we’re going to show you in this article.
So let’s explore everything you need to know about ebook pricing, and show you how to strike the right balance between profitability and market appeal.
Factors to Consider When Pricing Your Ebook
Before we go into how to price an ebook, let’s take a look first at the factors that you should consider while setting the price. Taking these factors into consideration will make it easier for you to set a price that helps you increase your ebook sales and attract a larger audience.
- Ebook Length: As logic dictates, a 30-page ebook will not be priced the same as one that is 150 pages. Longer books usually require more time, effort, and resources to create, which justifies the higher price point. However, there is an exception to this rule, and that’s when the shorter ebook includes additional add-ons.
- Content and Add-Ons: When your ebook has rich content and add-ons, its value increases. These add-ons could be anything from interactive features or ebook apps to audio or video files. Adding uniqueness and making your ebook stand out, these features can help you set a higher price than similar ebooks in your genre.
- Market Demand: This is especially true for non-fiction book authors. If you wrote a book on coping with Covid and its consequences, for instance, in May of 2020, you might have been able to price it much higher than what you would do today.
- Fan Base or Email List: If you are just starting out and no one knows who you are yet (except your family and friends who are most likely willing to buy your books to support you), it is probably a good idea to keep your ebook price relatively low. Some authors even go as far as offering their first book for free, especially if it is the first in a series, just to attract an audience and build a fan base. This way, readers will become invested in the story and are more likely to purchase the following books.
How to Price Your Ebook
Knowing how to effectively price your ebook is your way to ensure increased sales leading to good revenue. And while there are many factors at play here that might leave you confused, we have come up with some simple yet effective steps that can help you set the right ebook price.
Step 1: Set Your Goals
The first thing you need to clarify is your goal for publishing your ebook. If this is your first published novel, for example, your focus might be gaining more exposure and attracting a new audience rather than making good money. By setting a lower price, you make your ebook more accessible and appealing to readers who might be hesitant to pay for the work of someone whom they have never heard of before. This, in turn, can help you build a readership base, generate positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations, and ultimately increase your visibility as an author.
And while exposure and financial gain are not mutually exclusive, they can sometimes collide. A lower price means lower revenue per each ebook sold, which can impact your immediate earnings. However, the potential benefits of attracting new readers and gaining recognition may outweigh the short-term financial considerations, particularly for new authors.
On the other hand, if your goal is to maximize your profit, then you can set a higher price for your ebook. This can help you generate higher revenue per each ebook sold, even if it means potentially reaching a narrower audience.
It’s important to note that these goals may evolve over time, and you can adjust your pricing strategy accordingly as you build your readership and establish your place in the publishing landscape.
Step 2: Research Book Prices in Your Genre
As humans, we tend to give more value to the products that we created, which might lead you to set a higher price than the average, and this in turn can cause a drop in your ebook sales. That’s why a good place to start your pricing process is by looking at other books in your genre. Knowing what other authors charge for ebooks similar to yours can give you an idea of what the price of yours can be.
For example, according to published author Sarah Bale, “For self-published romance books, there is a range from $2.99 to $6.99.” So it’s a good idea, if you are a romance writer, to stay in this range.
And while it’s not advisable to go above the average price range of your genre, don’t go lower than it either. It’s true that pricing your ebook lower than the average price might give you a competitive advantage, but going too low might affect its perceived value.
Step 3: Account for the Various Costs
Now that you have decided on your goal and got an idea of the average price range of your book genre, it’s time to think about all the production costs of this ebook and how to make up for them. Because even if your goal isn’t to make a profit from this book, you don’t want to be losing money either.
Let’s say you have hired an editor and a designer to perfect the final version of your ebook and add some interesting visuals. Or you might have used some paid tools to finalize your ebook, such as Canva for your designs or AI writing tools, and they have cost you some money. All these expenses need to be covered by your book sales.
Step 4: Take Royalties into Consideration
If you are selling your ebook on Amazon or other ebook retailers, then you’ll probably be receiving a percentage of the retail price as royalties. In that case, you should take the detected percentage into consideration.
Each platform gives different royalties, and while some of them can let you sell your ebook and get 100% of the price (such as Kotobee), others (like Amazon in some cases) might give as low as 35%. So make sure to choose the platform that is best for you when it comes to royalties as well as exposure.
Step 5: Review Sales and Feedback
There are a couple of ways by which you can test the market and set a definitive price for your ebook. The first is pre-launching your ebook, and the second is increasing the price every certain number of sales.
Pre-launching your ebook with a limited-time-only price can give you an idea of what your target audience is willing to pay. This can be especially useful if you have an established fan base or email list to whom you can announce this prelaunch. Say, for example, you want to price your ebook on the higher side, like $20 per copy. You can then pre-launch it for $15 and see how it does. If the sales go well, you can then increase the price as you planned.
The second way of reviewing sales and adjusting your ebook pricing accordingly is to set a different price for every certain number of sales. This strategy was what author Steph Smith followed with pricing her ebook, Doing Content Right. She started preselling it for $10, then when people suggested that it is worth more, she increased $5 for every 30 sales. She kept doing that till her ebook reached $30 and its sales started to slow down. After launch, however, she increased the price again as the demand increased, and today this ebook is sold for $150!
Step 6: Experiment with Price Promotions
According to Publish Drive, ebook price promotions can yield up to 10X more sales. This makes promotions a strong sales tactic that you can use to increase your ebook revenue. You can also use book promotion sites to sell your discounted ebook and get better exposure at the same time.
Experimenting with different price points can help you figure out how much people are willing to pay for your ebook. If the price of your ebook is $8, for example, you can run a promotion for a couple of weeks, selling it for $5 instead. You can then review the sales and decide if you want to continue this promotion for an extended period or not. Or you can announce regular promotions every couple of months and see how your target audience reacts to each of them.
Pricing an ebook involves more than just randomly assigning a number. It requires a strategic approach that takes into account both internal and external factors. By understanding your target audience, analyzing the competition, and evaluating production costs, you can make informed decisions about pricing strategies that align with your goals as an author.