For many self-published authors, particularly those in the realm of business writing, determining how to price a book is challenging. It’s about striking the balance between ensuring the book’s perceived worth aligns with its price, all while ensuring it measures up in a competitive market.
Whatever type of book you’re looking to publish, we’ll help you find the right price.
How to price your self-published book
You’ve poured countless hours, and perhaps a considerable amount of money, into crafting your book. Now, as you approach the final stages, it’s time to decide on a price tag. Here are some factors that you should consider when pricing your book.
1. The cost of production
The initial step in setting your book’s price is understanding the costs associated with its creation. This includes:
- Editing and proofreading
- Cover design
- Interior layout and formatting
- Printing and distribution costs
- Other expenses might include marketing and promotions, website fees, and any other related costs.
2. Recovering your investment
Your chosen price point should not only cover the costs of production but also allow you to make a profit. To figure this out:
- Determine the total cost of production and divide it by a realistic estimate of how many books you think you can sell. This gives you a base price.
- Add your desired profit margin to the base price.
3. Understanding your competition
Competitive analysis is essential. Look at other books in your genre, especially those with similar lengths and themes. How are they priced? If most books in your genre cost $24.99, you probably can’t charge $44.99. Likewise, if a more-established author in your genre is selling a book of a similar length for $14.99, it may be challenging to demand the same. On the other hand, underpricing can undervalue your work. Find the balance.
4. Book length, author reputation, and additional content
These elements significantly influence a book’s value:
- Book length: Longer books typically incur higher production, printing, and shipping costs due to the increased number of pages and materials required. It may also indicate that the author spent more time researching and writing the book.
- Author reputation: Established authors can typically charge more due to their existing fan base and proven track record. Newcomers might need to start with a more modest price point to attract initial readers, raising it as their reputation grows.
- Additional content: Supplementary materials like illustrations, workbooks, appendices, or any exclusive content can add value to your book and justify a higher price.
Book pricing example
With the variables we’ve discussed in mind, let’s look at a simple book pricing example. Let’s say your total production cost was $5000. Let’s assume, based on your market research and targeted readership, you estimate selling 1,000 copies in the first year.
$5,000 (total costs) ÷ 1,000 (estimated sales) = $5.
This means you need to price your book at a minimum of $5 just to break even on the initial costs.
Now let’s say you wish to earn a profit of $5,000 in the first year. This means you aim to earn $5 in profit per book.
$5 (break-even price per book) + $5 (desired profit per book) = $10
Based on the above costs and desired profit, you should consider pricing your book at $10 to recover your investment and achieve your profit goals.
Keep in mind, this is a very simplified example, and real-world scenarios will involve more variables such as your competition, book length, author reputation, etc.
Diving into digital: how to price an eBook
Ebook pricing holds many similarities as to the physical world of print books. Factors to consider when setting the price of an ebook include:
1. Production costs:
Just like with physical books, there are costs associated with producing an ebook, although these are often lower. You won’t have printing costs, but you still need to account for:
- Editing and proofreading
- Cover design (optimised for digital display)
- Ebook formatting
2. Distribution fees:
3. Market analysis:
Research similar titles within your genre or subject matter. Notice how debut authors versus established authors price their ebooks. Look into the average prices of ebooks.
4. Content considerations:
The length of your ebook, your reputation as an author, and any additional content (such as interactive elements, graphics, or supplementary materials) can all factor into your pricing strategy.
Adjusting your book price post-launch
Once your book is out in the world, whether physically or digitally, the sales data becomes a source of insights. If sales are slower than expected, it could be a sign that you priced your book too high. But give it some time – one week’s data might not provide a comprehensive picture, but several months offers more clarity.
You may also adjust your book price based on reviews. Reviews, whether they’re on platforms like Amazon or direct communications, provide insights into whether readers perceive the book as value for money. If you notice a trend in feedback suggesting the book is overpriced, it’s worth considering an adjustment. Conversely, positive reviews can be an indicator that your pricing is spot on, or even that there’s room for a slight increase.
Promotional pricing strategies
- Limited-time offers: One tried-and-true method to boost sales and visibility is offering the book at a reduced price for a short period. This strategy can not only drive sales but also increase reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Holiday and event sales: Aligning price reductions with major holidays or relevant industry events can attract readers looking for deals. For business authors, consider reducing prices around major industry conferences or during relevant awareness months.
- Bundling with other products: This strategy involves offering the book at a discounted price when purchased with another product or service. For instance, if you’re offering a course or webinar, consider bundling the book with it at a special combined rate. It’s a win-win: readers get more value, and you increase the visibility and reach of both your book and the complementary product.
Always keep in mind that pricing isn’t static. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your price, especially in the dynamic self-publishing landscape, ensures that your book remains competitive and continues to meet your sales and profitability goals.
Self-publish your book with Publish Central
From setting the perfect price to navigating the nuances of ebook and print editions, every decision can significantly impact your book’s success. Publish Central’s self-publishing services help business authors unlock the full potential of their work, ensuring it resonates with its intended audience and stands out in a crowded market. Connect with Publish Central today.