Book Pricing is complicated…
I will tell you my method and what’s worked for me.
When you launch your first book, regardless of size, charge 99c and go straight to the book promotion sites early. Read about which promotional sites to use here.
The strategy here is to get eyes on your book early and then hope it gets reviews early on. As the reviews come in, you can go to higher price brackets. At first you have to start low to get people in the door.
Let’s say you don’t have the money to throw at those sites right now. You work a day job at McDonald’s or Walmart living paycheck to paycheck. Read my article about free ways to promote your book here.
I don’t want you to stay in the mindset that the free option is the best one. You must diversify your marketing up front, early on, to get those first 10-20 reviews. I am still working on it, because I didn’t have this information a year ago.
So after your first 10-20 reviews how much should you charge? It depends on several factors. People say to check other books in your genre to get a rough estimate. I agree with this assumption, because the top ranking books in your genre usually have been tested for that market.
I think another thing to take into consideration is length. If you are publishing a short story that is 30-50 pages sell it for 99c. I know it hurts but the consumers today are getting full novels for 99c or even novels that are permafree. It sucks, but that’s how it goes.
Take your own psychology with other books. Would you pay $9.99 for a 50 page book? Probably not. Would you pay 99c for a short read? I’d imagine so.
Here’s where it gets messy. I mentioned before in my article called “Is KDP Select Worth It?” That some people put their first book as permafree. I reject this practice, and think it’s an insult to you and your audience.
I will quote from that article right here:
“We like to hoard free stuff. If you go somewhere that has, for example, free DVD’s. You would take a bunch. Why? BECAUSE IT’S FREE! Then you put those DVD’s in a box and take them home maybe watch one or two of them and forget they are there,” From Is KDP Select Worth It?
Perma-free is a bad idea. If you are desperately looking to attract a new audience to sell through to your next book in a series price it at $2.99. It’s the lowest price you can get the 70% for it, and the truth hurts but the second book always sells less than the first.
If you want to price it strategically, I’ll reference another quote from my article on KDP Select.
“Free and 99c are only good for one thing. Promotional runs with bookbub, freebooksy, or ENT. Your book should never be free or 99c unless it’s a book that’s only worth 99c. Like a 50 page short story. That’s the only time it makes sense.” Is KDP Select Worth It?
The pricing structure I’d recommend as a reader is price book one at $2.99, book 2 at $3.99, and book 3 at $4.99. I have The Decay at $9.99, because it’s a standalone novel in a series.
My books are both in a series but also standalone so that is a big thing to consider. Anthologies that have the same character are priced differently than a series of books that are direct continuations of book 1.
Lord of The Rings is a series that has direct sequels. Jack Ryan books by Tom Clancy are all standalone in a series. The formats are different.
One person may love The Hunt for Red October and be willing to pay $9.99 for it, but not want to read Patriot Games.
With the standalone / series hybrid I’d say find a price that makes sense for you and price them all at that same price. Personally I think if someone won’t spend between $4.99 and $9.99 for your book then you’re doing something wrong.
The traditional publishers use the higher numbers, sometimes over $10, for their authors that may be unknown. Not every person who gets traditionally published is Stephen King, but they price the books the same as if they were Stephen King.
Pricing your book too low makes it obvious that it’s self-published.
Like it or not most readers want a book that is traditionally published. Traditionally published books are vetted and held to a higher standard. A company is putting their name, brand, and money behind that book. So it’s perceived as higher quality.
The way to avoid this is charge between $4.99 and $9.99 for full novels. I would say anything under $7.99 is a dead giveaway to prospective customers about if you are traditionally published or not. A publisher will sell a mass market for $4.99, but not a kindle version.
What do you think? Am I full of it or did this make sense? Comment below and join my newsletter to get updates on future articles. Thanks.