This week I tried to find the answer to this question; what to price your book? How do you value your work? Of course, I have worked very hard to write my books so I find them invaluable. How do readers value them though? What price will they pay to read it? This is what I’m trying to find out in this article.
Some say that when you compare a book to a cup of coffee, the price of a cup of coffee is overrated (as it often costs more than an eBook). The coffee was made by the barista within a few minutes while it took a few months (if not years) to write your book. This, however, is a distorted and simplified vision. The coffee beans were grown in a field, nurtured by the farmer for weeks if not months as well, harvested, dried, roasted, and transported to where you are, and prepared the way you like to drink your cup of coffee. All the people involved in this, the farmer, the coffee roaster, the transporter, the barista, all need to get paid. When writing a book, it’s not much different. Apart from the writer, there is the editor, formatter, cover artist, and publisher that need to get paid. Yet people are willing to pay more for a cup of coffee than they are for your book. So how to price it in order for them to buy it?
If you have a publisher, you are very lucky. They will deal with the whole ‘selling of your book’ stuff. Not all publishers put in the same effort, though, and I’ve heard stories of authors that still need to do a lot of the advertising themselves. Most of us, unfortunately, have not been so lucky to find a publisher willing to take our book on. We’ll have to do the hard work of trying to sell our books ourselves.
You can’t get around Amazon as it’s the book seller nowadays. You don’t have to sell on Amazon, but with the reach they have at the moment, you’d be stupid not to. When you do, you’ll find out that Amazon makes a distinction between books priced under $3.00 and those priced $3.00 or higher. For the former, you only get 35% profit, the rest is pocketed by Amazon. For the latter, you earn a whopping 70% of the sale. It is tempting to price your book this high so you will earn more profit. Unfortunately, the effect is that not a lot of people will buy your book as they will find it too expensive. There is such a large offer available on the internet nowadays, with many books even offered for free, that most people don’t even want to pay for books at all anymore. True readers know that ‘you get what you pay for’ though and are willing to spend that little money to get something worth reading and only go for the free offers from tested (and liked) authors.
When I put my book on Amazon, I opted for the cheaper version. As I’ve only got one book to sell at the moment (soon three), I want people to try it out and get hooked. I’m no longer with KDP Select anymore, as I would like to try and sell my book elsewhere than just Amazon, so I can’t offer it for free (if I wanted to). Amazon will price match with other publishers (i.e. free), but you’ll have to ask them as this isn’t done automatically. I looked around on Amazon and it seemed that $0.99 is the absolute minimum that books are priced for when not offered for free and that’s what I priced my first book.
I wondered if I was selling too cheap so I did a (very small) study of vampire books on Amazon and came to the following conclusions:
- There is no correlation between the number of pages and the price of the book. The number of pages varied from just over 200 to over 450, not including prequels (which are normally a lot shorter). The prices varied from £0.99 to nearly £5.00, some whole box sets were offered completely for free, but the price didn’t correspond to the number of pages.
- Most stories are part of a series, with the first book priced cheaper than the subsequent ones, which are not always the same price. I find this strange, but perhaps the number of pages were not the same (I didn’t look into this, yet).
- Price is not an indicator of the quality of the writing. Some were highly priced, but had bad reviews regarding grammar, punctuation, and formatting. One of the higher priced books had the worst reviews.
When taking into account these observations, I can only conclude that there is no real guideline to follow. Authors just do what they want. I’d have to do more research to find out what the results of these prices are (resulting in more/less reviews) and finding out what quality their writing is.
Authors of other genres have told me not to sell my work too cheap and never to give it away for free. True, it has cost me a lot of time, effort, and money and it is of good enough quality to ask for more rather than less. I like to think that my books are of better quality than some trash you find out there that make your toes curl with every misplaced comma, spelling error, and formatting faux pas. Nevertheless, I think I’ll keep my first book priced at £0.99 and will ask for more than that for Book 2 and 3 of the trilogy, but stay under the £3.00. I don’t have a following yet and I don’t think my work is of such high quality ( I know my work will never be literature)/number of pages to ask for more (it won’t be epic stories either). We’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you up to date 😊 .
I don’t have a lot of memes this week. I’ve been too serious 🙂 .
Photo by Aris Sfakianakis on Unsplash