Setting an Adequate Price
When you are writing, editing, and even promoting your e-book setting an adequate price can often be the last thing on your mind. Do you fix it at closer to $10 and thereby get the maximum amount of profit, or do you veer more towards the lower end of the scale and set the price as cheap as Amazon and Barnes and Noble etc will allow or do you aim for somewhere in the middle?
Firstly, I think that you'd be mad to price your book anywhere over $5/6. That price bracket is the preserve of the mainstream author at best, with the full weight of a tyrannosaurus-like publisher behind them. George R.R Martin's latest book for example, The World of Ice and Fire is priced at £12.99 ($17) on Amazon.co.uk, but of course such is the fame of his Game of Thrones series that this book will pretty much sell itself. Other mainstream authors however aren't so lucky. All of the current best selling e-books on Amazon.com are priced at between $1.23 and $5.02. This is who you - as an unknown writer - are competing with, so setting a price above that of a more widely known writer would be a grave error in my view. After your close family and friends have bought your book sales will dry up because there are very few (if any) people who will spend a considerable sum of money on an unknown literary quantity, particularly if there are few positive reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble etc and if no one is recommending it to them. Getting members of the general reading public to purchase our books is hard enough without a large price tag dangling in front of their eyes to put them off even further.
My book Jack Strong and the Red Giant is currently priced on Amazon at $1.23 which is their lowest possible price (and if I could price it even lower I would). When I first launched my book however, I set the price at a far more expensive $4.99. Why? Because I had delusions of grandeur. I honestly believed that if I could sell enough books that I could actually make a decent amount of money from my book. The problem was that after the initial period of promotion petered out sales flat-lined. After having reduced the price to $1.23 sales have picked up a little and I've been able to maintain an average of 1.8 downloads per week - not great but an improvement on zero for sure, and a figure that nonetheless keeps on ticking over. Of course the reason for the pick up in sales lies not just in the price change but also in the fact that I've been promoting my book via this blog and other places which has in turn led to further downloads. However, I think that it is far more likely that a casual browser of my book will make a purchase if he or she sees it as something close to a bargain, hence the $1.23 price tag. I can't take the chance that people will be put off buying my book on account of price. If they like it I want them to buy it.
The Publishing Ladder
There aren't any millionaire authors on Amazon's and Barnes and Noble's books - they are all happily and comfortably ensconced in the major publishing houses, so don't expect to make much money following your book launch. You should however, be aware of the publishing ladder and where it can take you. If you can sell enough books and if you can get as many positive reviews as possible then you should either catch a small (or even bigger) publisher's eye or you should be able to put a convincing enough pitch together to pull yourself up to the next rung on the publishing ladder. Luck's got nothing to do with it - it's all about hard work and being dedicated to the craft.
If you are wondering at what price you should set your book at (you don't have to go as low as mine though I wouldn't go much higher) you may also like to ask yourself if you'd buy it under similar circumstances, especially if there are little or no reviews for you to gauge the quality of the book. You could also take a look at your competitors on Amazon and Barnes and Noble etc and see what the prices are for their books and how yours compares to theirs.
If you want to read my novel, Jack Strong and the Red Giant about a bullied, 12 year old boy's adventures in space please check out the link below: