Yep, this is pretty much the million dollar question. I would have more chance of locating Avalon, the Holy Grail and the Loch Ness Monster than I would of finding this elusive sweet spot on price. There are so many strategies bandied around and at the end of all of the articles it always says, ‘what we reckon is… just experiment.’ Nice one.
So, instead of promising you the origin of Atlantis, I will just state the strategies that you could deploy for your eBooks if you want. It’s down to you and where you stand in terms of quality vs. value, 1st book vs. multiple, one-off vs. series. Here they are…
1. Free – $0.99
This is the classic John Locke strategy. Shift tons of ebooks at a knockdown price and watch the profits come rolling in. Hmmm… I’m not sure about this. The main counter-argument to this approach is that the perception of quality is adversely affected. There are loads of eBooks available now for free and although you’re book will temporarily go up the charts, as soon as you put the money back up, I reckon you’ll see the book sink like a stone.
But, what about if you use this price for the first in a series, you know ‘the old gateway drug principle’. Pull the reader in to the series and then hit them with $4.99/$5.99 books for the remaining 72.
Suppose you’re a first-time author who is searching for readers rather than income at the beginnings of a burgeoning career. Surely you just want people to get it and spread it around, but will they read it and spread it if they didn’t pay for it? Most of the copies that get downloaded will sit on Kindle shelves gathering pixel dust.
Personally, I have always felt that a book on Amazon, or any of the others, in this price range are probably crap unless I’ve heard of them first. I would never search on price to buy a book.
2. $1 – $2.98
Middle of the road for most self-publishers. Not really an advocate of the give-it-away crazy bunch but also not believing that you could push a little bit further to get in to the 70% royalties bracket.
I don’t know, I think this is a pretty good entry price range. At least you’re selling it but you’re not making a ton of money still unless you’re shifting thousands. I believe that you can still attract readers and grow your profile etc at this level whilst still providing a good sense of value and also some perception of quality.
3. $2.99 – $4.99
To go into this price bracket I believe you need a platform already. If you look at this question on other blogs the ‘sweet-spot’ is usually $2.99 but this is always quoted by established writers with at least 5 or 6 other books out.
If you have a series and the first is cheaper then charging the other books at this level makes sense to me, maybe pricing the latest at the top of the range. You’re being fair to the loyal reader and keeping hold of them whilst still being able to attract new ones.
There is an opinion that longer novels should always be in this range at least. Putting them lower will completely demean their worth. I may agree with this.
4. $5 – $7.99
The players price tag. If you’re a self-published author and you sell books here then you’re established and you can be sure of your readers. I don’t believe that you can go higher than $7.99 without tickling the traditionally published books and losing any advantage you have by being able to price lower.
Dean Wesley Smith seems to think that this range is the future for self-published books but I think maybe that’s slightly wrong. I’d love it to be true but the lack of promotion is the big problem that new self-publishers have, the only weapon you have against trad-publishers is the lower price. Every other factor of your book can only be the same, or worse, than an army of editors, designers and what-have-you’s from big bollock organisations.
There we go, that seems to be the options we have. It will always come down to personal preference and opinion, as it should do. No-one will ever be able to decree that a particular price point is the one. There’s just too many variables involved and personal thoughts on value. So, I’ll end this post as I started, ‘what we reckon is… just experiment.’ Nice one.
The next article in the ‘How to Publish an eBook’ Guide will focus on the various Marketing Strategies.