• Chris OBrien

Setting a price for your self-published book: $14-20. It doesn't really matter

What's the right price to pick for my self-published book?

Bad news: There isn't a right answer to this question. And I hope you've stumbled on this article first before spending too much of your time debating $14.99 vs. $15 vs. $19.99.

Here's why it doesn't matter: The first year of a self-published book is mostly going to attract people you know. Friends. Family. People you grew up with. These people are rooting for you. No one's going to say, "I love her and will support her at $14, but $18... that's just asking for a little too much."

If your book goes beyond the friends and family tier, the next group of people likely heard a positive review about your book. "Hey, you should really go check out X. It's great. And it's from a local Michigan author."

If this person goes to the bookstore or searches for your title on Amazon, same thing, they're not going to bail because of $3-4. When was the last time you went to the movie theater for a movie you really wanted to see, but found out ticket prices had gone up a couple bucks. Did you turn around and drive home?

Now, to be fair, there is definitely a threshold. $25 - $30 is probably too high unless it's a massive book, hardcover, or you had no choice but to set it that high because of printing costs. If it's above $30, now you're into textbook land or like a coffee table book with glossy hi-def photos of Italy.

$14-20. Doesn't really matter. Pick a number, set it and forget it. The most scientific you'll need to be is maybe using eeny-meeny-miny-moe. I'd say go with a higher number to start, because you can always come down. For the Kindle, just go somewhere between $5 - $12 depending on how long your book is. Don't sell yourself short with the $0.99. Anything under $2.99 your royalty is 30% rather than 70%. Friends, family, and interested browsers will pay a few dollars more.

Just don't let this pricing decision be a distraction. Using the time you would spend doing more research and go cover to cover one last time on revisions, that will be far more valuable than the final price tag.

I mentioned the different tiers of fans - friends, family, people who heard a good review, etc. If you're interested in learning more about how a book spreads or where most books peak in terms of their audience reach, I think you'll enjoy this article called, "Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Why You Should Care About the Audience Who is Already There." Extra bonus if you're also a tennis fan.

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