Writing ebooks? If you’re a new author, you’re concerned about ebook pricing.
Established authors, who’ve built up a catalogue of titles, tend not to worry about pricing individual ebooks. They’re focused on extending their reach, and on pricing their ebook series, so that they can tempt new readers into giving their ebooks a try.
One of my students told me: “I price everything at $2.99. Short story, novel, nonfiction ebook… I don’t care. Everything’s priced the same, and I enroll everything in Select for Kindle Unlimited.” It works for him, now that Kindle Unlimited pays you according to pages read.
My own pricing system is much the same. I don’t price everything at $2.99. I price short stories at 99 cents because they’re loss leaders for series, but I vary the prices on other titles. I’m guided by what other authors in a genre are charging, but I’ll also test prices with ebooks which are selling well.
If you increase the price of an ebook, you may make more money at a certain price point, even if you sell fewer ebooks.
As my friend does, I enroll everything in Kindle Unlimited (KU).
WrittenWord Media offers an excellent article on pricing ebooks:
“An author who wants to maximize a financial return on their marketing dollars will use a different pricing strategy than an author who wants to acquire the most new readers. Both goals are undoubtedly part of your marketing plan. Which strategy you deploy depends on which goal applies to the specific title you’re promoting.”
Four tips for ebook pricing today
Most authors want to make money from their ebooks, and they want to increase their readership too. It’s possible to do both.
Let’s look at some ebook pricing tips.
1. Avoid “free” for standalone ebooks, and short series
Free, or low priced ebooks, don’t always convert to sales, or to increasing your readership.
Readers can get all the free titles they want to download in most genres, so “free” has gone from a useful marketing tool, to a tool you need to handle carefully.
Keep in mind too, that Kindle Unlimited allows a subscriber to read as many ebooks as he likes for free. Not all ebooks are in KU, of course, and many of Amazon’s country sites don’t offer KU.
2. If you’re pricing above or below other indie authors in a category, have a reason
Let’s say that other authors in your genre are charging 99 cents for ebooks which are part of a series, and you want to charge $2.99 for each episode of your ten-episode series. Could that work for you?
It’s impossible to say. Try it, and see. That’s always what I suggest when authors ask about pricing — try it, and see.
Keep careful notes of your experiments.
3. Choose an ebook price quickly, change it slowly
You can change the price of an ebook; no price is set in stone. However, ebooks take time to find their level.
Let’s say that you’re selling a standalone novel. You published it a couple of months ago. Sales are slow. You decide to lower the price… should you?
If you’re hoping that changing the price will suddenly turn your sleeper into a hot title, pricing it lower may have little effect. Who knows why a title doesn’t sell? You feel it’s your best work, and are disappointed. You want to do something, anything, to kick this title along. So you lower the price.
It may work. On the other hand, your sleeper title may suddenly take off. A year after publication, it suddenly starts selling. That happened to one of my sleepers. I have no idea why. The title wasn’t in a popular genre, either.
4. Advertise titles which are selling well
Sell what’s selling. If a title sells well, consider turning it into a series — if it works, it works. You can also give titles which sell a push with advertising.
If a title isn’t selling, you may kickstart it with advertising, but on the other hand, you may not. Avoid spending big on titles which don’t sell. You may be tossing good money after bad.
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