Self Publishing On The Kindle – Setting The Right Selling Price
Setting the right price for your self-published eBook on the Kindle is a tricky one. Everyone has an opinion about this, and the jury is out on whether a low or high selling price is the right choice.
I’ve worked with a good cross section of authors over the past few months, converting both their new manuscripts and previously printed books for the Kindle, and no two books have had the same selling price.
They always ask for my advice which I gladly give based on my experience of seeing what sells and what doesn’t. You sort of get a feel for what is the right price for a Kindle book after you’ve read through it a dozen times and played about with the formatting.
I always tell them what price I would set if it were my book, and this is genuine impartial advice, I make nothing from the actual sale of the book. But it’s very much a ‘how long is a piece of string’ type question to which there appears to be no correct answer.
Ask a roomful of published Kindle authors about their pricing structure and you’ll get a roomful of different opinions. So what is the best answer?
What I generally see is this….let’s say the author has written a first time novel and wants to make his/her mark. It’s a decent enough work, worth promoting and selling, and the author is outgoing and personable and willing to promote it. What happens then is that the author says something along the lines of “I don’t want to give my book away so I want to set a fairly high price to begin with then if nothing happens I can drop the price later.”
This seems a reasonable enough strategy, but to be honest, in my opinion, it rarely works.
I know others who have sold tons of books this way, but for most of my ‘unknown’ writers this just doesn’t work. In my experience setting a lower selling price wins in the end.
The counter-argument from authors is always “If I sell it too low everyone will think it’s a poor novel. That if it’s cheap it’s badly written, riddled with typos, and just ‘another run of the mill novel by a first time writer’ and I don’t want to give that impression.”
That’s fair enough. But I have seen too many authors publish their book on Kindle and offer it for sale at £6 ($9) then, despite promoting it to death to friends and colleagues and distant cousins, they see no sales at all. Zero. Zilch.
Then comes the mad scramble to drop the price and they feel terribly let down. It’s natural.
One final word about non-fiction….technical books, advice books and similar publications…..I can see there is a difference here. The writer has done a lot of research, has probably written the book after a lifetime of working in that field. Perhaps they are an expert, and it seems right for them to charge a decent amount of money for all their efforts. I would go along with that, but still advise them to be careful about pricing the book out of the reach of most ‘casual’ buyers.
So to sum up – set the price low, rather than too high.
I’d welcome any feedback on this post as I think it’s something all writers considering publishing their work on the Kindle need to know about…