Self-Publishing: Pricing Your E-Books

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Price. Money. Mulah. Paper. Dollar Bills. Dough. You get the point.

The financial aspect of Indie Publishing is not something I speak much about or that I hear much about in the blogging world. Maybe its because money has always been that personal thing that belonged to just us. In many ways, this is true. How much is in your bank account is not something you sound a trumpet about nor should it be. Not only that, but there’s a lot of things I’ll never tell you about my financial life. Even in relation to Book Publishing. Some things are just best kept on the low.

But, what I will share is some important tips for pricing your books. Specifically, your eBooks. Believe it or not your book price has a role to play in your books overall image. What do I mean by image? I mean that when someone comes along, or scrolls along, through Amazon’s list of reads and sets their mind on which one to pick, there are a few things that make up the books overall image in the mind of the reader. This is not something that we, as readers, are always consciously aware of, but it is something that we do on that subconscious level. We are looking at:

– Book Title

– Book Cover

– Book Description

– Book Price

Usually in that order, but this is not always the case. Remember that when I write posts like these they are based on my personal experience in this field because I think experience is just a good teacher. So, in my experience (you may have done your own research), usually readers tend to decide to purchase a book based on these elements and in this order but not always in this order. In the event a reader is not judging in this order it usually has something to do with the price. This is when book pricing takes on a greater role and rises from the bottom of the list to the top.

I believe that the relationship between marketing and buyer habits is connected. Meaning that by paying attention to how people buy books, this can give me some insight on how to better market or sell them. So as an avid reader, I pay attention to myself in how I go about purchasing a book and usually I’ve been known to bypass books based on price. If the book looks interesting but the price is extremely too high, I may skip it. Not that I won’t come back to it, but you don’t want to give me the room to come back. You want me to make a purchase out the gate, sorta speak. Books I skip based on price tend to look something like this:

– The Title is not very encouraging, but it will do

– The book cover is plain, but I can work with it

– The price is too high

In this list I’ve ignored the other mediocrities and made up my mind to give the book a try. However, I looked and saw that it was $6.99. For the most part, these are instances where I just can’t. These are also instances where price can be the first determining factor in eBook sales even against the title, description, and cover. Sometimes all of these can be on point but the price is still too high. Now, prices of books can also be too low! But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. For now, lets get some insight on how we should price our eBooks and what these prices should be based on. Now, I’m going to let someone a bit more experienced discuss this part. This excerpt is from an article written by Laurence O’byran whose services I acquired not too long ago to assist with the launch of the final book in the Stella series. Laurence is the author of three traditionally published novels from Harper Collins and runs a book promotion service I’m sure you’re tired of seeing on Twitter ; ).

What Is The Best Price For An Ebook/Kindle book in 2016?

Free

Only if you have a closely linked series and book number one can be priced at free to get readers started on your series.

.99c

If you are a new author and you want make it easy for people to buy your book, and you want to increase your total earnings. This price can be used for a short period to get your book onto a best seller list and then you can move the price up. When deciding a price do not consider the effort put in to write and produce it, consider what total earnings you want. By pricing at .99c, and then increasing the price you can achieve higher earnings. I have seen this working.

.99c can be used during a launch period, for a relaunch with a new cover, or for when you add a new book to your series. How long you stay at .99c will depend on total sales and whether you are continuing any paid promotion periods. It will also depend on if you have a new title coming out in the near future and what level of buzz you already have for the title. If there’s a lot of media attention on the title your period at .99c may only be a day or two.

$2.99

This is the recommended price long term. It’s considered by many to be the sweet spot for long term Kindle book sales. This price may also be appropriate if the first book in the series is $.99c. Your earnings should go up when you reach this price point. The period at .99c is used to gain you exposure, build that vital word of mouth and get you as high up the rankings as possible, with as many reviews on Amazon as possible.   

And that is pretty much the extent of the primary cost brackets that are good for eBooks. Yes, just these main three. Anything else is going to be too expensive if its not a popular read by a well-known author or the other components (book description, title, cover) are not up to par. And even then anything over 2.99 is too much. I’m speaking from personal experience. I realized too late that the first book in my Stella Trilogy was too high and because I published through Lulu at the time, I have to re-submit  blah blah blah to change it. So what happened is that the other two books did much better financially than the first. So, don’t be like me. Although $3.99 is not extremely too high, it is something I need to change, even possibly marking Book One in my series down to $.99 or even $1.99. Paperback books is a completely different subject matter and this is where you make your money at if you want to set high prices. Paperbacks are supposed to be more expensive because of the cost to print and so you can reap a nice profit from those print book sales. For eBooks however, though profit is to be made, it requires a little more strategy because of the competition. Like I said, marketing your book how you yourself buy books can come in handy, for instance:

When comparing your book to the pricing of others, consider that a big percentage of book sales are now going through sites such as BookBub, where free and .99c books are the norm. If a reader can buy a known top name author’s ebook for .99c or your ebook at $4.99 or more, what do you think they will do? – L. O’Bryan

What would you do? Exactly.

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MAY I Have Your Attention Please? #MayChallengeDay4

Now what? No, seriously. Now that I have your attention, I don’t know what to do with it. It’s just that, well, I really wanted to use MAY in my title.

But, while we’re here, I MAY as well say something.

I’m really excited about the results of my Spring Giveaway. The purpose of the contest covered a number of areas so what I’d like to do is list some benefits I found of hosting a Giveaway in the way that I’ve done and some things I wished I’d done better. I don’t feel like being long winded today so I just have four points.

  1. Extending My Hand

I believe, as an artist, that giving back is a very important part of the work. Just look around your Blog neighborhood. The top blogs, the ones with lots of support, are the blogs that give lots of support! I truly believe that what you give comes back to you. Not that you should just do something for that reason, but you get the point here. Giving is just really important on so many levels, business, and personally. It is also a part of me. I have to be able to give back. Giving is such a gratifying experience and just fills me up. There is really no better accomplishment than the opportunity to bask in someone else’s happiness.  It’s like this quote here by Denzel Washington:

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Thank you Denzel for summing that up for us because I didn’t feel like explaining.

       2. Social Engagement

From a Social Media perspective, I really wanted to increase the social engagement of my followers. You know sometimes, with the way social media is now, its easy to accumulate thousands of subscribers or “friends” (gotta use this F word loosely) and never have anything else to do with them. So easy to have large readerships or support and not do anything with them. So I’ve really been on this personal, get-to-know-you-better type kick lately with seeking to understand how to build better relationships with the people who support me and really dig into this networking thing.

    3. Networking

Speaking of networking, I also wanted to increase my social media presence online by offering people who may not be familiar with my work an opportunity to connect with me. Its another reason I wanted to sort of “go all out” by hosting a Giveaway on this level so I can really peer into my circle of supporters and really get to monitor what things are actually looking like around here. If there’s one thing I don’t want to be is in the dark. To have this perception of my work that doesn’t reflect the truth. So one major benefit to this Giveaway I found is the increase in social media. Over the course of this contest I’ve done the following:

  • 17 New Email Newsletter Subscribers (Only 1 person unsubscribed after the contest. Remember when we spoke about the risks of this kind of a giveaway? That people may unfollow you after the contest ends. I am happy to have only gotten one unsubscribe).
  • New Blog Followers. I think there’s a handful of you who found me, welcome, welcome.
  • 21 New Facebook Likes to my Business Page
  • 10 New Twitter Followers

I cannot leave without thanking @Opinionated Man, @Annette Rochelle Aben, @LisaTetting, and @Don Massenzio for their support and others who helped to re-blog the post about the giveaway. I do know that it really helped to contribute to getting the word out to the blogosphere and is most definitely appreciated. This Giveaway has also helped to spread the word about the books themselves and helped me to gauge just how interested people are in the series. If only 3 people are selected to win but there are lots of entries, or not so many entries, I would be able to see where I stood in relation to demand. Now that its all over, I understand where I am on that level.

If there is one negative about the giveaway, there is one thing I wish I’d done better.

   4. Ask For Contestant Names

I know, it seems obvious, but because of the popularity of social media, it was easier to just ask for an email address because that gave me access to the person in which to communicate without doing a whole lot of shout outs. The negative thing about this however that I didn’t think about, was putting my winners at risk of Spam and Junk mail by publishing their emails across my social networks. It occurred to me this week as I was announcing the winners that I probably should have just asked for everyone’s first and last names! LOL. But, on a positive note, I think that by just asking for an email address, it increased participation because people didn’t have to do much. Not that entering your name is much but a lot of people have nick names or maybe they just robbed a bank and don’t want to give their name, who knows. But an email address. Well, you can enter an email address with one click and from anywhere. I definitely did not want a whole bunch of questions or mandatory info that would make that process any less smooth.

In any event I’d say my first Giveaway was a success! I didn’t have hundreds of entries but I had far more than I thought I would have and the experience was really uplifting and brought me closer to understanding how to network and build those interpersonal relationships that are so vital to online promotion / marketing.

Stella Spring Giveaway: The Grand Prize Winner!!

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I am proud to announce the Grand Prize Winner of The Stella Trilogy Spring Giveaway! Today’s winner is really special and close to my heart, its my baby sister! Abiyah Ysrayl aka Princess. It was hard gathering pics of her where she’s actually smiling! LOL I know you a warrior baby girl but I need you to show those pearly whites today cause you did that. Abiyah is so supportive and it paid off. This contest was so perfect but I’ll detail that in the next post. So anyway, baby sis was Entry #77 which is funny because she’s a twin AND she snagged the #1 Spot so she got her double portion prize.

Congrats Baby Sis! You did that. Yaass.

Sugar Coated and Springtime

They get tired of hearing it
Ain’t nobody got to say it
But I know they get tired
Tired of these distractions
in brown colored skin
waking up from valley’s with
muscles and tendons all conscious like
Uncovering the blood on the American Flag
Tired,
tethered,
and intoxicated with
his-story
unraveling the color of bigotry on beautiful glass
smeared fingerprints
and falling stars like
why they keep sitting in?
between our comfort and a hard place
America
this be some kinda hard place
for brown colored skin in the spring time
Strange fruit popping up again on trees
‘cept
Nina ain’t here to sing us a song
After nearly 400 years
lullabies just don’t work no more
Tired of these guns accidentally going off
landing
somewhere in my purse
somewhere in my womb
somewhere in my future between lip stick and foundation
I got to warn my sons
about accidental guns
generational homicide got me on my knees
praying the badge ain’t got his name on it
In the words of Camonghne Felix:
“If we’re going to attend history, we might as well be accurate about it”
will I be left
with the fragmented pieces of my husband’s shoes

between our front porch and the living room floor
will my kiss linger long enough to bring him home tonight
or will I suffer a widow’s fate of mistaken identity
After all
These brown, tan, bronze, and mahogany colored skins
all do look the same
don’t they?
I’m afraid for your guns
they don’t seem to know the difference between friend and foe
or maybe they do
funny how bullets be mistaken themselves for judges
that ain’t got names on it
they say a gun
ain’t got a name on it
why they sugar coating it?
Cuz peoples get tired of hearing about all this black
All this oppression
All these curses
All this power like
why we won’t pour sugar on top these bodies?
Get ‘em up out the street
don’t want our bullets to get stirred up you know
getting up out of beds
loading themselves into chambers
and taking walks at night
in the afternoon
and especially in the morning
when it’s springtime