C is for Costs Part 1 – Self Publishing Tips from A to Z

Lana PecherczykMarketing, Self Publishing0 Comments

Part 1 – What price should I charge for my book?

Being new to self-publishing, and in fact being new to writing – there is much I have to learn. But working in Marketing I do know that pricing your product is not as easy as it seems. We could go on forever with all the different cost avenues for your self-published book, but I am only going to speak about 2 options. The first is the cost of your product’s price point, which we will talk about today, and the second is the cost it takes produce your book profitably, which we will talk about in the next post. I’ve done a bit of research and have come up with the following information I think is worth sharing:

E-book/iBook

All about A to Z in Self Publishing

Choosing what to charge for your book is risky business. Do your research and comparisons before setting a price.

This is a digital version of your final product and as there are not many ongoing costs for e-books, you will find digital generally cheaper than print. Because of this, you have more freedom when it comes to a price strategy. When costing up this version, there are many strategies and considerations such as:

  • Getting more readers – start with a low price point like 99c for your first book, get them hooked on the series and charge more as you write more. I’ve heard this strategy has worked for a few self-publishers who publish often (like a few times a year for the series)
  • More sales – offer a free or 99c price to get people to take a chance on an unknown author can sometimes help get some positive reviews and expand your readership so when you release another book, you have built some brand equity and can charge more.
  • Getting reimbursement for your production costs – considering overheads such as tax, royalty fees, and delivery costs might be worthwhile to get recuperated but I would steer clear of worrying about reimbursement for cover design, editing fees, marketing costs, these will be recouped in the form of overall profit.
  • Competitor comparison – checking to see what your direct competitors are charging for their book is a smart thing to do. You must bear in mind that indie publishers and traditional publishers can charge differently due to the brand capital each has established.  A big 5 Publisher can be seen as a stable choice in putting out quality work and a reader is likely to spend more on a title from here. An indie published book is less well-known and the quality is uncertain so a reader is less likely to pay a high amount. People pay more when the risk is lower and vice-versa.
  • Check out what Apple or Kindle have as a special marketing category – such as under $5 (price your book at $4.99), if you believe you have a book of similar quality try fitting it in here, you’ll get extra exposure. You can always change your strategy later if it doesn’t work.

One thing I do know is that each e-book will be different and there are many risk factors to think of when costing your book. Compare what other writers are doing in your genre and style, for example a short story will be priced differently than a bumper sized fantasy novel. Because I’m publishing my first ever book and I’ve never done this before, I’m going to write up a comparison chart of books in my category and genre that looks at their price point, author popularity/brand equity, page/word length, traditional vs indie. I’m also going to track how each price point strategy works, recording sales stats so I can adjust accordingly. From what I hear, it’s a work in progress.

Some helpful articles from other websites on this matter:

Printed Book

The physical version of your product needs to recoup production costs for each book sold. Work out how much it cost you to print each book, then double it for wholesale pricing and double it again for retail pricing. This can be a good guide if you are unsure where to start. You may need to consider a competitor analysis and any tax obligations you have for each book before finalising your cost. Many self-publishing services like CreateSpace, Lightening Source, and Lulu have information on pricing print books. Once again, recouping costs on cover design, marketing etc will come in the form of overall profit.

What have you learned about self-publishing and costs that you can share? Please comment below.

Coming up – C is for Costs Part 2 – How much will it cost me to self-publish?

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