Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Money Matters: eBook Pricing

In April, it will be two years since I published First Visions. Two freaking years! I can hardly believe it, but in some ways it feels much longer than that. If you know me, then you’re probably not overly surprised that I wouldn’t dare call myself an expert on anything—but I have learned a few things about successful marketing techniques along the way. Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about pricing and book sales.

First Price Point

You’re about to hit publish on your latest masterpiece and you find yourself stuck on what the heck to price your book at. Although you may feel like you should be charging $10 for your eBook, you may not generate any sales. If you’re a first-time author, this is especially true. Why would I buyer take a chance on an unknown author when their favorites are offering books at $5 or less?

Another consideration is how much you’ll make off of each book sale. Authors who have been signed to publishing houses are not taking home 70 percent of each book sale. Their royalty rate may be in the range of 10 to 20 percent. When you self-publish, you’re bringing home a higher royalty rate. Yes, you’re putting out your own money to cover publishing and marketing costs, but you’re having more control over how your money is spent.

According to a study conducted by Smashwords in 2013, books priced at $3.99 earned an average of 55 percent more than other price points. Keep in mind that any price over $2.99 is making you eligible for Amazon’s 70 percent royalty rate.

Price Drops

A sale is a great way to start off your promotional efforts for your new release. To drum up interest for your book, consider offering the book for 99 pennies for the first week or two. Later, when you have sales, make sure you promote the heck out of them to spread the word. There are free and paid promotion sites where you can advertise your sale price. You can also use your blog and social media to spread the news. I found that having a giveaway associated with the sale is a good way to get more exposure.

Holy Free Book!

A few people outside of the publishing world were horrified when I announced I was making First Visions permanently free. To be honest, I was leery at first. I worked for months on the book and poured my heart and pocketbook into putting it out there. However, I didn’t go the permanent free route until I had the entire series published and had a solid fan base. Keeping First Visions free has been a great way for new readers to discover my books.

If you sign up for KDP Select and have free promotion days, you need to find ways to maximize your exposure on those dates. If you have the funds in your marketing budget, I urge you to use sites like Kindle Nation Daily and Book Bub. I promoted my free days on both and broke into the top 100 Free on Amazon.

Finding the perfect price is tough, but after some experimentation on your part, you can see what price increases sales while also improving your readership. Just keep in mind to remain consistent across all sales channels. Amazon price matches and will lower the price of your book if it’s found to be different on another website.


  1. I'm planning the perma-free option for Bronya once I get Markaza written. It just makes sense marketing wise. Very awesome post, Heather! Thanks for the reminder :) WRITE ON!

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