WITH THE exception of the Oxford comma, how to price your self-published ebook is perhaps the most controversial topic in the world of books and writing. Surely you, as an independent author, should price your book higher than a Starbucks coffee, right? If not, what is the right price?
The answer is simple:
There is no “right” price. There is only the ideal price.
Do you want to sell books or do you want to stand tall and virtuous with misguided principles?
Heads might roll and writers might form a mob and drag me to the pillory, but I’m going to say it. The proper pricing for a self-published ebook is as follows:
$2.99 for novellas and novels.
.99c for shorts.
I know what you’re thinking. I’m a terrible person and I don’t deserve to be loved. But wait a second. Let me explain. Again, it’s super simple.
Let’s say you get a traditional book deal, and the trade paperback of your masterpiece lands on a Barnes & Noble bookshelf at $14.99. What do you think your royalty on that book is?
Probably something like 9%. What is nine percent of fifteen bucks? $1.35
Now compare that to your 70% of a $2.99 ebook. That’s about $2.05 (Amazon charges a couple cents for a transfer fee)
So at $2.99 you’re earning a higher royalty than you would from your traditionally published trade paperback.
It’s not about your book costing as much as a traditionally published book. It’s about getting your book in the hands of readers while earning a reasonable royalty. If you want to sell books, sell them at $2.99. If you want to sell fewer books and make less money, by all means jack up that price yo.