day twenty four: knowing how to price

One of the questions I get the most from people who are beginning their process of indie publishing is how do I land on a price for my books?

I wish there was an easy answer. 

It's not science, although there are articles about how an eBook priced at 1.99 would be the death knell for your manuscript since that price doesn't really scream CONFIDENCE. Strangely enough, 99 cent eBooks sell like hotcakes, and so do those priced at 2.99. 

For me, I look around and take notes. What are other indie authors in my genre charging? You can't base your cost solely on what everyone else is doing, but you don't want to undercut or overcharge, either. I do know this: you want to have a reason for the price you've chosen.

When I released EVERY SHATTERED THING, an eBook price of 2.99 seemed fair to me. It felt good. I sent it out into the world, and then a week after publication, we bumped the price to 99 cents for a promotional sale and to see how high we could push the book on the charts. The higher the number, the more lists you find your book. Bestsellers within the subtopics of your genre, hot new releases, movers and shakers — Amazon keeps tabs of all kinds of movement within the books sold and so any jump is great. 

But you want to be careful with promotions. 

I only ever dropped the price twice after that initial promotion. Readers don't appreciate purchasing a book only to find the next day it's dropped price willy-nilly.

The two times I dropped EVERY SHATTERED THING's price? One was for Super Bowl weekend, one of the highest ranking weekends for human trafficking in the United States. The other was this past July. I never bumped it back up to 2.99. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN WATER AND SKY would be out within a few months, and I planned on shifting the price. I knew people new to the series would be more likely to purchase book one if it were 99 cents than if both books were 2.99. Cost analysis. 

(I also dropped the paperback price of EVERY SHATTERED THING so now you can purchase it for under 10 dollars while SOMEWHERE BETWEEN WATER AND SKY is set at 14.99)

You may also consider a release week promotion. This makes sense to a lot of readers, and it boosts sales because it provides a sense of urgency. The risk here? People question why you're setting your book at such a low price. This happened to me with SOMEWHERE BETWEEN WATER AND SKY. 

Also? Pay attention to royalties. With Amazon, if you price your book at 99 cents, you receive a small royalty set at 30%. If you price ABOVE 99 cents, you can change the royalty option to 70%. Huge difference. 

Most important thing: what's best for you? You know your audience. You know what they'd be willing to pay. It may seem like an impossible decision, but I've found that if you think about it, the right price really does sit easy in your stomach. The wrong one? You feel dissonant. Confused.  Pay attention to those feelings. You don't want to appear to the public as if you have no idea what you're doing. Stay confident. Own that story you've bled over and show others it's worth reading.

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Posted on October 24, 2014 and filed under indie publishing, writing.