Book pricing is a tricky business. Price your book too high, and you may not get as many sales; price it too low, and you might be undervaluing yourself.
Add the total cost of self-publishing a book into the mix, and you’ve got a real conundrum.
While authors who have been self-publishing for a while have a pretty good grasp of what works and what doesn’t – practice makes perfect, after all – new authors are entering unexplored territory.
Yes, it feels terrifying.
And yes, you don’t have to walk it all alone. In this guide, we’ll have a look at how you should price your book and what expenses to take into account.
Ready? Let’s go!
Why Book Pricing Is Important
You’ve poured your heart and soul into this story. It deserves the chance to connect emotionally with your audience. And the transaction process is your gateway.
If you price your book well, you may reach a vast pool of readers who will recommend your work to others and trigger an avalanche of positive reviews.
At its core, book pricing relies on psychology. Remember to:
- Apply the .99 technique developed by Tomáš Baťa – instead of setting the price at $8, go for $7.99
- Research the prices other successful self-published authors have used for books in your specific genre
- Analyze demand versus competition and costs versus potential revenue to arrive at a good mid-range price
Different Costs of Writing, Editing, and Publishing Your Book
Speaking of costs and revenue, expenses play a large role in book pricing. If you’ve spent thousands on your book – not to mention the hours of work – you obviously want it to perform well and ideally turn into a source of passive income.
Of course, you can always do all the editing and formatting yourself, but this can easily lead to a book that hasn’t reached its full potential. The truth is, you are too emotionally involved and too submerged in the text to view it objectively. This is why professional authors hire editors and cover artists.
Here’s a summary of all the costs you may need to factor in.
This is undoubtedly the cheapest expense because, well…you’re the writer! Do consider the price of buying a writing software, though:
- Microsoft Word: $159.99
- Microsoft 365: $6.99/month
- Scrivener 3: $59.99
- Google Docs: free
- LibreOffice: free
A fresh pair of eyes puts everything into perspective.
When hiring a professional editor, the costs may vary based on your book’s genre and word count. For instance, romance books are usually cheaper to edit than literary fiction or non-fiction.
On average, expect to pay approximately:
- $0,028 per word for developmental editing (overall story structure, characterization, plot, etc.)
- $0,021 per word for copy editing (grammar, consistency, fact-checking, writing tone, etc.)]
- $0,015 per word for proofreading (spelling and punctuation, formatting issues, typos, etc.)
Some editors offer a full editorial package, while others may focus on specific parts of the process. For a 70,000-word manuscript, you can pay around $1960 for developmental editing, $1470 for copy editing, and $1050 for proofreading.
A great way to ensure high-quality editing is to hire full editing services from a company.
Formatting & Design
While formatting targets the interior design of your book – chapter headings, page numbers, images, etc. – professional designers craft the perfect cover for your book.
Prices differ based on the professional’s experience, but you shouldn’t pay more than $750. In fact, you can sometimes get a deal as low as $50! It all depends on how much effort you put into finding the right fit and which freelancer/company you ultimately choose.
RELATED READ: Additional Editing Services
In the 21st century, transforming your text into material form can cost… nothing. Yes, that’s right.
With KDP Publishing, for example, you give Amazon the right to sell your book and take a cut of the profits. The best part? Your royalties may reach as high as 60% on paperbacks and 70% on e-books!
Compared to the average 10-12% in traditional publishing, this is quite the difference.
Other self-publishing companies, such as Ingram Spark, require a $49 setup fee, but this is still a small expense given the fact your book is being printed and distributed by them.
How to Define the Right Price for Your Book
Now that you know the average costs of self-publishing a book – authors can pay anywhere between $0 and $10,000 (frequently around $2,000) depending on who they hire, how many services they require, and which type of book they’ve written – it’s time to price it accordingly.
First, calculate a price that will increase your chances of breaking even. If you’ve spent $2,000 on self-publishing a book and set a low price of $2.99, you’ll need to sell around 1115 copies if the royalty rate is 60% just to cover your expenses.
With a price of $5.99, however, you’ll almost halve the number of copies to 556. Overall, it’s easier to sell fewer copies at a higher, yet affordable, price.
- If your book is fiction or non-fiction (non-fiction tends to have higher prices)
- What genre you’re writing in
- How high your royalties are
- What platform you’re using to self-publish and what the average book pricing on this platform is
- The format (e-books are cheaper than paperbacks & hardbacks)
While the majority of self-published e-books are under $6.99, printed books can be anywhere between $6.99 to $19.99 depending on genre, format, and length.
Helpful Tips on Book Pricing
We all want our books to be bestsellers, right? Here are a few tips to help you get there:
- Introduce a pre-order discount to get a high volume of first-week sales (this is important when it comes to your position on bestseller lists)
- Offer a fun deal, such as an exclusive chapter, for an extra price
- Marketing is crucial – the more your readers connect with you (both before and after the publication date), the higher price they’ll be likely to pay. Social media is an excellent marketing tool for this reason
- After you’ve researched the market, it’s a good idea to set your price slightly lower than your competitors in order to attract customers – but don’t undervalue yourself!
Book pricing is always challenging, especially for new authors. If you keep the above-mentioned tips in mind, however, you’ll have a much easier time.
And if you’re feeling stressed, remember why you’re doing this in the first place: because you love writing. In the end, that’s what matters most.