Writers must hurdle many obstacles on their path to completing a book—writer’s block, self-doubt, external pressure, and financial stress (to name but a few). These seem like mere stumbling blocks, however, when compared to the anxiety writers face when marketing and selling their book.
Once a book is written, the journey only begins as do the thousand questions you must know answer. What should be on the cover? How do you promote your book? How do you find your audience?
And, often the most perplexing, complicated question is what price should you set for your book?
This question is tricky because there is a fine line between charging too much and charging too little. A writer who also wants to be a good marketer must learn how to tread carefully upon this line. Why?
The reason that setting a price point on your book is important is because it affects the marketability of your book as well as sales, and is also dependent on several considerations.
These considerations are unique to each writer, but can be categorized into several broad-based groups. The type of writer whom I want to consider in this article is the new, unknown, and independent writer.
The first determinant in fixing a price for your book is your goal. To understand your goal, ask yourself, “Do I want an audience or sales?” Okay, I hear you yelling that you want both and I get that—I do! However, if you are an unknown writer, it may benefit you to concentrate on garnering readers first.
Setting a reasonable, lower price for your book will help you to reach more people since it’s less of a financial commitment a reader must make on an unknown or independent reader. Therefore, a reader may be more willing to spend $2.99 than $14.00 on a book that isn’t backed by a large publishing house or supported by hundreds of positive reviews.
In short, lower prices will draw in more readers. And, what do more readers mean? It means more sales. Win-Win!
Setting a lower price point on your book will not guarantee but will definitely increase your chances of getting more exposure for your book, which again leads to more readers and subsequently more sales.
I want to caution you that before you grab your virtual price stickers and slap your book with the lowest price possible, you must keep in mind that you can set the price and, consequently, the bar too low.
Although, there are pros to setting an extremely low price (i.e. ¢99), there are also drawbacks. Some disadvantages to exceedingly low pricing include but are not limited to:
- Loss of money due to royalty structuring
- Bruised ego (writers may struggle with placing a low “value” on their work)
- Other’s devaluation of your work based on low pricing
The last reason is the one that is most probable because people judge. They judge a book by its cover and they judge a book by its price tag.
Many people believe that if an item is set at a low price, it means that item is inferior in worth. It’s easy for many when scrolling through thousands of book choices to assume that a book selling for $14.99 is better quality than the books set at $2.99. The only reasoning being that higher cost must mean higher worth.
Readers, please keep in mind that price points are set on books for a variety of reasons, many of which have little to do with quality. So, don’t judge a book by its price tag.
Writers, remember that for the one person who skims over your lower priced book, there are others who will be willing to take the chance on an unknown author, especially for a bargain price.
So, set the price that makes the most sense to you and to the book you are trying to sell. Keep in mind that no matter the cost, it is impossible to set a price on writing. It is, after all, art and the subjectivity precludes it from truly having a numerical value.
Thank you for reading. I look forward to your comments.