Monday, November 18, 2013

Pricing ebooks

I joined a loop dedicated to indie publishing recently, and I am amazed by the members' wealth of knowledge and their generosity of sharing.

One aspect that is constantly debated is pricing. Should first-time authors price their book at 99 cents to break in? Does giving a book away free build a fan base? Is is better to price your book within a long term business strategy--that is price at $4.99 or $6.99 and reserve some margin for promotional sales?

I have downloaded free e-books which, in my opinion, would have benefited from more editing.  Would I buy a second book from this author? I'm not sure. My first impression is set, even though I know writers improve with practice.

The golden rule of business is: 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers.

Getting that 20% fan base takes time and a well-crafted book.
If you are self-publishing, it also takes a eye-catching cover and proper formatting.


  1. So true, and if you are self-publishing, word is you generally need five books out there to start seeing sales. I agree...improving your craft is the best way to gain a fan base...I'm working on it too :-)

  2. A lot of questions here, Ana, and I don't think anyone really knows the answers.
    Offering books for free may get you a lot of downloads and a (temporary) high rank on Amazon, but doesn't necessarily lead to more sales later of that book or of any of your other books. Pricing books at 99c may work better - if people actually read the book after they've downloaded it, and like it enough to buy your other books.
    I don't have any control over the pricing of my books - they range from $2.99 to $5.99 - but even though I have 5 books 'out there', I haven't really been aware that the price has affected sales. Nor have I any real idea of my 'fan-base' (if it actually exists!)
    The basic problem, as I see it, is reaching readers on FB and the loops, rather than other writers. Even loops supposedly for readers are (inevitably) full of writers promoting their books!

  3. I believe that Amazon actually has some rules about how ebooks should be priced in order to take advantage of their rankings, etc. You might want to look into it. And I'm still of the opinion that free books don't encourage sales, especially if you don't have others for sale that aren't free.

    Debra would probably have some expertise to share on this subject. :)

  4. I'm glad my publisher sets pricing. I would have no idea where to start with that.

  5. It would be a challenge. Definitely.