When I chose to self-publish my books, I knew I’d get to the point where I’d need to decide on a price. And the decision is damn tough.
There are several schools of thought. One strategy is to offer my book for free to build an audience, then raise the price when I’ve given my fan base a reason to buy. This strategy works, but in the examples I’ve seen, product wasn’t given away for free, but other things of value (knowledge, photos, a feeling of participation).
Another strategy requires pricing the book higher and sticking to it, the advantage being a higher royalty, but at the expense of less sales, especially for a new author.
Similar to releasing for free, I could set a price for my book at $0.99 and slowly increase it as sales numbers increase. It’s a very organic thing, and publishing on Kindle makes it easy to change. I don’t think I could go free or $0.99. I’ve worked too hard and it feels like I’m devaluing my work. I am confident that my writing is worth more than that and it will be tricky to find the sweet spot.
There’s an interesting article over at MediaShift that goes into greater detail about pricing strategies. They quote a 2015 Smashwords survey where on average, $3.99 books sell more units than $2.99 books, and more units than any other price point (not including FREE downloads). Perhaps this is due to the perception that a higher price denotes higher quality, although I think this has more to do with Amazon creating a $3.99 or less category and hammering that price into our heads. This is still reassuring news. Read the entire survey. There’s some fascinating data contained within.
I created a poll over on Twitter asking what the maximum price a person is willing to pay for an ebook. It will be interesting what the results show after seven days.
So, after all this, how much should I charge for my book? I don’t think I’ll know until I click “Submit”, and that day is rapidly approaching.