You could be KILLING any chance of selling your book by overpricing it.
$7.49 for a book from an unknown author? Are you kidding me? Are you CRAZY?
I have worked with hundreds of authors by helping them market their Kindle books. Many of the authors I work with are promoting FREE days or 99cent specials. They often jack up the price of their books so that the FREE or 99cents looks like a really great deal. I have no problem with that … major department stores and on-line retailers do this every day because–it works.
However, when new authors set their regular selling price too high, potential customers will simply click away. Your new book will fade into obscurity and never get the traction it needs in order to sell steadily over the coming years.
What’s too high?
Though I’ve been know to be wrong at times, I think that for a first time author anywhere from $5.00 and up is too high. This of course assumes you have no reputation to launch your book from. For example, if you are a respected blogger with multiple-thousands of loyal followers, your new non-fiction book could sell well at $7.99. If you are Julia Roberts giving her first novel a push, you’ll probably be able to price at $5.99 or more. Of course, the first rush of reviews could fuel sales — or not!
I know exactly WHY authors over price. They’ve just spent six months to three years writing their about to be best selling novel. They’ve suffered over it. Draft after draft after draft. They may have spent a bit, or a boat load of money on it— coaching, book cover design, critiques, editing, formatting, how-to courses and more.
Writing a book is a speculative venture, but in the end … after all that work and money, authors think they DESERVE to be able to sell their book for $7.49 or more.
There Are Two Problems With “Deserve It” Thinking
First, the author didn’t do their marketing homework. What is the AVERAGE book in their niche selling for?
For example, if you write romances in the sub-niche of “mail order brides” here’s what your competition is doing: There are dozens of books selling at zero. There are multiple dozens selling at 99cents. You will seldom see prices over $3.99 unless you are purchasing a box-set or are a very well loved writer. So the average is skewed to 99cents (because of all the free ones). Most of the books are part of a series and run 150 pages.
Books in the mystery niche will often sell for a bit more, averaging $3.99 … but again, this depends on length, series and author reputation.
The second problem is that unless they were thinking ahead, most start-up authors don’t have a platform. NO ONE knows who the heck they are. They don’t have a reputation, they don’t have a track record.
Here’s a typical buying choice … I’m looking at two books
The first one looks OK … cover is fine, description is good and the first chapter in the “look inside” feature is interesting. There are a few 5-star reviews. I click on the author bio which is OK, BUT … there is only ONE book. And here’s the even BIGGER BUT … the book is priced at $7.79
The second book I’m looking at is by one of my favorite authors, Lee Child. He’s written best seller after best seller in the Jack Reacher series. I serious LOVE his gritty, hard hitting books. I am crazy about Jack Reacher and I can’t wait for the next book in the SERIES.
And guess what, here’s an ebook … yeah, it’s not part of the Jack Reacher series, but it IS a side-story featuring Jack. Cool. And things get even better … the book is only $1.55
Guess which book I am going to choose:
A book by an unknown author for $7.79
A book by a best selling author for only $1.55
Did you guess?
I know with absolute certainty that I will LOVE my new Jack Reacher story. Why on earth would I spend my money on an unknown author with no track record? Yeah the first chapter looked good, but …. $1.55 + guaranteed enjoyment wins.
And what about other Kindle authors? As an experiment I randomly clicked on one author featured under the Jack Reacher books. The author I clicked on … L.T. Ryan has over 10 books in his Jack Nobel series. Some of his books are priced at $3.03. ALL of them are under $5.00 And ALL of his books have hundreds of reviews.
LOL … experiment or not, the books look good. I might get one and see if the series appeals to me.
So I’m going to ask the question again.
Are you crazy? WHAT are you thinking! You are not only killing your sales, you may be killing your fledgling author career.
What SHOULD you price your book at?
Well it depends.
Please don’t hate me for “depends” … but there ARE a few things that factor into your price.
1. Your niche … mail order brides OR hard hitting thriller? Non-fiction light-weight or non-fiction heavy-weight?
2. The length of your book. A long short story? A novella? A 300 page novel?
3. Is this part of a series, or do you have a series planned (and when will the next book be available)?
4. Will you be doing FREE or 99cent promotions to build your audience and get more reviews? Reviews make a big difference.
5. Do you have a platform with readers revved up and ready to buy?
Still need help? Read this, it will help you decide … FAST!
This study was conducted by Mark Coker (founder of Smashwords) a few years back. The findings on price point are as a valid today as they were when the study was first published.
Let me know what YOU think. Would you purchase a book for $7.49 from an unknown author? If your answer is YES, I would really really LOVE to know why? What were your decision points?