Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

Determining a price for your book

4 min read

If you have chosen the path of Self-Publishing to introduce your work to the world, you probably have already checked a bunch of things off of your list by now.

  • Finished Manuscript (The obvious one.)

  • Having your book professionally edited

  • Cover Created

  • Book Description

  • Marketing

Wait? One big piece is missing here. What about the price?

As much as we Indie authors want to believe we can compete with the Traditionally published authors and book stores in terms of matching prices, our goal is simply to be seen at all. Someone once explained it to me this way. Do you want a higher royalty or do you want to start building an audience? If you keep your prices lower, you can increase your prices once your reader base grows.

Honestly, this made so much sense. How was I, a nobody, going to charge 12 bucks for a paperback? There was no way a reader was going to commit that much money to me without knowing what they were getting.

Granted, with the costs of printing and the cut the publishing service takes for hosting it, self-published authors aren't exactly able to get their price points lower than 6-8 dollars most of the time for a paperback. But, we can make it as affordable as possible to start building momentum for yourself.

With that being said, as much as we want to start building an audience and creating a price point that readers are comfortable taking risks with, you still need to pay yourself something. After all, editing isn't cheap and you are taking the time to write this great book. When you choose a price for your ebook and paperback, look at the royalty you will receive from it.

So, now the question remains. What are reasonable prices? Let's talk about the factors to take into consideration.

  1. Length: How long is your book? This is often a big factor as a novella or short story isn't going to be as expensive as a 60 K-length book. This also means that you need to take into account the trim size because it matters. What is the average trim size of your type of book?

  2. Genre: Prices are always going to vary between genres. A non-fiction or informational book is going to be providing a service of teaching you something, therefore raising the price compared to a fiction book.

  3. Price in Relevance to Release Date: What do I mean by this? Every book is more expensive at the time of its release and after its time sitting on the shelf, it gradually decreases in price. When you look at other books in your genre to compare prices, be sure to look for the release date to see how long it's been out. Oftentimes, if the price is still higher, it has more reviews and a higher sales rank or is from a publishing house.

How do royalties work in pricing?

Let's use Amazon as an example.

For paperbacks, Amazon offers a 60% royalty payback. But, what does that look like?

Break Down of how you get your royalty from a paperback (Printing costs are $4.85 for paperbacks through Amazon.):

If you list the paperback version of your book for $10 dollars, you would calculate it as (0.60 x 10) - $4.85 = $1.15. So for a $10 book, you receive $1.15 cents on each paperback.

For Ebooks, Amazon offers two options, the opportunity to earn 70% or 35% in royalties.

To qualify for the 70% royalties option, your ebook must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99 and be listed at least 20% below the price of your paperback price listed on Amazon.

To qualify for the 30% royalties option, your ebook can be between $0.99 to $200.00 as long as it meets these title requirements.

Ebooks seem to be the most popular option as we move forward, especially when Amazon adds the bonus of being eligible for Kindle Unlimited if you enroll your book in their program exclusively. (Meaning it cannot be published anywhere else.)

All in all, the good thing about price is that it can be adjusted and changed. If you change it after a release, be sure to wait a few weeks, as hard as that can be. The last thing you want is to receive a bad review because one of your first customers purchased your book at a higher price a day or week before only to find out you lowered the price, leaving them feeling cheated.

After having a few books out pricing your books get easier. Do the research and build your audience. It all comes in time.